The new-generation Mercedes-Benz SL takes the meaning of the letters “SL” – sporty, lightweight – very seriously. Consistent weight reduction is one of the most outstanding design results in the new SL as was the case in its namesake, the original SL of 1954. For the first time Mercedes-Benz implements a full aluminium bodyshell in large series production. Only very few components are made from other materials. The designers use the even lighter magnesium for the rear panel. High-strength steel tubing is integrated in the A-pillars.
The newly developed car weighs around 110 kilograms less than a comparable bodyshell constructed in analogous manner to the previous technology. “The effect is rather as if a heavyweight-class passenger had got out of the car and taken his heavy flight luggage, too” says Dr Thomas Rudlaff, responsible for the aluminium bodyshell at Mercedes-Benz. “The result is perceptible and measurable. Less weight means more dynamism and less consumption. In other words: the motoring enjoyment increases and the environmental burden sinks.”
In terms of rigidity, safety and comfort, the aluminium structure proves superior to the predecessor’s steel construction. This is achieved thanks, among other things, to its intelligent lightweight construction with components optimised for their specific task. Thus, diverse processes are used to make different kinds of aluminium depending on the use the component is to be given: the parts are made by chill casting or vacuum die casting, worked into extruded aluminium sections or into aluminium plates of different thicknesses. The result: high rigidity, high safety levels and low resonance and vibrations.
The new SL is the first vehicle to be equipped with the high-efficiency adaptive Magic Vision Control wiper/washer system developed by Mercedes-Benz. Magic Vision Control is a new intelligent, high-efficiency windscreen wiper/washer system. Its system of channels supplies water to the windscreen just in front of the wiper blade lip in the direction the wiper is moving. As a result, when spraying one no longer sees a water splash on the windscreen to disrupt one’s visibility, and yet the windscreen is kept perfectly clean. Another new feature is the FrontBass system. It uses the free spaces in the aluminium structures in front of the footwell as resonance spaces for the bass loudspeakers. As a result the new SL features clear, crisp bass sounds that make possible a concert hall ambience even with the top down.
Both innovations are part of the extensive standard equipment of the new SL which will be presented later this year.