History: Mercedes-Benz traces its origins to Karl Benz’s creation of the first petrol-powered car, the Benz Patent Motorwagen, patented in January 1886 and Gottlieb Daimler and engineer Wilhelm Maybach’s conversion of a stagecoach by the addition of a petrol engine later that year. The Mercedes automobile was first marketed in 1901 by Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft.
The first Mercedes-Benz brand name vehicles were produced in 1926, following the merger of Karl Benz’s and Gottlieb Daimler’s companies into the Daimler-Benz company. Mercedes-Benz has introduced many technological and safety innovations that later became common in other vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is one of the most well-known and established automotive brands in the world, and is also the world’s oldest automotive brand still in existence today.
For information relating to the famous three-pointed star, see under the title Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft including the merger into Daimler-Benz The Mercedes-Benz SL is a grand tourer manufactured by Mercedes since 1954. T
he designation SL derives from the German Sport Leicht, or Sport Lightweight — and was first applied to the 300SL ‘Gullwing’ named also after its gullwing or upward-opening doors. The term SL-Class refers to the marketing variations of the vehicle, including the numerous engine configurations spanning six design generations.
The 300SL roadster succeeded the Gullwing in 1957. The 4-cylinder 190SL was more widely produced with 25,881 units, starting in 1955. Cars of the open SL-Class were available as a coupe with a removable hardtop or as a roadster with convertible soft top or with both tops. Production for the 190SL and 300SL ended in 1963. 1963 to 1971
Next came the SL-Class 230SL, a new design with a 2.3L mechanically fuel injected six cylinder engine. It featured a low waistline and big curved greenhouse windows, and a Coupe Roadster with detachable hardtop, whose distinctive roofline earned the nickname “pagoda top.” The design was by Paul Bracq. Around 1967, the engine received a displacement increase and the model became known as the 250SL.
Within a year the engine displacement was increased for the final time and the model designation became 280SL. Beginning with later versions of the 250SL changes were made to dashboard padding, switches and knobs, door pockets (U.S. models only) and steering wheel. In addition, the on the 230SL formerly separate center hub caps andwheel trim rings became full wheelcovers. * 230SL: 1963–1967, 2.3L I6, 150 hp (112 kW)
* 250SL: 1966–1968, 2.5L I6, 150 hp (112 kW)* 280SL: 1967–1971, 2.8L I6, 170 hp (127 kW)1972 to 1989* 350SL: 1971–1980, 3.5L V8* 450SL: 1973–1980, 4.5L V8* 280SL: 1974–1985, 2.8L I6* 380SL: 1980–1986, 3.8L V8* 500SL: 1980–1986, 5.0L V8All updated 86-89 models have the advantages of the more modern 4 pot brakes, larger discs, and suspension derived from the W124 sedan. The body itself is built with a modern paint system designed to improve protection from rust. * 300SL: 1986–1989
The 300SL base model was available as standard in a 5-speed manual although very few were sold. The SOHC 6 cylinder M103 is typically considered to have handling advantages with its lighter weight engine. * 420SL: 1986–1989, 4.2L V8
* 500SL: 1986–1989, 5.0L V8* 560SL: 1986–1989, 5.6L V8The 560SL was only sold in the USA, Canada, Japan, and Australia to compensate the reduced output of the 5.0L due to the stricter emission laws in these markets. 1989 to 2002The 1990 Mercedes SL base model was the 228 hp (170 kW) 3.0 L inline 6 300SL version in the US.
In Europe the base model was the 190 hp (140 kW) 3.0 L inline 6 300SL with 12 valves, and the 228 hp (170 kW) 3.0 L inline 6 with 24 valves is known as the 300SL 24 . But it was the 322 hp (240 kW) 500SL (with a 5.0 L V8 engine) which made the most headlines. The specification was high, with electric windows, mirrors, seats and roof. The R129 model was the first convertible/roadster to offer the automatic rollbar deployment in event of rollover.
The motorist can also manually raise and lower the rollbar should he choose to. This facilitates the clean look of R129 without compromising the occupant’s safety. 1994 saw a minor facelift for the SL with changes to the taillamps and white turn signal indicators in the front, and the 300SL was replaced in Europe by the SL280 and SL320 (with 2.8 L and 3.2 L I6 engines). The SL500 continued with the same powerful engine.
A 389 hp (290 kW) 6.0 L V12 SL600 topped the range. Introduced in 1993 as the 600SL, it was re-badged the SL600 in 1994. The SL320 replaced the 300SL in the United States in 1995, but the SL280 was not offered. The 6-cylinder SLs were dropped from the US lineup in 1998, leaving just the V8 and V12. The SL500 got a new 302 hp (225 kW) 5.0 L V8 for 1999. 1995 amg
The extremely rare SL73 AMG was sold through AMG in 1995, and at 525 bhp (391 kW) it offered the most powerful V12 engine ever put into an SL up to that time. After a brief gap, the SL73 was offered again from 1998 to 2001, although the engine was slightly updated to be more reliable. The same 7.3L V12 was later used by Pagani in the Zonda. A total of 85 SL73 AMG roadsters were built. The SL73 was briefly reintroduced in September 1999 following the SL’s end-of-life facelift and a limited number were produced up until December 2001. 2002 to 2011
The fifth generation SL was in production between 2002 and 2011. The all-new SL (initially just a 5.0 L SL500 version) featured a retractable hardtop (marketed as the Vario Roof) available on the SLK since 1997. This featured a 5.0 L 302 hp (225 kW) V8, with a 5.4 L AMG Supercharged V8 appearing in 2002’s SL55 AMG. V12 engines are available in the SL600 and the limited-production SL65 AMG and the SL350 3.7 L (3724 cc) 18-valve V6 245 hp in some markets SL350.
The R230 SL underwent a significant facelift in 2008 featuring new and revised engines and a new front end that evokes the classic 300SL with a large grille featuring a prominent 3-pointed star and twin “power domes” on the hood, the car also features new headlights with an optional “Intelligent Light System” and a new speed sensitive steering system. The SL 63 2012–present
In December 2011, Mercedes-Benz announced the all new SL-Class and was formally launched at the North American International Auto Show in January 2012. The new SL (R231) has been produced for the first time almost entirely from aluminium. The new aluminium bodyshell weighs around 110 kilograms less than it would using the steel technology from the predecessor.
Although the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has more assistance systems on-board than its predecessor and therefore does actually sacrifice some of the weight saved through the aluminium bodyshell, the scales show some better figures: the SL 500 (1.785 kg) weighs around 125 kilograms less and the SL 350 (1.685 kg) is 140 kilograms lighter than its predecessor.
New features include the unique FrontBass system (it uses the free spaces in the aluminium structures in front of the footwell as resonance spaces for the bass loudspeakers) and adaptive windscreen wipe/wash system MAGIC VISION CONTROL, which supplies water from the wiper blade as required and depending on the direction of wipe. The R231 is also available with two different suspension systems: semi-active adjustable damping as standard. The optional active suspension system ABC (Active Body Control) is available as an alternative.
Both suspension variants are combined with a new electromechanical Direct-Steer system featuring speed-sensitive power steering and a ratio that can be varied across the steering wheel angle and it also reduces the amount of steering required when parking and manoeuvring. Contrasted with its predecessor, the new generation of the SL is much longer and wider. Shoulder room (+37 mm) and elbow room (+28 mm) have been increased too. In comparison, it is still not offered with a manual transmission.