Mercedes-Benz SL: What's in a name?
Mercedes-Benz SL: What's in a name?
6:21

Mercedes-Benz SL: What's in a name?

Auto Tech
Genetics -- that decides your eye color, your hair color, whether you'll be a talented musician or whether you'll be turned deaf. They decide pretty much everything about you before your even conscious of your surroundings. So the new Mercedes Benz SL's fate was decided long before it hit the road. The SL got its name from what was arguably the first ever supercar and if you don't subscribe to that particular school of thinking, then it'll be hard-pressed to deny the fact that it was one of the coolest cars ever made. That car was 1954's 300SL. The 300SL otherwise known as the Gullwing or thing-of-your-dreams was so named thanks to its three-liter engine and its sporty and light, or Sport Leicht qualities. The first generation was obviously pornography on wheels and the second generation remains one of the most beautiful cars ever to grace the roads. The third generation was very blocky and 80's-ish and had the second longest production run of any Mercedes off to the G-Wagon. The fourth generation was even blocky, ever perfectly suited the 90s which is the decade in which it fell. The fifth generation was very smooth, and swoopy, and cool, perfectly befitting a turn of the century car such as it was. And now, we're on the sixth generation. It looks remarkably similar to its predecessor which is a good thing. Its lines and link back to its grand dad, long bonnet power-line shining proud [unk] and that make efficiency really hint the second gen stance. It also looks remarkably like the SLK. And that's no bad thing at all but unlike the SLK, the SL is a big cruise and not a scrappy little sports car. Now, cruises like this is generally comfy, spacious and lovely places to be; whether you're driving them to the dentist office in which you work or going on holiday to live with the air off. And the SL 350 is certainly a joy to charge around and is very, very lovely. Basic weighs nearly 1700-kilos -- not exactly light, is it? I mean for such a vast vehicle, its okay but it's pushing it a bit to say that it's light. Its luxuriousness adds to its paunch. Its folding metal hard-top for example has lots of heavy panels and mechanisms and motors, and this one has an option on Magic Sky Roof which is really smart in terms of top panel from clear to opaque at the press of a button. And then you've got the toys in here to make it just a more comfortable driving experience so you have Cool Seat, Heated Seats and even the Air Scarf which means warm air is blown on to your neck if you decide to take a roof down cruise when it's a bit chilly. Now all of that means that the SL is an incredibly comfortable luxurious car to drive but it does make the 3 1/2 Liter V6, it makes it feels as though its 306 brake horsepower working just that little harder than it should. It makes you feel a touch strange. Not in a bad way, not entirely negative way. It just feels as though it's doing a little bit more work than you'd expect from a car like this. It doesn't seem effortless as perhaps it should. Don't get me wrong, it still quiet brisk. Note the 62 comes in 5.9-seconds and it'll hit a 155-miles an hour but you do expect the big GT to simply sheer, with the 350SL needs some time to get going. To drive, it's immensely comfortable in all the stand at most. You don't so much drive it, it is be blown by this invisible air, you float through corners to corners. So comfortable, it's so casting and so lovely but it does have another side to it. You can set the suspension that give out into sport mode transforms the character of the car to end up with a really sporty, quiet fun and engaging drive. Something you don't expect with an AMG and with the bigger engine cars, you do expect just to press it and off you go into to the distance at the drop of a hand. But in this, you have that option just that little bit of edge-- that little bit of extra engagement where you have to push the car, you have to feel it, you have to hear it. With the original which had the similarly sized engine, was designed for extreme comfort and expressivity to find an era. The new SL has evolved to suit today's needs. It's bigger, full of toys that mid 1900s could only dream of and has the shield that pursuit at maximum speed and favorite of them all, relax life. You still get power certainly further up the range and it looks great and you do feel truly special driving it but there's something bugging me about this one, and it's the name. You see with the originals stood for sport and lightness, this one really doesn't over the years. It had to evolve to suit the audience that's been buying it. So it's gotten bigger and more bloated. It's lost the essence of the SL-ness. And that one in its self is a shame, doesn't really matter because the people who'd buy this car now will buy it because they want a slice of SL, but they don't want to have the compromises for light-weight sports car today, which means an SL now will vastly differ from an SL evolved. That's still no bad thing.

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