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2008 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview
Following a design refresh in 2007, the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class receives only a couple of minor updates for 2008. The SL-Class two-seat roadster has a long history, dating back to the mid-1950s, and remains one of the automaker's most popular and coveted vehicles. For 2008, the SL-Class consists of four trims, including the SL550, the SL600, the SL55 AMG, and the SL65 AMG. The SL550 receives a new 18-inch wheel design this year. In addition, Mercedes adds premium Nappa leather to the optional Trim Package for the SL550 for '08.
The SL-Class displays a low, sleek profile, with an elongated hood and a two-piece retractable hardtop, which folds down in just 16 seconds and stows in the 10.2-cubic-foot trunk, reducing cargo space to 7.2 cubic feet. The SL-Class's prominent nose, with the Mercedes-Benz three-point star firmly planted in the center of the grille, features a low front apron flanked by dual foglights. Hunky 18-inch and 19-inch wheels give the SL-Class an aggressive appearance.
A range of powerplants, including both V8 and V12 engines, drive the SL-Class roadsters to impressive levels of performance. The SL550 jumps out from 0 to 60 in 5.3 seconds, thanks to its 5.5-liter V8 engine, which generates 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. The engine links to a seven-speed automatic transmission with the Touch Shift manual shift feature, and posts fuel economy numbers of 13/21 mpg.
For the SL600 roadster, a 510-hp, 5.5-liter V12 bi-turbo engine provides exhilarating power. The V12 generates an impressive 612 lb-ft of torque, and drives the roadster from 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds. It links to a five-speed automatic transmission specially designed to handle the increased torque. Paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel enable drivers to shift manually. The V12 posts fuel economy numbers of 11/18, according to EPA estimates.
At the top of the line, the limited-production AMG-tuned SL55 AMG and SL65 AMG roadsters come equipped with hand-built engines. The SL55 AMG sports a supercharged 510-hp, 5.5-liter V8, while the SL65 AMG houses a hefty bi-turbo 6.0-liter V12 generating 604 hp and an eye-popping 738 lb-ft of torque, making it one of the most powerful convertibles available today. The V12 propels the SL65 AMG from 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds. Like the V12-powered S600, the SL65 comes equipped with a five-speed manual transmission designed to channel all that torque and direct it to the rear wheels. The SL65 posts fuel economy numbers of 11/18.
The SL-Class delivers exceptional sports-car handling, thanks to such features as Active Body Control, which adjusts the suspension at each wheel to reduce vibration, dive, and squat, and uses a series of sensors and high-pressure hydraulics to minimize body roll during cornering. The AMG versions come equipped with tighter suspensions performance-tuned by technicians at the AMG shop in Germany.
The interiors of the SL-Class roadsters provide a wide range of creature comforts, including hand-fitted leather upholstery, Burl Walnut or Black Ash wood trim, 12-way power-adjustable heated front seats, premium Harman Kardon digital surround-sound audio systems, 6-CD/DVD changers, dual-zone climate control, and Bluetooth with enhanced voice control. A 40-gigabyte hard-drive-based in-dash navigation system also comes standard. In addition, the SL600 includes multicontour seats with triple lumbar support, heated and active-ventilated front seats, a panorama roof, and the Airscarf feature, which blows warm air down the necks of the driver and passenger to extend the top-down driving season. The SL600 also includes a 4-gigabyte Music Register, which enables owners to store digital music and rip CDs to the in-car hard drive. The SL55 AMG and S65 AMG include such unique features as AMG leather sport seats with side bolsters, an ergonomic sports steering wheel, an AMG sport-oriented instrument cluster, and AMG brushed stainless-steel sports pedals with black rubber pads for grip.
Standard safety features include side-impact head/thorax airbags, which protect the heads and upper bodies of occupants, and a driver's-side knee bag. Antilock brakes, traction control, an electronic stability system, and brake assist also come standard. The SL600 includes the Parktronic parking-assist system, while options for the SL-Class include the Distronic Adaptive Cruise Control system, which monitors the vehicle ahead and adjusts the speed of the vehicle to maintain a pre-set following distance.
by R. Feeman
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Looking for a Used SL-Class in your area?CarGurus has 2,536 nationwide SL-Class listings starting at $3,950.