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2012 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview
No standard equipment changes have been made to the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class for 2012. The production run of the SL65 AMG ended in early 2011. Industry buzz indicates that the SL-Class will undergo numerous physical and performance changes for the 2013 model year, including a new all-aluminum body, refined chassis and a revised powertrain that is reportedly more powerful and efficient.
Two trims are available in the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class: the SL550 Roadster and the SL63 Roadster. Both are 2-door, 2-passenger retractable hardtops with rear-wheel drive that run on premium gasoline and have a 7-speed automatic transmission with overdrive that can be operated via steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The SL550 Roadster has a 382-hp 5.5-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 engine that reaches 391 lb-ft of torque, while the SL63 Roadster comes equipped with a 6.2-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 engine that achieves 518 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. The SL550 Roadster is estimated by the EPA to get 15 mpg city/22 highway, while the SL63 Roadster is estimated to get 12/19.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class's standard features include automatic dual-zone front air conditioning with voice activation, residual heat recirculation, cruise control, power windows with front and rear 1-touch down, remote window controls, auto-locking doors, remote keyless entry, illuminated entry, SmartKey integrated key/remote, proximity key, power trunk/hatch/door remote release, power open and close trunk, a power tilt-telescoping steering wheel with auto tilt-away and mounted audio controls, 12-way power reclining heated leather driver's and passenger front bucket seats with massaging lumbar support, heated folding side-view door mirrors with turn signal indicators, memory for 3 drivers' and passengers' seat, mirror, steering wheel, head restraint and climate-control settings, a leather steering wheel and shift knob, full leatherette headliner, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and rear window defroster.
Additional standard equipment features include a power retractable hardtop with automatic roll-over protection, a wind blocker and remote controls, projector beam bi-Xenon high-intensity auto-leveling headlights, headlight washers, fog lights, cornering lights, variable intermittent rain-detecting wipers with heating jets and wiper park, dual stainless steel exhaust with chrome tailpipes, a 510-watt Harman Kardon Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound system with 10 speakers, Sirius XM satellite/AM/FM/HD radio with voice-activation, speed-sensitive volume, a 6-CD/MP3/audio DVD changer, radio data system, weather radio, and automatic equalizer, a DVD entertainment system, first-row LCD monitor and wireless phone connectivity.
Individual options available for the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL Class include radar-based cruise control, parking assist, a panorama roof and Mercedes-Benz Star Service prepaid maintenance for up 5 years or 50,000 miles. An AMG Performance Package is available for the SL63, which raises the top speed to 186 mph, adds an AMG performance steering wheel, performance suspension, limited-slip differential and 19-inch twin 5-spoke forged alloy wheels.
Safety features standard for the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class include driver and passenger front-impact airbags, door-mounted driver and passenger side-impact airbags, driver and passenger side airbag head extension, knee airbag, front passenger airbag occupancy sensor, power adjustable and anti-whiplash front head restraints, four-wheel disc brakes with antilock braking system and brake assist, daytime running lights, tire-specific low-tire-pressure warning, integrated rollover protection, stability control and driveline traction control.
Appearance options for the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class include 18-inch 5-spoke aluminum alloy wheels (standard on the SL550) or 19-inch AMG 5-spoke aluminum alloy wheels (optional for the SL550 and standard on the SL63), all of which are equipped with performance tires. Interior trim can be configured with burl walnut wood or black ash wood or carbon fiber.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class finds itself in heavy competition with the BMW 650, Audi R8 and Porsche 911. Price-wise, it ranks near the upper end of the scale, especially the SL63 Roadster. Handling, performance, comfort and styling are all in line with other luxury sports cars. With big changes ahead for the 2013 model year, it may be possible to find a “bargain” on 2012 models, as buyers may wait to see what the changes will bring for Mercedes-Benz’s iconic sports car.
by Mark S. Baker
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