Sport licht: for a long time, the Mercedes-Benz SL hasn't really been either of those things. Swanky Luxury – okay then, that's more like it.
Pretty, that's something else the SL hasn't been in a little while. The current machine's last iteration made some people wonder if the front and rear of the vehicle had been designed by two different people and, if so, whether those people had ever been introduced. Hardly the elegant machine one wished for swanning about town in open-topped splendour.
Well, this is Los Angeles, a city founded on convertible splendour and (let's be honest) plastic surgery. Fitting then that the new SL gets a fresh schnozz, one that gives the car a more cohesive design, and brings it into line with the S-class and redesigned C-Class. Power remains largely the same, with the SL500, SL63, and SL65 getting 469 hp, 577 hp, and 621 hp respectively. Possibly of greater interest to those who want the SL's comfort and grace without the need to accelerate so hard your eyeballs fall out is the SL400's new engine. Now producing 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, it's quick enough for a sprint to 100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds, fast enough for nearly anyone.
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The new SL sat next to the GLS crossover/SUV, the “German Suburban” replacement for the GL class. While the exterior treatment is a similar nip and tuck to the SL's freshening, there's a bit more technology behind the scenes, including a new nine-speed automatic that you can expect to start showing up in more 4Matic-equipped cars as time goes on. Aside from that, the engine offerings continue unchanged, with the highway warrior 240 hp, 455 lb-ft GLS350 Bluetec being the thrifty choice, and the 550-hp GLS63 making sense to no one.
Also on stage was the new C63 AMG Coupe, which is, without fear of exaggeration, one of the most wonderful machines on sale today. Flared out like a BMW M4, it's powered by the same growling twin-turbo V8 that you get in the Mercedes-AMG GT-S, and it's scrumptious to drive. Not just a straight-line car any more, it actually handles beautifully.