Compared with its predecessor, the new generation of the SL is much longer
(+ 50 mm to 4612 mm) and wider (+ 57 mm to 1877 mm), providing more room for more comfort in the interior, too. Shoulder room (+ 37 mm) and elbow room (+ 28 mm) have been increased, exceeding the dimensions normally found in this vehicle class. Clear lines create a formally coherent internal space within this comfortable interior. Perfectly in tune with the roadster’s character, it combines the unpretentious atmosphere of a high-performance sports car with the comfortable, stylish ambience you come to expect in a luxurious touring car.
The wrap-around effect has class
In conjunction with the beltlines on the doors and the parcel shelf, the upper section of the dashboard creates a formal unity and – with the exception of the black interior – it is always styled in a contrasting colour. Generously used wood trim extends from the centre console across the dashboard into the doors, creating a pleasant wrap-around effect. Three types of wood along with two different aluminium trim finishes are available (high-gloss brown walnut, satin-finish light brown poplar, high-gloss black ash), plus two differently treated longitudinal-grain aluminium trim parts (light or dark). The links between the dashboard, centre console and door trim panels have been styled so that they are continuous and they support the wrap-around effect. Minimal gap dimensions please the eye and represent the high precision with which the SL is manufactured.
High-quality instruments add emotionally appealing flourishes
In the area of the dashboard, four circular ventilation outlets provide some striking eye-catching touches. Set in metal, these air vents are reminiscent of jet engines and are a contemporary, emotively interpreted way of paying homage to the history of Mercedes-Benz sports cars.
Inside two tubes the sporty instrument cluster boasts classic round dials with three-dimensional graduated rings, back-lit dials in the centre of the tachograph and rev counter, plus high-quality needles. In the centre between the two round dials, a colour display provides information from the on-board computer and indicates vehicle functions. The system is operated via a three-spoke sports steering wheel with shift paddles and twelve function buttons. The steering wheel featuring a flattened bottom section has an ergonomic grip area and galvanised spokes, and is covered with nappa leather – in the airbag section, too.
A large COMAND colour display in the centre of the vehicle takes care of the numerous display functions for the entertainment, communication and navigation facilities. A particularly eye-catching feature on the tunnel of the centre console is a new DIRECT SELECT shift lever. Small and fine, it is a true visual highlight. Like the central rotary knob for operating the COMAND system, it is optimally positioned from an ergonomic point of view. Located in front of these controls is the lidded compartment for the two cup holders.
Spotlight on the stylish ambience
Making dynamism visible is what it’s all about where the ambient lighting in the SL is concerned. The fibre-optic cables with three colour options to choose from stretch between the beltline and the door centre panel in one tier over virtually the entire length of the door, behind the trim on the dashboard and in the front panelling.
Seats with a noble, sporty character
The new SL’s fully electric seats with a memory function meet discerning and wide-ranging standards regarding seating comfort, ergonomics, safety and sportiness. The ergonomically optimised seats themselves are more slender than in the predecessor and emphasise the noble, sporty character. This is underlined in visual terms by sophisticated stitched seams and by a layout which varies depending on the choice of leather. Alongside excellent lateral support, the seats also offer high levels of comfort.
The superstructure of the seat cushion and backrest is formed by a weight-optimised welded construction of steel and sheet metal panel parts. This structure also makes a significant contribution towards transverse support for the sidewall in the event of a lateral collision. In addition, a thorax-sidebag is installed in the backrest. A newly developed combination of a sine spring core principle with rubberised matting and a foam layer as damping ensures support and comfort.
Both the driver and the passenger can adjust their seats precisely according to their requirements and body measurements. Even in the standard equipment there are extensive electrical adjustment options available for doing so, enabling fore-and-aft and height adjustment to be made just as easily as the seat cushion angle, cushion depth and backrest angle adjustment. The crash-responsive head restraints are also adjustable for height. The range of equipment also includes 4-way lumbar support adjustment – this feature is housed in the centre section of the backrest cover. The occupants can operate it via the central control panel and the head unit. Using the memory buttons, the current seat position can be stored, and on the driver’s side this also applies to the positions of the steering wheel and exterior mirror.
A very attractive solution has been found for convenient access to the rear compartment for easy loading – in both visual and functional terms. A button on the shoulder of the backrest operates the backrest lock electrically and enables the seats to be moved forwards and backwards in order to create sufficient room to manoeuvre.
Also part of the standard specification is a seat occupancy sensor with automatic child seat recognition on the front-passenger side – for child seats with a transponder specially approved for Mercedes-Benz.
For enhancing comfort even further, in the case of the leather appointments the seats are covered with sun-reflecting leather. This specially coated leather reflects the heat of the sun and, in particular where the appointments colours are dark, it reduces the extent to which the surface heats up. In combination with the optional active ventilation the thermal seat comfort is tangibly improved.
The following seat variants can be selected as an optional extra:
- Luxury heated seats with active seat ventilation: it ensures a pleasant seating climate. Leather appointments are a prerequisite for this option
- Active multicontour seat package: three air chambers in the lumbar area can vary the contour of the seats in order to prevent fatigue. Elongated air chambers in both of the side cushions on the backrest ensure optimum lateral support
- Dynamic multicontour seat: the dynamic multicontour seat is an enhanced version of the multicontour seat. It automatically adjusts the lateral structure of the backrest in accordance with the current driving situation. In order to do this it varies the air pressure in the seat bolsters on the backrest electropneumatically, depending on the steering angle, lateral acceleration and speed
Health and comfort-conscious climate
The control panel for the standard-specification luxury automatic climate control THERMOTRONIC featuring separate temperature adjustment for the driver and passenger has been redesigned and revised. Mercedes-Benz has placed particular emphasis on new technologies for saving energy. They include a window demisting sensor integrated in the base of the interior mirror. It measures the window temperature and interior humidity and transmits these data to the climate electronics. They can use them to determine whether the windscreen has misted up. If this is not the case, in A/C operation it can continuously adjust the compressor in the background if no dehumidification is necessary. In other words: thanks to the sensor, the compressor can be operated as required, saving drive energy. The A/C function can remain permanently active. A further advantage is that, as the air conditioning only dehumidifies and cools as much air as necessary, dry eyes are prevented – a tangible gain in terms of comfort.
The air conditioning is also linked to the ECO start/stop function and can therefore also regulate the climate during the stop phases.
So that SL drivers can enjoy an open-air experience even when the weather is cool, the innovative neck-level heating system AIRSCARF is available as an optional extra – as was the case with the predecessor. Warm air flows through a nozzle at the front of the head restraints, and the system directs it around the head and neck area of the occupants.
Room for luggage and lots of equipment
Suitability for everyday use is a key word which is traditionally taken extremely seriously at Mercedes-Benz – even in the case of vehicles designed to be very sporty. This is why the occupants in the new SL will find plenty of stowage facilities for larger and smaller items alike. In addition to the glove compartment, the centre console offers three stowage compartments within easy reach:
- One of these is at the front beneath the air-conditioning control panel, which can be optionally fitted with two cup holders or with an ashtray and one cup holder
- A large stowage compartment beneath the armrest can be used for the safe storage of a telephone, iPod ® or similar, for example
- A centrally located rear box with a retractable luggage cover completes the range. A bottle holder is fitted here as part of the standard specification, whilst a fire extinguisher is available as an optional extra
A lockable rear box behind the driver’s seat creates additional stowage space. Its catch is automatically closed when the vehicle is locked.
In the lower section of the door trim, a long, open door pocket offers further, easily accessible stowage space. As no bass loudspeakers have to be fitted in the door thanks to the Frontbass system, Mercedes-Benz makes sensible use of the space gained here by adding an extra stowage compartment, which can be used for an umbrella, for instance.
The designers have also thought the details through: smaller but useful items can be fixed in place by a net on the centre tunnel of the passenger’s footwell.
The design of the boot is largely determined by the vario-roof, which has to be housed in the upper part of the boot when the roof is open. In total the new SL offers luggage capacity of up to 504 litres – 364 litres with the roof stowed. There is always room for stowing luggage or two golf bags without any problems at all, thanks to the optimised boot design.
A luggage cover which can be adjusted lengthwise with a handle prevents pieces of luggage from colliding with roof elements in the boot when opening the roof. Only when the cover is adjusted to the rear can the vario-roof be opened. Anyone wanting to use the entire boot capacity when the roof is closed can adjust the cover to the front or remove it completely.
At the press of a button, the roof elements stowed in the boot can be tilted upwards by about 25 degrees to make loading and unloading easier – as was the case in the predecessor (Easy-Pack system).
The compressor and the TIREFIT filler bottle are housed in a stowage compartment in front of the recess which can be accessed by lifting up the boot floor.
HANDS-FREE ACCESS – ‘kick’ to open
One of the new products and features from Mercedes-Benz is a system known as HANDS-FREE ACCESS, which is included in the KEYLESS-GO package. It is available on request for the new SL for the first time anywhere in the world, and it allows drivers to operate the boot lid without using their hands. This work is taken care of by a hydraulic drive system, for which the control signals are given by the SL owner without touching anything, but by making as though to kick the area of the rear bumper with their foot; doing so activates this fully automatic comfort-increasing equipment. Mercedes-Benz is the only manufacturer to offer a system which not only opens but also closes the boot lid automatically.
With the innovative convenience function HANDS-FREE ACCESS there is no longer any need for drivers to have to get annoyed by having to put their purchases and other objects down on the – often dirty – ground when out shopping and when they literally have their hands full, in order to reach for the handle. Should an unintentional ‘kick’ result in the boot lid opening or closing without the driver wanting this to happen, a second kick will correct it. When this occurs, the automatic system interrupts the procedure and reverses the effect of the signal given in error by actuating the boot lid against the original direction of movement – in the case of unintended opening, the second kick closes the boot lid again.
An appropriate safety program facilitates unhindered use of the HANDS-FREE ACCESS system. An acoustic signal provides the information that an opening or closing procedure has been initiated, and an automatic reversing function stops the boot lid as soon as the system recognises that there is an obstacle blocking the boot lid.
For the HANDS-FREE ACCESS system to be included, the vehicle must be fitted with KEYLESS-GO – this allows non-contact access to the vehicle In addition to this the correct KEYLESS-GO vehicle key has to be in the vicinity of the vehicle, so in order to open the doors it can, for example, stay in the driver’s coat pocket or handbag. In order to activate the HANDS-FREE ACCESS system for the boot lid, the KEYLESS-GO key must not be further than 1.5 metres away from the rear end of the vehicle.
Credits: Daimler AG
Copyright © 2012, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.