2006 SL-Class New Car Test Drive
The Mercedes-Benz SL offers major-league performance and luxury. It's one of the most beautiful cars sold today. Slide into the cockpit, belt up, press the button on the console and 16 seconds later the power-retractable roof switches the SL from the quiet comfort of a luxury coupe to the open-air fun of a roadster. The seats are comfortable and the interior is luxurious.
Each new year seems to bring a more powerful and exotic variation of this sinuous, sensuous roadster. The current range debuted as the 2003 SL500, powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine. The magnificent twin-turbo, twelve-cylinder SL600 followed for 2004, along with the high-performance supercharged V8 SL55 AMG. Now comes the mightiest SL yet: The 2005 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG with an aggressively turbocharged V12 that develops 604 whopping horsepower and a mountainous 738 pound-feet of torque.
In addition to power, every SL is packed with leading-edge technology to keep it safe and controllable. Every SL comes standard with traction control, electronic stability control, electronic brake distribution and brake assist. The electronically controlled ABC active suspension greatly reduces the roll and pitch for improved grip. We've driven various SL models at Hockenheim (a race track in Germany), at Road America (a road racing circuit in Wisconson), at Milan Dragway in Michigan, and for hundreds of road miles, and we are continually amazed at their graceful high-speed behavior and race-level performance.
The 2005 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class includes four models: SL500 with its powerful V8; the luxurious and extremely powerful SL600 with its twin-turbo V12; the ultra high-performance SL55 AMG with its supercharged V8; and the new SL65 AMG. All come loaded with everything a driver and one passenger need for grand touring, from Bose stereo to beautiful interior decor.
The SL500 ($89,900) comes with a 5.0-liter V8 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission and the ABC active suspension. The SL500 has more standard equipment than just about any other two-seater in the world today.
The SL600 ($127,500) uses a 5.5-liter V12 with twin turbochargers and five-speed automatic. It's equipped with unique leather upholstery, bi-xenon headlamps, an integrated Motorola telephone with voice control and a six-disc CD changer.
The SL55 AMG ($121,500) features a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 and five-speed automatic. Brakes are upgraded and the suspension re-programmed. Specific AMG upholstery highlights the interior.
The SL65 AMG ($179,000) comes with a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12, a five-speed automatic, upgraded wheels and tires and brakes. Again, some interior and exterior trim is unique.
Options for all four models include Parktronic parking distance warning system ($1,080), Distronic radar-based cruise control ($3,070) that keeps a preset distance between the SL and the car ahead, a tire-pressure monitoring system ($660), Keyless Go ($1,060), and a Panoramic Roof ($1,880). Bi-Xenon headlamps ($770), the voice-control phone ($1,450), and other luxuries from the V12 models can be added to the V8 models. And all but the SL65 AMG are available with Designo color and trim schemes ($6,925-$7,725).