New SL developments: 2011/2012

March 1st, 2010

2011 Night Edition pricing announced

Next generation SL under cold weather testing

Photography from Mercedes-Benz, MercedesHeritage.com, Detroit News, Auto Express

We don’t want to forget about the current and soon to be released offerings from Mercedes-Benz. The current lineup of new models available from your local dealer ranges from the stylish, crisply drawn C-class models to the sophisticated and edgy new E series. The new SLS Gullwing is garnering much of the automotive press today but a bone stock new SL550 is a very competent, stylish personal roadster. And there is the Smart car program if you need something in which to toodle around town. What a fabulous line-up of cars.

SLs: 2010

What’s going on with the SL range? The current car arrived in 2002 to enormous acclaim. This author feels the 2003 SL55 to be the most technically and visually significant SL since the original Gullwing. Almost 500hp in a gorgeous off-the-showroom floor SL. Quite an audacious SL from Mercedes-Benz.

2003 SL55 was a milestone car: gorgeous styling, power retractable hard top, expanded interior dimensions, and almost 500hp. A massive departure from the prior R129 series SL.

2003 SL55 was a milestone car: gorgeous styling, power retractable hard top, expanded interior dimensions, and almost 500hp. A massive departure from the prior R129 series SL.

The superbly balanced, voluptuous original R230 series shape was spot on and immediately rendered the blocky previous generation positively prehistoric. However, this car is approaching the end of its production life, nine years and counting. The recent facelift to align the nose design with the “face” of the rest of the models stimulated sales but buyers are beginning to look toward the next generation.

2011 Night Edition

Will the hip 2011 “Night Edition” signal the end of the series? We have some new data on what may be the last of the R230 generation SLs. We learned from 35 year Mercedes sales veteran, Tony Spencer, that the Night Edition’s matte finish black will be a metallic. Very interesting. After the matte satin black color is applied, the final clear coat will contain the metallic matter. The paint code for this “designo Night Black Metallic” is 056.

100 examples of the Night Edition SL550 scheduled to arrive in spring of this year. Price will be about $119,255.

100 examples of the Night Edition SL550 scheduled to arrive in spring of this year. Price will be about $119,255.

Here is the order data and codes for this unique new SL:

Paint: 056 designo Night Edition Black Metallic (Matte Finish)

Upholstery: 831 Black Premium Leather with Silver Contrast Stitching

Trim: 736 Hand-Polished Black Ash Wood Trim

Packages:

P01 Premium 1 Package

321 Wheel Package

Options:

067 Illuminated Door Sills

220 Parktronic

413 Panorama Roof

831 Premium Leather Upholstery

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in Spring of this year with pricing around $119,255. And remember, only 100 units will be constructed.

2012 and Beyond

The next generation SL is largely finalized and definitely under hot/cold weather testing in various parts of the globe. The images below verify this and signal the beginning of the speculative game centering on the new car’s final shape. Current Mad Max road warrior camouflage betrays little of the new shape but automotive artists are beginning to challenge their rendering software to give us glimpses of possible designs.

Not much to be learned from this heavily camouflaged cold weather test hack. We can see side view mirrors sitting on separate stalks rather than integrated into A post as on current cars.

Not much to be learned from this heavily camouflaged cold weather test hack. We can see side view mirrors sitting on separate stalks rather than integrated into A post as on current cars.

Speculation has the next generation SL debuting at the 2012 Paris Motor Show and production moving from Bremen to Stuttgart. Did the sensual sculpture we saw in January at the Detroit Auto Show give us a secret glimpse of the “face” for the new SL? Many insiders think so. And the more upright nose profile seems logical in light of new EU pedestrian-protecting laws that will influence many new designs.

Grille profile of Mercedes sculpture presented at the Detroit Auto Show my give us a glimpse of new SL's face.

Grille profile of Mercedes sculpture presented at the Detroit Auto Show may give us a glimpse of new SL's face.

We have plenty to look forward to in the next generation SL. If it is half as dramatic and groundbreaking as the R230 series was in 2002, we will see another world beater from the silver star.

Tony Spencer (408-345-2255) can answer any questions you may have regarding current and future Mercedes-Benz products.

Roy Spencer, editor MercedesHeritage.com

Please post your comments below.

One Response to “New SL developments: 2011/2012”

  1. Hi,

    I’ve salivated over the 2003 SL 500 since it was introduced. Now, I’ve finally saved enough to buy one used, however, I read that the car is very unreliable (consumer reports 2005). What is your experience with the 2003 SL? Do you find that there are a lot of lemons out there and how would I be able to evaluate whether I’m buying a lemon? Are there certain common problems I should look for in the 03 SL?

    Thanks for your input.

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