Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (R230)

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Mercedes-Benz SL (R230)
Mercedes R230 front 20071102.jpg
ManufacturerDaimlerChrysler (2001–2007)
Daimler AG (2007–2011)
Production13 October 2001 – 6 December 2011[1]
Model years2002–2011
AssemblyGermany: Bremen
DesignerSteve Mattin; Bruno Sacco (1997)[2]
Body and chassis
ClassSports car (S)
Body style
Layoutfront-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Engine3.0 L 170 kW (228 hp) V6

3.5 L 200–232 kW (268–311 hp) V6
3.7 L 180 kW (241 hp) V6
5.0 L 225–285 kW (302–382 hp) V8
5.4 L 350–380 kW (469–510 hp) Supercharged V8
5.5 L 285 kW (382 hp) V8
5.5 L 368–380 kW (493–510 hp) BiTurbo V12
6.0 L 368–493 kW (493–661 hp) BiTurbo V12

6.2 L 386 kW (518 hp) V8
Transmission5-speed 5G-TRONIC automatic
7-speed 7G-TRONIC automatic
Wheelbase100.8 in (2,560 mm)
Length178.5 in (4,534 mm)
Width2005–2011: 71.5 in (1,816 mm)
2003–2004: 72.0 in (1,829 mm)
Height51.0 in (1,295 mm)
PredecessorMercedes-Benz R129
SuccessorMercedes-Benz R231

The R230 generation of the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class was introduced at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show and 2001 Bologna Motor Show, replacing the R129. The R230 underwent revisions in 2006 and 2008, and was superseded by the new SL-Class R231 in 2011.


Pre–facelift Mercedes-Benz SL 350 (Australia)

In early 1996, over six years into the life of the R129, development work on a successor began. On 27 January 1996, design work commenced and draft designs were submitted from ten designers in Germany, California, and Japan. Hundreds of sketches were submitted and would form the basis for twelve quarter scale models which were digitized for computer manipulation. Design of the R230 would progress through two different formats. The real world process centered on the traditional 1:4 scale models, with most of them initially being done clay. Virtual world design development took place in a room packed with state-of-the-art computer processing technology referred to as the "CAVE" (Computer Aided Virtual Environment). This technology was also used earlier on to design the W203 in 1995.

The supercomputer in the "CAVE" was able to create full-size images of selected designs, using its five projectors and allowing designers to inspect every inch of every surface rendered. Parallel to the virtual process, the twelve scale models were scrutinized as well, with four standouts chosen to be created in full-size mockups. This evolution of the scale models occurred alongside the development of the interior design. On 16 June 1997,[3] the final design for the R230 was approved by the board and refined into production specifications into 1998. The design patents for the R230 were later filed in Germany on 9 September 1999[4] and on 1 March 2000 in the United States.[5]

In July 2001, after over five years of development, the new SL was unveiled and introduced at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show that September.[6] Production began on 13 October 2001 at the Bremen plant and European sales commenced that November.

First generation[edit]

This car first appeared as the Safety Car for Formula One at the 2001 German Grand Prix in Hockenheim. The street version was unveiled at the 2001 IAA.[7] The range was launched with a film style advertisement called Lucky Star.


Model Years Type/code Power@rpm Torque@rpm
SL 350 2002–2006 3,724 cubic centimetres (227.3 cu in) V6 (M112) 245 PS (180 kW; 242 hp)@5700 350 N⋅m (258 lbf⋅ft) @3000–4500
SL 500 2002–2006 4,966 cubic centimetres (303.0 cu in) V8 (M113) 306 PS (225 kW; 302 hp)@5600 460 N⋅m (339 lbf⋅ft) @2700–4250
SL 55 AMG 2003–2006 5,439 cubic centimetres (331.9 cu in) V8 supercharged (M113) 500 PS (368 kW; 493 hp)@6100 700 N⋅m (516 lbf⋅ft) @2650–4500
SL 600 2003–2006 5,513 cubic centimetres (336.4 cu in) V12 biturbo (M275) 500 PS (368 kW; 493 hp)@5000 800 N⋅m (590 lbf⋅ft) @1800–3600
SL 65 AMG 2004–2006 5,980 cubic centimetres (365 cu in) V12 biturbo (M275 AMG) 612 PS (450 kW; 604 hp)@4800–5100 1,000 N⋅m (738 lbf⋅ft) @2000–4000

2006 facelift[edit]

2006 facelift

The SL underwent a facelift in 2006,[8] and was unveiled at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show.

Changes include new engines for SL 350 and SL 500 (called SL 550 in North America), with improved performance on SL 55 AMG and SL 600, as well as a new top-of-the-line SL 65 AMG.[9] ABC (Active Body Control) was improved to reduce body movements in dynamic driving by up to 60%, standard on all models except the SL 350. The new engines were mated to a new 7-speed 7G-Tronic automatic, with a Sport option to allow shifting to be performed up to 30% faster in manual "M" mode, and with added steering-wheel shift paddles.

Exterior styling changes include a new bumper with three large cooling air intakes and a more pronounced V-shape as well as fog lamps with chrome surrounds, new light-alloy wheels, new rear light. Interior changes include softer leather upholstery, new interior colours, high-quality metal door sills with Mercedes-Benz lettering and embossed aluminium trim elements, removable luggage cover, optional remote boot-lid release. The roof opening mechanism was also revised, reducing the opening time from 20 seconds to 16 seconds.[10]

2007 – 50th Anniversary Edition SL 550

With the 2007 model year, there was a limited production model (550 units) introduced to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the SL roadster model. This Anniversary Edition version came with a pewter metallic exterior, cognac brown leather interior with black ash wood trim, 382 hp (285 kW) V8, exclusive twin-spoke rims, custom luggage bag for rear shelf, and many other standard options and features.


Model Years Type/code Power@rpm Torque@rpm
SL 350 2006–2008 3,498 cubic centimetres (213.5 cu in) V6 (M272) 272 PS (200 kW; 268 hp)@6000 350 N⋅m (258 lbf⋅ft) @2400–5000
SL 500, SL 550 2006–2008 5,461 cubic centimetres (333.3 cu in) V8 (M273) 388 PS (285 kW; 383 hp)@6000 530 N⋅m (391 lbf⋅ft) @2800–4800
SL 55 AMG 2006–2008 5,439 cubic centimetres (331.9 cu in) V8 supercharged (M113) 517 PS (380 kW; 510 hp)@6100 720 N⋅m (531 lbf⋅ft) @2600–4000
SL 600 2006–2008 5,513 cubic centimetres (336.4 cu in) V12 biturbo (M275) 517 PS (380 kW; 510 hp)@5000 830 N⋅m (612 lbf⋅ft) @1900–3500
SL 65 AMG 2006–2008 5,980 cubic centimetres (365 cu in) V12 biturbo (M275 AMG) 612 PS (450 kW; 604 hp)@4800–5100 1,000 N⋅m (738 lbf⋅ft) @2000–4000

2008 facelift[edit]

2008 facelift
2008 facelift
Interior (2008 facelift)

The facelifted SL model was revealed in the Geneva Motor Show in March 2008. The SL received a new, more aggressive front end reflecting Mercedes's new design philosophy, with a pair of long powerdomes on the bonnet and a single-bar grille replacing the old three-bar effort. Improvements have been made also on the engines. The 3.5 L V6 is uprated to 311 PS (229 kW; 307 hp) at 6500 rpm. Compared to the previous 3.5-litre engine, the output has been boosted by 16 percent. Torque has also been improved adding 10 N⋅m (7.4 lb⋅ft) to the previous 350 N⋅m (258 lbf⋅ft) making it 360 N⋅m (266 lbf⋅ft). This engine now can rev up to a max of 7200 rpm for a period as the oil temperature and other engine parameters permit, a higher compression ratio, a new intake manifold and featuring extensive modifications to and lightening of the valve train. In this case, however, the extra power does not come at the expense of fuel economy: with a consumption figure of 9.9 litres per 100 kilometres, the new SL 350 undercuts the previous model developing 200 kW (272 PS; 268 hp) by 0.4 litres per 100 kilometres. Mercedes-Benz is extending the SL-Class line-up by introducing an attractive entry-level model in the shape of the SL 280 developing 170 kW (231 PS; 228 hp). The six cylinder powerplant delivers its peak torque of 300 N⋅m (221 lbf⋅ft) from 2500 rpm and accelerates the roadster from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.8 seconds, whilst fuel consumption (NEDC) is just 9.4 L/100 km (30 mpg‑imp; 25 mpg‑US). It features the AIRSCARF heating system used in the SLK.


The facelifted SL loses AMG's 5.4 L M113 in favour of the newer M156 6.2 L V8 used in the S63 AMG, CLK63 AMG and C63 AMG. It produces 525 PS (386 kW; 518 hp) at 6800 rpm and 630 N⋅m (465 lbf⋅ft) of torque at 5200 rpm. It can accelerate from rest to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.6 seconds going up to a limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). The SL 63 AMG also includes the new AMG-developed 7-speed MCT "Multi Clutch Technology" automatic transmission.

The new MCT transmission is essentially the 7G-Tronic transmission without a torque converter. Instead of a torque converter, it uses a compact wet startup clutch to start the car off, and also supports computer-controlled double declutching. The MCT (Multi-Clutch Technology) acronym refers to a planetary (automatic) transmission's multiple clutches and bands for each gear.[11]

The MCT is fitted with four drive modes: "C" (Comfort), "S" (Sport), "S+" (Sport plus), and "M" (Manual) and boasts 100 millisecond shifts in "M" mode. The new car features the new AMG DRIVE UNIT with innovative Race Start function. The AMG DRIVE UNIT is the central control unit for the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission and all driving dynamics functions. The driver can change gears either using the new AMG selector lever with its leather/ carbon-fibre finish, or by nudging the AMG steering-wheel shift paddles. The new Race start Function is a launch control system which enables the SL 63 AMG driver to call on maximum acceleration, while ensuring optimum traction of the driven wheels. A modified version of the SL 63 was the Safety Car for the Formula One seasons of 2008 and 2009.[12]

The new SL 65 AMG Black Series coupe features a carbon-fiber fixed roof, front fenders, hood, trunk lid, and front and rear aprons. With the absence of retractable roof hardware, the car is more than 550 lb (249 kg) lighter than the standard SL. AMG placed a modified version of the 6.0-liter AMG V12 engine that now delivers 670 PS (493 kW) and 1,000 N⋅m (738 lbf⋅ft) of torque. This is the same 6.0 L engine as used in the previous SL 65 model with remapped timing and fuel curves to produce 58 PS more. Torque remains the same, as the previous model, due to transmission limitations. This engine has been labeled as the engine with the largest output that will be made by AMG. Its twin turbochargers are 12 percent larger, passages for intake air and the turbo wastegates have been modified, and the intake air intercooler is 30 percent more efficient. The result is 0-to-60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration of 3.8 seconds, and an electronically limited top speed of 198 mph (319 km/h).[13]

SL 63 AMG Edition IWC (2008–)[edit]

SL 63 AMG Edition IWC

It is a limited (200 units) version of SL 63 AMG. It included Designo Magno Kashmir white finish, AMG Exterior Carbon package with matte surface, interior Carbon matte trim with Tobago Brown nappa leather upholstery, AMG Performance package, 'Grosse Ingenieur' (Big Engineer) watch from Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen.[14]

The vehicle went on sale beginning in fall 2008, with deliveries beginning in November 2008.[15]

SL 65 AMG Black Series (2008–2011)[edit]

Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series

The performance version of the SL 65 AMG was unveiled in Monterey in 2008.[16] The turbochargers are 12% larger, and the optimised wastegate ducts permit increased air throughout. The intake air ducting and exhaust system are modified to improve response and reduce the exhaust gas backpressure. The Black Series is 250 kilograms (551 lb) lighter than regular SL 65 AMG by the use of light carbon fibre composite (CFRP) parts and the omission of the SL's normal foldable hardtop roof, replacing it with a fixed roof. Not only did this save weight, it also made room available for the retractable rear spoiler. It also has a def limited top speed of about 200 mph (322 km/h) and can go from 0–62 mph (0–100 km/h) in 3.8 seconds.

The AMG Speedshift Plus five-speed automatic transmission include "C", "S", "M1", and "M2" which has gearshift times 25 percent quicker than the "M1" mode. The Black Series front axle track width is 97 millimetres wider and the rear axle track width 85 millimetres wider over regular model. Other changes include retractable rear spoiler and the rear apron with diffuser fins, 265/35R19 front tyres with 19×9.5 inch AMG light-alloy wheels and AMG 20×11.5-inch light-alloy wheels with 325/30R20 tyres (Dunlop Sport Maxx GT tyres), 6-piston front calipers with 390×36mm discs and 4-piston calipers with 360×26mm discs.

SL Night Edition (2010–)[edit]

SL 350 Night Edition (2008 facelift)

It is a version of SL roadster in iconic matte black paint with 19-inch AMG five-spoke light-alloy wheels in a two-tone high-gloss finish, silver-painted front brake calipers with the Mercedes-Benz logo, darkened headlamps/tail lights, black nappa leather upholstery with shining chrome trim, seats with arrow-shaped seams and silver-coloured contrasting features, sports steering wheel and shift lever and roof lining in black, trim strip of the draught-stop has a high-gloss finish, silver-coloured vents at AIRSCARF system.[17] Available only in model year 2011, there were 100 made.[18]

Grand Edition (2011–)[edit]

It is a version of SL 300, SL 350, and SL 500 commemorating 125th anniversary of Karl Benz inventing the automobile.[19]

SL 350 Grand Edition included 19-inch AMG 5-spoke alloy wheel in titanium, front brake callipers with the Mercedes-Benz logo, drill bench rated brake discs, twin chrome square exhaust tips, chrome shoulder line trim, high gloss door handle, Grand Edition side emblem, nappa leather seat, SLR design shift knob, prism pattern aluminium trim, silver colour AIRSCARF vent, chrome door sill plate, chrome draught strap, floor mat with Grand Edition logo, ashtray with Grand Edition logo. Other options include AMG sport package, designo piano lacquer black wood trim.

SL 500 Grand Edition included 19-inch AMG 5-spoke alloy wheel in titanium, front brake callipers with the Mercedes-Benz logo, drill bench rated brake discs, twin chrome square exhaust tips, chrome shoulder line trim, high gloss door handle, Grand Edition side emblem, SLR design shift knob, designo piano lacquer black wood trim, silver colour AIRSCARF vent, chrome door sill plate, chrome draught strap, floor mat with Grand Edition logo, ashtray with Grand Edition logo. Other options include AMG sport package.

Japan model went on sale in 2011-08-05.[20]


Model Years Displacement Type/code Power @ rpm Torque @ rpm
SL 280 2008–2009 3.0 L (2,996 cc) V6 (M272) 231 PS (170 kW; 228 hp) @ 6000 300 N⋅m (221 lbf⋅ft) @ 2500–5000
SL 300 2009–2012
SL 350 2008–2012 3.5 L (3,498 cc) 316 PS (232 kW; 312 hp) @ 6500 360 N⋅m (266 lbf⋅ft) @ 6500
SL 500, SL 550 5.5 L (5,461 cc) V8 (M273) 388 PS (285 kW; 383 hp) @ 6000 530 N⋅m (391 lbf⋅ft) @ 2800–4800
SL 63 AMG 6.2 L (6,208 cc) V8 (M156) 525 PS (386 kW; 518 hp) @ 6800 630 N⋅m (465 lbf⋅ft) @ 5250
SL 600 2008–2009 5.5 L (5,513 cc) V12 BiTurbo (M275) 517 PS (380 kW; 510 hp) @ 5000 830 N⋅m (612 lbf⋅ft) @ 1900–3500
SL 65 AMG 2008–2012 6.0 L (5,980 cc) V12 BiTurbo (M275 AMG) 612 PS (450 kW; 604 hp) @ 4800–5100 1,000 N⋅m (738 lbf⋅ft) @ 2000–4000
SL 65 AMG Black Series 670 PS (493 kW; 661 hp) @ 5400 1,000 N⋅m (738 lbf⋅ft) @ 2200–4200


SL 63 AMG includes AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission, which included 'C' (Comfort), 'S' (Sport), 'S+' (Sport plus) and 'M' (Manual) modes, AMG DRIVE UNIT, Race Start launch control.


The SL 63 AMG engine was built in Mercedes-AMG.[21]


SL 500[edit]

In 2007, Mercedes created a 75 limited-edition 50th Anniversary SL 550s.[22] According to another article, Mercedes created 550 of these cars, all pewter in colour with burgundy leather, black ash wood trim, 18-inch double five-spoked wheels, and matching 50th Anniversary Edition luggage.[23]

SL 600[edit]

The SL 600 is the highest-powered version of the non-AMG SL-Class models. It uses a V12 engine which produced 493 hp (368 kW) and 590 ft⋅lbf (800 N⋅m) from 2003 through 2006 and was uprated to 510 hp (380 kW) and 612 ft⋅lbf (830 N⋅m) for 2007. It accelerates from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.7 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz. However Car and Driver[24] achieved extremely impressive acceleration test figures with 60 mph (97 km/h) achieved in just 3.6 seconds, 100 mph (161 km/h) in 8.6 seconds and a quarter mile run in 11.9 seconds at 120 mph (193 km/h). However, the article can be subject to speculation that the car's performance may have been tested after modifications were made to the vehicle itself, although none are mentioned, hence the impressive 0–60 mph (97 km/h) timing. Production of the SL 600 ended in 2009 leaving the SL 65 AMG as the only V12-engined R230 and R231.

SL 55 AMG / SL 63 AMG[edit]

The SL 55 AMG version was released in 2002. The SL 63 AMG version replaced it in 2008.

The new model has only slight visual differentiators, the most noticeable is the three-slat grille rather than the four-slat version used previously. The top speed is limited to 250 km/h (155 mph), but can be extended to 300 km/h (186 mph) for an additional cost.[25] The 6.2 litre V8 replaced the current engine for the 2009 model year. Upon release in 2002 this was for its time the fastest automatic car in the world. This was before the SLR Mclaren hit the market in 2003. Jeremy Clarkson owned one of the first SL 55 AMGs.[citation needed]

Mercedes engineers claimed that the SL 55 AMG could reach 208 mph if it was derestricted.

SL 65 AMG[edit]

The SL 65 AMG version offers 604 hp (450 kW) from its twin-turbocharged 5,980 cc V12 engine at 5500 rpm. It retailed for $179,720 as of 2005. Mercedes-Benz listed a 0–60 mph (97 km/h) time of 4.2 seconds on their official website,[26] though several road tests show that it actually takes under 4 seconds to reach 60 mph (97 km/h). Car and Driver achieved 60 mph (97 km/h) from a standstill in 3.6 seconds, 100 mph (161 km/h) in 7.5 seconds and recorded a quarter mile time of 11.6 seconds at 123 mph (198 km/h).[27]


  1. ^ Long, Brian (2015). Mercedes-Benz SL: R230 series 2001 to 2011. Veloce Publishing Ltd. p. 211. ISBN 9781845847470. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Steve Mattin appointed Design director at Avtovaz Lada - Car Design News".
  3. ^ "Designing a new SL". Archived from the original on 18 April 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  4. ^ "DPMAregister - Designs - Registerauskunft zum Design".
  5. ^ "Patent USD452460 - Surface configuration of a vehicle and/or toy".
  6. ^ "Mercedes-Benz SL review (2001-2008)". Archived from the original on 28 March 2014.
  7. ^ "The most Powerful Mercedes-Benz is Ready for Launch: World Premiere of the new SL 55 AMG at the IAA 2001". Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  8. ^ Tomalin, Peter (May 2006). "Mercedes-Benz SL350". Evo. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  9. ^ "2006 Mercedes Benz SL 55 AMG and SL 65 AMG". Top Speed. February 2006. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  10. ^ Strong, Dan (3 May 2006). "Mercedes SL500". Auto Express. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  11. ^ Tan, Paul (11 February 2008). "New 7-speed AMG Speedshift MCT debuts". Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  12. ^ "Mercedes-AMG GT S: Bernd Mayländers neues Safety-Car". 9 March 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  13. ^ Auto Express News Archived 13 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Neff, John (7 May 2008). "Time is Money: Mercedes-Benz reveals SL 63 AMG Edition IWC". Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  15. ^ "Limited edition model offered in cooperation with IWC Schaffhausen: SL 63 AMG Edition IWC: Exclusive AMG Roadster with Choice Interior Appointments and Compelling Technological Features". 7 May 2008. Archived from the original on 26 February 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  16. ^ Lavrinc, Damon (10 July 2008). "Monterey 2008: SL65 AMG Black Series in the flesh!". Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  17. ^ "Autoblog Directory". Autoblog.
  18. ^ "Mercedes-Benz unveils new 2011 SL550 Night Edition". Mercedes Benz. 11 January 2010.
  19. ^ Simona (13 February 2011). "2011 Mercedes SL Grand Edition". Top Speed.
  20. ^ メルセデス・ベンツSL クラス特別仕様車: 「SL 350 Grand Edition」「SL 550 Grand Edition」を発売 Archived 13 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine: High-revving design plus large displacement: naturally aspirated V8 made by Mercedes-AMG". 10 March 2008. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  22. ^ [1] Archived 21 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Neff, John (8 May 2006). "Happy 50th 300SL". Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  24. ^ "Mercedes-Benz SL600 - - Car and Driver - March 2004". Archived from the original on 17 February 2007.
  25. ^ [2] Archived 8 March 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "VANOS". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  27. ^ "2005 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG". Car and Driver. Retrieved 9 April 2018.



  • Holmes, Mark (2007). Ultimate Convertibles: Roofless Beauty. London: Kandour. pp. 96–99. ISBN 978-1-905741-62-5.
  • Long, Brian (2015). Mercedes-Benz SL R230 Series 2001 to 2011. Dorchester, Dorset, UK: Veloce Publishing. ISBN 9781845847470.
  • Pitt, Colin, ed. (2009). Mercedes-Benz SL & SLR: The story of the W129 Mercedes-Benz SL, the W230 Mercedes-Benz SL and the SLR McLaren Road Cars and the SLR McLaren 722 GT Race Car. Hockley, Essex, UK: C P Press. ISBN 9781841557533.

External links[edit]

Press kit: