Mercedes-Benz seems to be on a roll this year, with another new model introduced, this time the new 2009 SL-Class. A new baseline model joins the SL family – the SL280, which like the CLS280 is powered by a 3.0 litre V6 putting out 231 horsepower. The SL350’s 3.5 litre V6 now has an increased power output of 316 horsepower and a higher redline of 7,200rpm, while the SL500 and SL600 retains the previous cars engine.
The 7G-Tronic 7-speed automatic transmission which is standard on all SL-Class models now simulates double-declutching, which sounds great on downshifts and is easier on the transmission as it matches the rotational speeds of the crank and the tranny before engaging the gear.
New to the SL is the Direct Steer system which is also found in the new CLC. It is based on the familiar speed-sensitive power steering system. New features include a variable rack ratio, which adjusts in line with the steering angle, increasing sharply as soon as this reaches five degrees. It is quite like BMW’s Active Steering, which can take some getting used to at the beginning because the steering ratio is not constant. Active Body Control (ABC) compensates pitch, roll and yaw on the part of the body and adapts the suspension settings automatically to suit the current driving situation.
If you look at the shots of the interior after the jump, you will notice two little fans integrated into the back of each front seat’s headrest. This is the AIRSCARF system, which is a neck-level heating system which sucks in air behind the headrests and channels it through an electric heating element for rapid heating. This air then flows out of special openings in front of the headrests, thus warming the occupants necks, like a scarf. This is of course for the comfort of open top winter driving.
More photos after the jump.