Mercedes-Benz Malaysia officially launched the all-new Mercedes-Benz SL this afternoon at their pavilion in Matrade KL (just opposite the humble booth of our sister site, check us out!) where the Asia Klasika 2012 event will be held this Sunday. The sixth-gen SL was unveiled to the media with the its five gorgeous ancestors as backdrop, showcasing a rich heritage that began 60 years ago.

More of the classics later. The new SL was unveiled late last year before making its world debut at NAIAS 2012 in Detroit. As with previous SL generations, this one debuts new tech from Mercedes.

The folding metal top convertible, which is now longer (+50 mm) and wider (+57 mm), has for the first time been produced almost entirely from aluminium, and it weighs up to 140 kg less than its predecessor. The body shell alone is 110 kg lighter than if it was made with steel.

The all-aluminium body is credited for the claimed “agile, sporty handling that has been taken to an entirely new level, coupled with exemplary roll characteristics and ride comfort.”

Other drive-improving measures include aluminium for the steering knckles and spring links on the front axle, plus all the wheel location components on the rear axle. The SL also features ABC (Active Body Control) active suspension and a new electromechanical Direct-Steer variable ratio, speed-senstive steering system.

The SL350 BlueEfficiency (our only choice for now) is powered by a 3,499 cc V6 engine with 306 hp and 370 Nm of torque, available from 3,500 to 5,250 rpm. This naturally aspirated direct injection unit, now with ECO Start/Stop, is said to be 30% more economical than its predecessor.

Paired to Merc’s 7G-Tronic gearbox, it does 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds, which is 0.3 sec faster than before. Top speed is, as usual, limited to 250 km/h.

Like its predecessor, the new SL’s roof folds neatly into the boot for top-down motoring, but the new car comes with a panoramic vario roof with Magic Sky Control. Basically, the transparent roof switches to “light” or “dark” at the push of a button. When “light” it is virtually transparent, offering an open-air experience while being protected from the elements. In “dark” the roof provides shade and prevents the cabin from heating up.

By the way, the frame of the roof is made of magnesium, which saves six kilos, providing a lower centre of gravity. The operating mechanism has been refined and it now takes less than 20 seconds to open or close it.

Other new tech include Magic Vision Control (applies washer fluid on the blade instead of splashing it on the windscreen), Frontbass (uses free space in the aluminium structures in front of the footwell as resonance spaces for the bass speakers) and Hands-Free Access, where one kicks the car’s bottom to open the boot. Not new, but Merc’s version allows kick-to-close as well.

Active Parking Assist can steer the car into a parallel parking space, while COMAND offers Bluetooth telephony and internet access on the 800 X 480 pixel TFT screen on the dashboard, between the central air vents.

There’s more. Mercedes says that the new SL is best in class in terms of drag coefficient (0.27 Cd), wind noise (on par with a saloon), high-speed top down comfort and no accumulation of dirt on the side windows.

The new Mercedes-Benz SL350 is priced at RM898,888. Live gallery from the event is after the jump. Click here for Merc’s official image gallery.