The Incredible and Rich History of Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster
As a brand, Mercedes-Benz has produced some of the most iconic cars the world has ever seen. They have been the leaders of the automotive world in almost every type of car they have produced, whether it’s a sedan, an SUV, or even a two-seater roadster. When we talk about roadsters, there are only a handful of cars that can match the class and the prestige of the Mercedes-Benz SL.
A roadster is a type of car that is a rear-wheel drive with an engine at the front. It also has a foldable roof and only two seats for a sporty experience.
History of the SL-Class
Despite being one of the most iconic roadsters of all time, the SL came into existence as a coupe. The SL can trace its roots back to the 300 SL that was introduced to the world back in 1954. The 300 SL is considered to be one of the best cars ever made in the history of the automotive world, and it definitely makes the top 5 list of greatest Mercedes-Benz cars ever. The 300 SL is famous for its mesmerizing “gullwing” doors that open upwards. The coupe version of the car was in production for three years— between 1954 and 1957.
The First Generation
In 1957, Mercedes-Benz introduced the roadster version of the 300 SL, which would properly initiate the SL-Class. The roadster featured the same engine as its predecessor, which was a 3.0 L inline-5, but it made slightly more horsepower. Another smaller roadster by the name of 190 SL was also produced simultaneously, which would mark the end of the first generation in 1963.
The Second Generation
The production of the second generation of the SL began in 1963 with a brand new model, the 230 SL. It featured a smaller 2.3 L inline-6 engine that was mechanically injected with fuel. Alongside the 230 SL, Mercedes-Benz also introduced the 250 SL and the 280 SL. They had slightly bigger engines that produced more horsepower.
The Third Generation
The third generation of the SL had the longest span— over 15 years. Many consider it to be the most beautiful SL ever made. The last model of the third generation was the 560 SL, which featured a massive 5.6 L V8.
The Fourth Generation
The fourth generation of the SL featured a long list of models that featured different engines. However, it is most famous for its AMG variant, which was absolutely crazy. The SL73 AMG featured a gigantic 7.3 L V12 engine that produced 518 HP.
The Fifth Generation
The fifth generation of the SL was introduced in 2002 and it lasted till 2011. The roadster had a variety of different models, but one variant really stood out among them all. It was the SL65 AMG Black Series. It featured a massive 6.0 L BiTurbo V12 that produced 661 HP. It is still the most powerful SL ever made.
The Sixth and Current Generation
The sixth and current generation of the iconic SL-Class was introduced in 2011. It received a facelift in 2017, which included some major changes to the design and transmission. According to some rumors, it is the last generation to feature a V12 engine. However, no official word is out yet from Mercedes-Benz or AMG.