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Mercedes-Benz in high gear

Hopes to sell more cars; will introduce new models

German carmaker Mercedes-Benz expects the luxury car market to post double-digit growth and reach 18,000 to 20,000 vehicles in 2012.

Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz brand is expected to grow by 15 per cent to 6,000 vehicles. Last month the German brand sold more than 700 vehicles in Thailand, up 57 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Apart from launching the new SL roadster launched last week, Mercedes-Benz also plans to introduce more new models, including the new A-Class subcompact later this year.

The SL 500 BlueEfficiency Sports AMG Roadster is priced at Bt14.499 million, and is targeted at the growing sports car market. The SL 350 is also being offered, but the final price has not been set.

"The new SL has been produced for the first time almost entirely from aluminum and the lighter weight proves superior to its predecessor in steel construction, agility and smooth handling and provides better consumption, which has all been taken to an entirely new level," said Mercedes-Benz (Thailand) president and CEO Alexander Paufler.

Less weight means more dynamism and less consumption. The new SL 500 (1,785 kilograms) weighs around 125kg less than its predecessor and the SL 350 (1,685kg) is 140kg lighter.

The SL 500's new V8 power plant develops 320 kW (435hp) from its displacement of 4,663cc -around 12 per cent more than its predecessor. The fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 22 per cent. Torque, meanwhile, has increased from 530Nm to 700Nm - a gain of 32 per cent. Although the displacement remains the same at 3,498cc, the new V6 engine in the new SL 350 develops 225 kW (306hp) and delivers 370Nm of torque. It uses just 6.8-7.5 litres of fuel per 100 kilometers or 13.3-14.7 km/litre, making it almost 30 per cent more economical than its predecessor. Both engine variants also come with a standard-fit ECO start/stop function.

The SL 350 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds, while the SL 500 takes just 4.6 seconds.

Compared to its predecessor, the new SL is much longer (50mm more - 4,617mm) and wider (57mm more - 1,877mm), providing more interior room and more comfort. Three colours for the ambient lighting can be individually selected via the multifunction steering wheel.

The bi-xenon headlamps are set well at the outside flank and the striking front end comes with the Intelligent Light System (ILS). Five different lighting functions are tailored to typical driving and weather conditions, offering a much better illuminated field of vision.

The new SL also features the Keyless-Go Comfort package, including such functions as hands-free access and remote boot-lid closing in which the boot lid can be automatically unlocked and opened when the user places one foot beneath the bumper.

Other goodies include the panoramic vario-roof operated by a hydraulic system, which converts the SL into a roadster or a coupé in only 20 seconds. It also features Magic Sky Control functions, available only in the SL 500 BlueEfficiency Sports AMG Roadster, which changes the transparency of the roof at the touch of a button.



Special features

The SL also comes with two world premieres - Magic Vision Control and Front Bass system

_ Magic Vision Control is a new highly efficient wipe/wash system. The water fluid is

dispensed immediately in front of the windscreen wiper blade. This improves driver vision and at the same time cleans the windscreen perfectly.

_ The Front Bass system uses the free spaces in the aluminium structure in front of the footwell as resonance spaces for the bass loudspeakers. As a result the new SL features clear, crisp bass sounds that make a concert hall ambience possible even with the top down; this also frees up space in the doors.


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