The all-new Mercedes SL-Class will be unveiled sometime before 2012. Until then we are going to see lots of “preview” stuff like this.
We’ve already covered the initial details of the new SL and told you about its new windscreen washer nozzles, lightweight aluminum bodyshell, and the footwell-mounted subwoofers. Now though Mercedes released more details on these new features with emphasize on the lightweight body.
Turns out the new SL is going to be a totally different car than the current car. Looks-wise we’re not entirely sure it’s going in the right direction, things are not shaping up nicely to be honest. But technically, the car is going to be brilliant because the focus is on lightness and agility this time, and not just brute force.
The full aluminium bodyshell of this newly developed vehicle weighs around 110 kilograms less than a comparable bodyshell constructed with the technology used for its predecessor. It thus reduces the overall weight of the new SL by 140 kilograms compared to its predecessor. At the same time, the new generation of this luxury sport car can be converted into an open or a closed concert hall. This is thanks to the new bodyshell structure which makes possible the FrontBass system, unique in the world and also celebrating its debut. As a further world first, Mercedes-Benz is also presenting the highly effective MAGIC VISION CONTROL adaptive windscreen wipe/wash system.
The new-generation Mercedes-Benz SL takes the meaning of the letters “SL” – sporty, lightweight – very seriously. Consistent weight reduction is one of the most outstanding design results in the new SL as was the case in its namesake, the original SL of 1954. For the first time Mercedes-Benz implements a full aluminium bodyshell in large series production. Only very few components are made from other materials. The designers use the even lighter magnesium for the rear panel. High-strength steel tubing is integrated in the A-pillars.
The newly developed car weighs around 110 kilograms less than a comparable bodyshell constructed in analogous manner to the previous technology. “The effect is rather as if a heavyweight-class passenger had got out of the car and taken his heavy flight luggage, too” says Dr Thomas Rudlaff, responsible for the aluminium bodyshell at Mercedes-Benz. “The result is perceptible and measurable. Less weight means more dynamism and less consumption. In other words: the motoring enjoyment increases and the environmental burden sinks.”
In terms of rigidity, safety and comfort, the aluminium structure proves superior to the predecessor’s steel construction. This is achieved thanks, among other things, to its intelligent lightweight construction with components optimised for their specific task. Thus, diverse processes are used to make different kinds of aluminium depending on the use the component is to be given: the parts are made by chill casting or vacuum die casting, worked into extruded aluminium sections or into aluminium plates of different thicknesses. The result: high rigidity, high safety levels and low resonance and vibrations. The parts are assembled using diverse load-adequate joining methods, some of which are innovative processes. Secure joints are ensured for example, by MIG welding, hemming, bonding, flow hole bolting, self-piercing rivets or friction stir welding.