New Mercedes-Benz SL to use aluminum to cut weightWed, 23 Nov 2011 00:00:00 -0800
The next Mercedes-Benz SL coupes will get more power, less weight and a few neat tricks, including features named Magic Vision Control and FrontBass. We'll get our first look at the new car at the Detroit auto show in January.
A few journalists were invited to take a sneak peak at the car during the Los Angeles auto show, but pictures and video weren't allowed.
What we do know is that the car will have a shell made almost entirely out of aluminum. This cuts 242 pounds off the body, while total weight savings over the previous year's model will total more than 300 pounds. Magnesium and high-strength steel make up the rest of the shell. The body will stay rigid, according to Mercedes, with components optimized for each specific task. Some parts are made by chill casting, some by die casting, and all are worked to be just strong enough for the application.
A variety of joining techniques are used, including welding, hemming, bonding, bolting and riveting. The result, according to Mercedes, is high rigidity, high safety and low vibration.
Magic Vision Control is a windshield-washer system that sprays water through the wipers just in front of the blade for maximum effect. Drivers won't see a little water splash every time they spray.
The FrontBass system puts speakers in the free space in the front footwell as opposed to the doors. The speakers use the footwell as resonance space. The company says this results in clearer sound whether the top is up or down.
Check out the new body shell in the gallery. We expect more pictures and information on the SL to come out before the Detroit show.
By Jake Lingeman