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2012 Mercedes SL – the aluminium supercar

Wed, 23 Nov 2011

2012 Mercedes SL - it's got a lot of aluminium

It’s perhaps a step too far to describe the 2012 Mercedes SL as an aluminium supercar, but there is no doubt the 2012 SL will be a super car, and that it gets made from aluminium instead of steel. And the 2012 SL 63 AMG will undoubtedly be in the supercar league.

Just like Jaguar, Mercedes sees the liberal use of aluminium as a cost-effective way to make its cars both lighter and more rigid.

They’re using a combination of chill cast, vacuum cast, extruded and stamped aluminium to make the new SL, making the next generation SL 140kg lighter than the current SL (about an average American) and 20 per cent more rigid.

In fact Mercedes say that they measured the new SL against the current Jaguar XK, and that the XK’s body stiffness registered 16,000Nm of torsional deflection per degree, whilst the SL managed 20,000Nm. Which sounds 25 per cent stiffer to us.

The only bits of the new SL body which aren’t made of aluminium are the pedestrian-safe plastic nose, the magnesium bulkhead and tubular steel A-pillars and header rails, where steel has been used to ensure maximum rollover protection.

On the ‘Toys’ front, Mercedes has really gone to town on the new SL. There’s a new audio bass system – FrontBass - built in to the footwells that uses the SL’s chassis as a resonance chamber.

There’s Magic Vision Control which sends water along the wiper blades to wash the windscreen, uses less water in Summer than Winter and even has a ‘Cabriolet’ mode, where it uses water on the downstroke of the wiper blades so there’s no water splashing in to the open cabin.

We’ll doubtless be getting more on the 2012 SL ahead of its debut at Detroit in January, including more news on the rest of the ‘Magic’ systems on the SL – including the electrochromatic Magic Roof – and proper photos of the new SL in the flesh.

(23 photos – click any thumbnail for full gallery)

By Cars UK