It’s amazing the kind of responses you get when behind the wheel of Mercedes-Benz’s latest SL350 coupe. Starting life 60 years ago with the ‘SL’ nomenclature first glued on the iconic 300, commonly referred to as the Gullwing these days, the German automaker began a steady stream of wider and heavier iterations that went on to define luxury drop-top driving.
And into its sixth incarnation, little doubt is left over how significant the model is to the automaker considering the level of improvements in the performance, finishing and technology departments.
Old world, reborn
It only seems apt for Mercedes-Benz to have built what has to arguably be the best SL in the last 20 years.
At first glance the new model would almost certainly send people scrambling to either side of the fence but for anyone taking the time to examine the details, this is the truest form to the original that we’ve seen from the German automaker since the evolution of the model began in the 1960s. In our view, the story of the new SL begins a little earlier…
Harking back to the 1950s, a single imposing grill now stands guard at the front of the car, while the air outlets slot into the body work behind the front wheel arches, thus cutting a clearer connection to the original.
A traditional long bonnet with a short rear overhang sets the ground for this redesign, which finds the bonnet longer, and the car on a whole, slightly wider; improving both the stance and the handling of the car around corners.
With the flat nose seeming to dominate the design language at Mercedes-Benz these days, the SL350 seems to have softer curves that give the car an almost bulbous appearance in profile, especially when you’ve got the roof up.