The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is a grand touring car manufactured by
Mercedes since 1954. The designation SL derives from the German
Super-Leicht, (English: Super Light). The original idea was
suggested by American importer Max Hoffman, who perceived a market
for a toned-down Gran Prix car tailored to affluent performance
enthusiasts in the booming post-war American market, which remains
the primary market for the vehicles.
The SL designation was first applied to the 300 SL, often referred
to as the "Gullwing" due to its gullwing or upward-opening
The term SL refers to the marketing variations of the vehicle,
including the numerous engine configurations spanning six design
The fifth generation SL was in production between 2001 and 2008.
The all-new SL (initially just a 5.0-litre SL 500 version) featured
a retractable hardtop (marketed as the Vario Roof) available on the
SLK since 1997. This featured a 5.0-litre 302 hp (225 kW) V8, with
a 5.4-litre AMG Supercharged V8 appearing in 2002's SL 55 AMG. V12
engines were available in the SL 600 and the limited-production SL
65 AMG. The SL 350 3.7-litre (3724 cc) 18-valve V6 245 hp was only
available in some markets. The R230 also features the ABC (active
body control) which offers the balance of comfort and handling;
this complex system uses accumulators and hydraulic fluids to
regulate the firmness and heights of the suspension. Newer model
years (2004+) feature the 7 speed transmission, which is superior
to the previous 5 speed transmission.