Mercedes-Benz SL500 (Old)

     The SL500 is a very useable, well-rounded sports car

    Published on Dec 10, 2009 08:00:00 AM


     With a massive kerb weight of 1840kg, you would expect the SL to have a serious weight penalty. Drive it for even a few metres and it’s hard to believe how light the SL actually is. It’s all got to do with that sumptuous five-litre V8 stuffed under the hood. A low-stressed, three-valves per cylinder wih a modest 6000rpm redline. 

    Pushing out a substantial 306bhp and an even more impressive 46.9kgm of torque, the SL’s true skills lie in its dual character. Delve into just a wee bit of the travel of the perfectly sprung accelerator pedal and the beast remains asleep, deep in slumber. 
    The power lies in reserve for when you want to drive. And like the Smith & Wesson ad emotes, all you need to know what to do — is squeeze. The soft burble from the V8 now attains a harder edge and the muted growl from under the long hood tells you to hang on. Floor the right pedal down hard, beyond the first ‘stop’, and the SL immediately kicks down a couple of gears to unleash nothing short pure velvet-lined savagery –the speedo needle sweeping effortlessly into the last quarter of the dial. The throttle response is sharp and instantaneous and anything above 2500rpm produces a shove that presses your cheeks back. 
    The numbers spat out by our timing gear showed that the SL reached 100kph in 7.54sec and 200kph in 26.82sec. Easily, the fastest car we’ve tested on Indian soil. Max speed is ‘limited’ to 255kph by Mercedes and though we didn’t find the space to hit the speed limiter, the unrelenting pace of the SL left us in no doubt that it would be good for another 20kph if the engine was unrestricted. 
    Big V8 plus big kerb weight plus big attitude mean fuel efficiency is bound to go south. Even our regular highway cycle failed to haul the average up above 7.3kpl. The city cycle was a thirsty 4.3kpl and the worst recorded figure was 3.3kpl at the test track, enough to keep pump owners smiling for years.

    Copyright (c) Autocar India. All rights reserved.


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