Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (2002–2008)
Price announced: SL500: £67,790.
In response to the official launch of the Lexus SC430, Daimler-Chrysler pulled the wraps off its stunning new R230 SL. This, too, has folding aluminium hard top, like that of the SLK, Peugeot 206CC and Lexus SC430.
Engines were a 306bhp V8 for the SL500, in the UK from April 2002, followed later in 2002 by the SL55 AMG. The most status you can buy in a car. (For the ultimate version see SL 55 AMG.)
SL350 available in the UK. Has 3,724cc V6 developing 245bhp at 5,750rpm and 350Nm torque at 3,000 - 4,500rpm hooked up to six speed Sequentronic semi-automatic with steering wheel pushbutton changes.
Gets to 60mph in 6.9 seconds; goes on to limited top speed of 155mph and standard versions will cost £56,340. Combined mpg: 24.6; CO2 276g/km. Awesome 500hp twin-turbo 6 litre V12 to arrive spring 2004 with same 500bhp, 600lb ft torque twin turbo V12 as CL600, priced at around £90k.
SL range revised and vastly improved for 2006 with new engines and transmissions and improved handling and trim. Newly developed 5.5 litre SL500 has output of 285 kW/388 hp and 530 Nm of torque. 0 to 60 in 5.2 seconds, 23.2 mpg combined. SL 350 offers 200 kW/272 hp and 27.4 mpg. 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds.
SL 600 has 5.5 litre V12 biturbo engine offering 380 kW/517 hp and 830 Nm torque 0 to 60mph in just 4.3 seconds.
V6 and V8s have 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission as standard. 7G-TRONIC Sport (available as an optional extra) allows shifting to be performed up to 30 percent faster in manual "M" mode; furthermore and features steering-wheel shift paddles..