APR 07th 2014

Number’s up for Mercedes SL350

New SL400 downsizes displacement, ups performance

Bigger numbers are always better, right? The new entry-level Mercedes SL400 that replaces the SL350 has recently gone on sale in Germany, and is expected to arrive in UK showrooms in time for summer.

The nameplate may carry a bigger number but the displacement has gone down; 3.0 litres in the new car plays 3.5 in the outgoing model. The SL400’s V6 engine is already employed by the E400 convertible.

Thanks to the now increasingly de rigour twin turbochargers, though, the smaller unit produces bigger numbers: power is up by 27bhp to 333bhp and torque is now 354lb ft (an 81lb ft increase). Mercedes hasn’t relied solely on turbos. The technology geek-out within the engine includes spray-guided combustion, piezo injectors with up to five injections per stroke and multi-spark injection. Not that any of that will matter on a cruise on the Cote d’Azur.

Some of the SL’s numbers are now smaller. The new claimed 0-60mph time is 5.2sec and the economy claims are 39.2mpg and 172g/km of CO2. Top speed remains limited to the same 155mph.

The quick stuff hasn’t been forgotten in the year that Mercedes will be celebrating 120 years of motorsport at the Festival of Speed. If it’s performance you want, you’ll be heading straight to the AMG configurator. The news here is good. In a drive to increase production efficiency, the performance pack option for the SL63 is to be dropped and only one state of tune and only one state of tune will be offered. The new output of 577bhp trumps both current versions of the SL63.

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