The Mercedes-Benz SL-class was long the stalwart of the hedge fund manager with a flair for easy open-top motoring, the retired former business owner who needed to get to a country club, and, oh yeah, the V8. At least here in America. But the world is very different now, which brings us the new Mercedes-Benz SL400.
Mercedes last offered a V6 SL in 1998, when the SL320 left the US market. When the hardtop convertible SLs debuted with the R320 model in 2001, no six-cylinder models were to be had over here. Cars like the SL350 continued over in Europe, though, probably because Mercedes wanted to maintain an image of prestige over here, or something, because you can only have prestige if your car has eight cylinders.
The Mercedes SL400, which is set to replace the SL350, is going to be coming to America in the fall, Mercedes told Autoblog. It won't be replacing the older SL550, but rather supplanting it.
And despite having only six pistons, Mercedes won't let SL400 owners languish on the vine. That's because it's got two turbos as well.
The turbos help the 3.0-liter V6 put out 333 horsepower in the Euro-spec model, which should be good for acceleration of 5.2 seconds to 60 miles per hour.
Which should be more than adequate.
But while we're talking about a new Mercedes for old people and how it's got six cylinders and twin turbos and blah blah blah that's all very nice, the truth is that it's hard not to see an influence from another carmaker here.
When one of the most prestigious cars in America can have no pistons at all and still manage to do well, suddenly the old paradigm of "Americans will only buy luxury when it comes with a V8" goes out the window.
Good on Mercedes for realizing that.
Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz