The new Mercedes-Benz SL500 has an array of new features and, compared to its predecessor, is quite an upgrade. It has been produced almost entirely from aluminium which provides the basis for agile, sporty handling and exemplary roll characteristics and ride comfort.NEW FEATURESBetter driving dynamics come courtesy of the new direct petrol injection engine in the car. The engine is more powerful yet at the same time up to 22% more economical than the V8 in the outgoing generation. Other new features include the unique Frontbass system, which turns the luxury sports car into a concert hall regardless of whether the top is open or closed, and the windscreen wipe/wash system that supplies water from the wiper blades to the windscreen – as required and depending on the direction of wipe.IMAGE GALLERY!Eckart Mayer, vice-president for sales and marketing for Mercedes-Benz SA said: “There are millions of cars in the world and thousands of different models, but there are only a handful of automotive icons. The SL is one of them: it has class, it has style, it has superb levels of comfort and luxury, and it blends all of this with unbelievable sportiness and dynamism.”LIGHTER, MORE RIGIDMayer added: “The new aluminium bodyshell weighs around 110kg less than it would using the steel technology from the predecessor. The result is perceptible and measurable, as less weight means more dynamism and less consumption.”The powerful engines and the sportily tuned suspension combination proves outstanding performance. The car is available with two different suspension systems: the SL features semi-active adjustable damping as standard and the optional active suspension system ABC (Active Body Control) is available as an alternative.Both suspension variants are combined with a new electromechanical Direct-Steer system featuring speed-sensitive power steering and a ratio that can be varied across the steering wheel angle. The new V8 in the SL 500 develops 320kW from its displacement of 4663cc and thus around 12% more than its predecessor despite some 0.8 litres less displacement. The fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 22%. At the same time, the torque has increased from 530Nm to 700Nm – a gain of 32%. SL DESIGNThe long bonnet gives way to a compact passenger compartment which is set well back and a wide tail end provides the finishing touch. Five different lighting functions that are tailored to typical driving and weather conditions, and are activated depending on the driving situation, offer the driver a better illuminated field of vision. Vario-roof: MAGIC SKY CONTROL as an optionThe sixth generation of the SL also offers a vario-roof that can be retracted into the boot using an electrohydraulic mechanism, which converts the SL in a few seconds into a roadster or a coupé, depending on the driver’s wishes and the weather. SAFEST ROADSTER?Thanks to the crash-optimised aluminium structure, standard-fit PRE-SAFE® and assistance systems on the same high level as the S-Class, the SL is the world’s safest roadster, according to Mercedes.If it recognises there is a risk of an accident, it reacts by activating preventive measures to protect the occupants.PRICES:SL 500 - R1 635 000SL 63 AMG* - R2 120 000SL 65 AMG* - R2 621 000As with all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the SL range comes standard with a six-year or 120 000 km MobiloDrive maintenance package.