• Mercedes-Benz intends serious SL weight loss with next generation R232 SL by going back to the cloth top

      Mercedes-Benz managed to cut a fairly large 242 pounds off the SL-Class with the current R231 generation car. The R230 generation it replaced was the first SL with the a convertible hardtop which caused significant weight gain to the point the SL weighed more than the E-Class sedan. Mercedes seems to want to get even more aggressive with the weight loss by potentially ditching the convertible hardtop the last two generations of SL have employed.

      SL does stand for 'Sport Lightweight' or at least it used to. A soft top would save close to an additional 200 pounds although then the problems with noise and leaking come back. That said, the R232 SL would be much sportier with so much weight removed especially from a high center of gravity location.

      Mercedes also intends to pass these weight savings on to the SLK which is expected to based on the SL platform. That means similar mechanisms for the tops and a similar chassis. It is a cost cutting measure, clearly, but it may result in making both Mercedes roadsters more fun to drive.

      This is speculation based on a report from German publication AutoBild without any official Mercedes support. For all we know Mercedes will retain the hard top and try to lose weight with carbon fiber, plastics, and aluminum. What we do know for sure is the SLK and SL will share a platform but considering we will not see these next generation cars until six years or so from now a whole lot can change.



      This article was originally published in forum thread: Mercedes-Benz intends serious SL weight loss with next generation R232 SL by going back to the cloth top started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 6 Comments
      1. Jacob502's Avatar
        Jacob502 -
        smart move. I like this approach. They should offer it both with the soft convertible and without. Anything away from the hard top
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Hard tops I feel are here to stay. The SL has become more GT and that's fine. The upcoming GT or SLC will be more of a sports car.

        The next SL is so far off who knows what will happen.
      1. Bozo954's Avatar
        Bozo954 -
        I don't know. Personally, MB having introduced hardtops with the 1990s SLK - I think, kinda partial to hard-top convertibles, so having a choice would be nice. (Don't ask why Click here to enlarge. )

        On the other hand, are we not far enough along technologically - especially to Sticky's point (next gen is years away) - that other hard materials can be used...........aluminum, carbon fiber maybe? Or some combination of lighter stuff?

        You know, essentially the same material(s) used to lessen the weight of the overall vehicle platform, the next gen C-Class for example?

        Not to mention, I can recall a couple/few years ago when better steel was introduced............10% stronger/7% lighter - or vice versa. (Can't remember).

        Point being, those new steels are always being developed, so by the next SL, who knows? Oh well, we shall see.
      1. leveraged sellout's Avatar
        leveraged sellout -
        Not sure how I feel about this. There's quite a bit that could be done to the car to drop weight that doesn't involve nixing it's now trademark feature - albeit not cheaply. They don't make much use of carbon in the current car, and I don't even know if the unibody is all-aluminum. Just doing those two things could shave quite a bit of weight and add stiffness. However, I trust that Mercedes will figure it out. Just would hate to give up that gorgeous (and rock-solid) metal roof. An even lighter SL is nice though.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by leveraged sellout Click here to enlarge
        Not sure how I feel about this. There's quite a bit that could be done to the car to drop weight that doesn't involve nixing it's now trademark feature - albeit not cheaply. They don't make much use of carbon in the current car, and I don't even know if the unibody is all-aluminum. Just doing those two things could shave quite a bit of weight and add stiffness. However, I trust that Mercedes will figure it out. Just would hate to give up that gorgeous (and rock-solid) metal roof. An even lighter SL is nice though.
        I seriously doubt this report. I'd bet on it having a convertible hard top.
      1. leveraged sellout's Avatar
        leveraged sellout -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        I seriously doubt this report. I'd bet on it having a convertible hard top.
        I'm really hoping so...if they made it out of CF it would hardly weigh anything. They should do that. Would be worth the cost.