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AMG Market | Mercedes-Benz Enthusiasts
Date: February 20, 2001
MERCEDES-BENZ INTRODUCES SILVER ARROW SL500 AND SL600
Special Limited Editions Commemorate a Long Heritage of Silver Arrow Racing Cars
MONTVALE, NJ – Mercedes-Benz USA is launching the SL Silver Arrow Collectors’ Editions, commemorating a long lineage of successful Mercedes-Benz sports cars and Grand Prix racing cars. These limited-production, 2002-model SL-Class Roadsters will be available in April, 2001. The Silver Arrow name was coined in the 1930s when, at one race, a Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix machine weighed in at 4.5 pounds over the racing class 1,653-pound (750kg) weight limit. The team’s creative solution was to strip the racer of all its white paint, which not only pared the necessary weight, it exposed a shining silver aluminum skin. Since then, Mercedes-Benz prototype and Grand Prix racers have all been known as “Silver Arrows.”
Available in both the SL500 and SL600 models, each SL Silver Arrow Edition comes with a generous package of special equipment. Both models receive Silver Arrow ultra-metallic paint; fully-lined black soft top; brushed aluminum instrument cluster; black bird’s eye maple wood trim; and aluminum trim on the wind deflector, shift gate, pedals, grille and trunk lid. In addition, unique mechanical componentry includes new multipiece, six-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels; factory-drilled brake rotors front and rear; Xenon headlights; a six-disc CD changer; and an aluminum briefcase delivery kit. Inside, Silver Arrow SL500s feature two-tone leather upholstery in silver and black for both seats and door panels and leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob. Silver Arrow SL600s receive black leather upholstery with silver perforations, a combination leather/black bird’s eye maple steering wheel and shift knob, plus a Panorama hardtop and multicontour seats.
The SL500 is powered by a 5.0-liter Mercedes-Benz V8 with 302 hp and 339 lbs.-ft. of torque, helping accelerate the roadster to 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds. The SL600 offers the unmistakable refinement of 12 cylinders, plus the legendary 6.0-liter V12 makes the SL600 a towering performer, reaching 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds. This SL-Class Roadster, which traces its own roots to the racing-derived 1954 300SL Gullwing, has become a modern classic.
Neither Shaken Nor Stirred – V8 and V12 Power That Set Benchmarks For Refinement
Technical sophistication has always been a hallmark of the SL-Class, and the 2002 models continue that tradition. An advanced, all-aluminum 5.0-liter V8 in the SL500 develops its high power output of 302 horsepower while operating at remarkably clean emissions levels. The SL500’s engine uses a twin-spark/three-valve-per-cylinder arrangement that produces excellent power with very low emissions. Two intake valves are accompanied by one large exhaust valve per cylinder, which makes room for two spark plugs per cylinder. Both spark plugs fire upon each stroke, but alternate sequence (depending on rpm, load and other parameters) to maximize combustion. Advanced engine management orchestrates those events, and a dual-path intake manifold boosts torque at low engine speeds. The engine’s torque peak of 339 lbs.-ft. is sustained from 2,700 to 4,250 rpm. The result is quicker response at all engine speeds and remarkable acceleration.
Mated to a smart five-speed adaptive automatic transmission, the SL500 rushes from 0-60 mph in just 6.1 seconds, yet, even while offering this kind of high performance, qualifies under strict testing as a California Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV), and performs at Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) levels.
The limited-production SL600 roadster is one of the world’s few V12-powered automobiles. Producing 389 horsepower and 420 lbs.-ft. of torque, its aluminum 6.0-liter, DOHC, 48-valve engine makes that rarity worthwhile. Unique intake manifolds for both cylinder banks also use large plenums that help boost torque, and lead to individual runners that feed each cylinder. Along with all the luxury the SL600 provides, it can sprint from 0-60 mph in a mere 5.9 seconds in comfort, thanks to the unique natural balance of its V12 engine.
Mercedes’ acclaimed electronic five-speed automatic transmission in both the SL500 and SL600 not only adapts to changes in road grade (delaying upshifts on ascents for climbing power and hastening downshifts on descents for engine braking), but also meshes with an individual’s driving style in fully automatic mode. The computer adjusts shifting logic during leisurely driving with smooth upshifts for the best fuel efficiency. A driver who requires frequent highway merging, on the other hand, will find the transmission holds each gear longer for quicker acceleration. In addition, the Mercedes “Winter” switch engages second gear from a standstill and instructs the transmission to upshift at lower engine speeds, enhancing traction in slick conditions.
Tele Aid Contact Is Standard
The Tele Aid system on both SL models provides both convenience and emergency services at the touch of a button through a special cellular connection. Tele Aid offers three distinct services. For emergency help, there’s an “SOS” button above the rear-view mirror. Pushing the SOS button will immediately establish voice contact with ATX – a provider contracted by Mercedes-Benz – which can dispatch local police or other emergency services. This also transmits crucial information including the precise location of the vehicle (through GPS tracking), the model of car, and its color (to help emergency services locate the car quickly). If a collision deploys any airbag, the system automatically establishes contact with ATX, relaying all pertinent information. If voice contact is not established (e.g., the driver is unable to respond), local police, fire or emergency services can also be dispatched. The onboard transmitter is crash-secure and has access to redundant antennae.
Tele Aid includes two other features, both accessed from inside the center console. One button marked with the symbol of a wrench puts the client in contact with Mercedes-Benz Roadside Assistance. Another button marked with the letter “i” connects users with the Mercedes-Benz Client Assistance Center, a facility that can answer product-related questions about the car. For example, the driver can request help with details on the audio system or cellular telephone.
A fourth benefit of Tele Aid is vehicle theft tracking, which can actually help authorities locate the car once the owner reports it stolen. Tele Aid eliminates the need to dial a phone number, use a cellular access code, juggle a handset or locate street names during an emergency. Mercedes-Benz is the first manufacturer to make emergency calling like this a standard feature. Moreover, the standard Tele Aid system does not require that the client purchase a cellular phone or service; it operates on its own cellular system.
Tops in Safety and Security
Mercedes-Benz continues to lead the industry in safety technology, having pioneered such features as the safety cell body structure, supplemental restraint systems (SRS), anti-lock brakes and traction control. All Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles come equipped with ABS anti-lock brakes, dual front airbags and door-mounted side airbags.
The 2002 SL-Class models benefit from what is arguably the largest array of safety technology in the segment. Since an open car can leave its occupants vulnerable in a rollover, Mercedes-Benz met the challenge with the world’s first automatic roll bar. Normally part of the interior’s rear-compartment surround structure, the padded, leather-covered bar pops up, locking in place in a third of a second if sensors detect an impending rollover. The driver can also raise and lower the bar manually by a switch on the console.
The shoulder belts are integrated directly into the seats for greater occupant protection, especially in roll-overs. The Mercedes SL was the first car with door-mounted side airbags, which were made standard for 1996 models. They’re part of the Supplemental Restraint System, which includes dual front airbags and emergency tensioning retractors that tighten the seat belts in a collision.
The extraordinary Electronic Stability Program (ESP) can actually help prevent skids and slides. This breakthrough safety system helps drivers maintain directional stability, especially on slippery or gravel-covered roads, by preventing oversteer (rear-end “fishtailing”) or understeer (front-end “plowing”). ESP can sense impending loss of control, at the front or rear end, and momentarily apply the brake on one wheel to restore stability, something that even a skilled driver cannot do.
The ESP system also incorporates standard ASR straight-line traction control, which helps ensure stable traction on slippery road surfaces, whether caused by rain, snow or even gravel or sand. In addition, all Mercedes-Benz models come equipped with Brake Assist, the first system in the auto industry proven to reduce stopping distances in emergency braking situations. Brake Assist can detect an emergency or “panic” stop by how quickly the brake pedal is applied and then, with lightning speed, apply full braking force faster than a driver could.
Craftsmanship Outside And Inside
Both SL500 and SL600 Silver Arrow editions benefit from hand craftsmanship inside, with machined aluminum shift gates and Nappa leather upholstery and Nappa leather interior trim. In the SL600, that leather is also used on the door panels and instrument panel. Both models feature radio/cassette head units that employ fiber optics and integrate the controls for the portable digital telephone (optional on SL500). The non-Silver Arrow SL500 roadster receives 8.5×18- and 9.5×18-inch AMG Monoblock alloy wheels. The non-Silver Arrow SL600 roadster receives 8.5×18- and 10.0×18-inch two-piece AMG wheels.
Two Seats, Two Roofs and Loaded with Luxury
The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Roadster is perhaps the best-equipped two-seater on the market. Touching one button retracts the high-quality canvas soft top completely out of sight into a compartment in front of the trunk. In addition, there’s a standard, easy-to-install aluminum hardtop that not only makes the SL a friendly wintertime companion, but also completely changes its look and feel to that of a coupe.
The extensive list of standard luxury equipment for the SL models includes: automatic climate-control with an electrostatic pollen/dust filter; Bose premium audio system; 10-way power seats; 3-position memory (for seats, tilt-telescopic steering wheel, shoulder-belt height and exterior mirrors); plus a standard rain sensor activates and controls the speed of the windshield wipers. The SL600 adds an adaptive damping system which automatically adjusts shock absorber firmness to suit driving conditions. Xenon headlamps, heated seats and a six-disc CD changer are standard on all SL600s and Silver Arrow SL500s, while they are grouped in an option package for the standard SL500.
The Mercedes-Benz SL celebrates a legacy of driving pleasure, trend-setting style and automobile romance that began in 1954 with the race car-inspired 300SL “Gullwing” coupe. The 300SL roadster followed in 1957, and the SL has evolved through four generations. With each generation, Mercedes has raised the bar on technology, performance and safety, but has always adhered to the timeless appeal of beautiful design. Perhaps that is why, when most people think about Mercedes-Benz, it is the SL they think of first.
— END Feb. 20, 2001 Press Release —