Η Mercedes πήγε στο Detroit την νέα SL-Class αλλά και τις υβριδικές E-Class μαζί με την θρυλική SL300 του 1952. Επίσης η Mercedes ανακοίνωσε στο περιθώριο της έκθεσης ότι θα κατασκευάζει από κοινού με την Renault Nissan κινητήρες στην Βόρειο Αμερική. Πρόκειται για τετρακύλινδρους κινητήρες οι οποίοι θα κατασκευάζονται από το 2014 στο εργοστάσιο του Decherd με στόχο τις 250.000 μονάδες ετησίως, με τους κινητήρες αυτούς να τοποθετούνται σε αυτοκίνητα της Mercedes και της Infiniti.
Η νέα ότι η νέα SL-Class ζυγίζει 140 κιλά λιγότερα από παλαιότερο μοντέλο, είναι κατά 20% πιο άκαμπτη και καταναλώνει έως 30% λιγότερο καύσιμο. Η αναδιπλούμενη οροφή διαθέτει πλαίσιο κατασκευασμένο από μαγνήσιο και ζυγίζει έτσι 6 κιλά λιγότερα από ότι ζυγίζει η οροφή της προηγούμενης γενιάς, μειώνοντας έτσι το κέντρο βάρους. Επιπλέον διαθέτει και την ηλεκτροχρωμική γυάλινη οροφή Magic Sky Control που πρωτοπαρουσιάστηκε στην SLK.
Το εσωτερικό της είναι εμπνευσμένο από την SLS μας λέει η Mercedes (SLK θα έλεγα εγώ) και διαθέτει υψηλής ποιότητας δερμάτινες επενδύσεις, ξύλινα και μεταλλικά διακοσμητικά. Οι αεραγωγοί είναι στρόγγυλης σχεδίασης, ο λεβιές του αυτόματου κιβωτίου είναι πολύ μικρός και καλαίσθητος ενώ υπάρχει και το νέο σύστημα ήχου Front Bass το οποίο θα έχει δύο woofer τοποθετημένα στα πόδια των επιβατών για να βελτιωθεί η ποιότητα ήχου στη καμπίνα.
Μηχανικά τώρα, η νέα SL-Class θα είναι διαθέσιμη με 2 κινητήρες. Η έκδοση SL350 φορά τον V6 3.5-λίτρων απόδοσης 306 ίππων με 370 Nm ροπής, με τα 0-100 χλμ/ώρα να τα κάνει σε 5.9 δευτ. με μέση κατανάλωση 6.8 λίτρα/100 χλμ. Ο δεύτερος κινητήρας είναι ο twin-turbo V8 4.7-λίτρων στην έκδοση SL500 απόδοσης 435 ίππων με 699 Nm ροπής με τα 0-100 χλμ/ώρα να τα κάνει σε 4.6 δευτ. Στο μέλλον θα παρουσιαστούν και οι εκδόσεις SL63 AMG και SL65 AMG, γι’αυτους που θέλουν γρηγορότερες εκδόσεις.
Επιπλέον η νέα SL-Class θα φορέσει το νέο σύστημα Magic Vision Control το οποίο ενσωματώνει τα ακροφύσια του συστήματος πλύσης του παρμπρίζ πάνω στους υαλοκαθαριστήρες έτσι ώστε να μην μπαίνει νερό μέσα στη καμπίνα όταν η οροφή είναι ανοικτή.
Το αυτοκίνητο διαθέτει ηλεκτρομηχανική κρεμαργιέρα, ανάρτηση πολλαπλών συνδέσμων με χαλύβδινα ελατήρια και ημι-ενεργά αμορτισέρ. Στην έκδοση SL350 το σύστημα Active Body Control βρίσκεται στον επιπλέον εξοπλισμό ενώ στην SL500 στον στάνταρ. Οι παραγγελίες έχουνε ξεκινήσει από σήμερα (15/12/2011) με αρχικη τιμή 93.534 ευρώ για την SL530 και 117.096 ευρώ για την SL500.
Σε ότι αφορά τις δύο υβριδικές E-Class. Η E300 Bluetech Hybrid, θα είναι διαθέσιμη στην Ευρωπαϊκή αγορά και φορά τον τετρακύλινδρο 2.1-λίτρων πετρελαιοκινητήρα απόδοσης 204 ίππων με 500 Nm ροπής, ο οποίος συνδυάζεται με έναν ηλεκτροκινητήρα απόδοσης 20 kW (27 ίππων) με 250 Nm ροπής. Η υβριδική E-Class μπορεί να κάνει τα 0-100 χλμ/ώρα σε 7.5 δευτερόλεπτα με τελική ταχύτητα τα 241 χλμ/ώρα. Διαθέτει σύστημα Start/Stop, σύστημα ανάκτησης ενέργειας κατά το φρενάρισμα, ελαστικά χαμηλής τριβής πετυχαίνοντας έτσι μέση κατανάλωση 4,2 λίτρα/100 χλμ και εκπομπές CO2 109 γρ/χλμ. Επιπλέον το αυτοκίνητο μπορεί να κινηθεί αποκλειστικά με τον ηλεκτροκινητήρα του για 1.6 χλμ.
Το δεύτερο μοντέλο, η E400 Hybrid, απευθύνεται για την αγορά της Αμερικής, της Κίνας και της Ιαπωνίας και συνδυάζει τον V6 3,5-λίτρων βενζινοκινητήρα απόδοσης 306 ίππων με 370 Nm ροπής και τον ίδιο ηλεκτροκινητήρα που φορά και η E300 Bluetech Hybrid (20 kW (27 ίππων) με 250 Nm ροπής) και θα έχει μέση κατανάλωση της τάξεως των 7.2 λίτρων/100 χλμ. Περισσότερες λεπτομέρειες μπορείς να βρεις στο δελτίο τύπου που ακολουθεί.
Daimler and Nissan to produce engines together in North America
In the latest step forward in the collaboration of Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Nissan’s Decherd, Tenn., plant will build Mercedes-Benz 4-cylinder engines for Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz starting in 2014.
DETROIT (Jan. 8, 2012) – Daimler and Nissan will produce Mercedes-Benz 4-cylinder gasoline engines together at Nissan’s powertrain assembly plant in Decherd, Tenn. Production will begin in 2014, with installed capacity of 250,000 units per year once full ramp–up is achieved. The Decherd facility will produce engines for Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti models.
“This is the newest milestone in our pragmatic collaboration and our most significant project outside of Europe so far,” said Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. “Localized capacity reduces exposure to foreign exchange rates while rapidly enabling a good business development in North America – a win-win for the Alliance and Daimler.”
The collaboration marks the first production of Mercedes-Benz engines in the North America Free Trade region. The Tennessee plant’s strategic location and logistics links ensure a direct supply of engines starting in 2014 for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, built at Daimler’s vehicle plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
“In the context of our Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy, we have decided that we will expand the production capacities required for this close to the customers. Through the strategic extension of our cooperation with Renault-Nissan we can realize near-market engine production in the NAFTA region on attractive economic terms and make optimum use of synergies arising from the cooperation.” Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Daimler Board of Management and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said. “Thus we are systematically broadening our manufacturing footprint in this important growth market.”
Nissan began powertrain assembly in Decherd in 1997. Today it manufactures 4-, 6- and 8-cylinder engines for the complete lineup of U.S.-produced Nissan and Infiniti vehicles. The plant also houses crankshaft forging and cylinder block casting operations. In 2011, Decherd produced more than 580,000 engines on a covered area of more than 1.2 million square feet (111,000 square meters).
Project portfolio expands
Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance launched their strategic collaboration in April 2010, including an equity exchange that gives the Renault-Nissan Alliance a 3.1 percent stake in Daimler and Daimler a combined 3.1 percent interest in Renault and Nissan.
The collaboration began with three project pillars:
- Joint smart/Twingo architecture: The project is on track for launch in the early first quarter of 2014. Two-seater smart vehicles will be produced at Daimler’s plant in Hambach, France, and four-seater smart and Renault production are slated for Renault’s plant in Novo Mesto, Slovenia.
- All-new entry-level city van project for Mercedes-Benz: The project is on schedule with expected launch in late 2012.
- Powertrain cross-supply: The Alliance is supplying Daimler with compact three-cylinder gasoline engines to be used in smart and Twingo vehicles and four-cylinder diesel engines to be used in the jointly developed light commercial vehicle and in Mercedes-Benz’s next generation of premium compact cars. Daimler will supply Nissan and Infiniti with four- and six-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines from the current and future engine portfolio as well as with automatic transmissions.
- Since its founding in April 2010, the collaboration has been gradually expanded. In addition to the announcement this week about North American engine production, the companies had decided earlier to partner on:
- Platform sharing: Infiniti plans to base a premium compact vehicle on the Mercedes compact-car architecture, starting in 2014.
- Zero-emission vehicles: Daimler will provide batteries from its production facility in Kamenz, Germany, and Renault-Nissan will provide electric motors for the use in electric vehicles (smart and Twingo ZE). First releases will occur in 2014.
The new Mercedes-Benz SL
Lightweight, athletic, luxurious
With the completely redeveloped SL, Mercedes-Benz continues a tradition that began 60 years ago. The letters “SL” have ever since been synonymous with a symbiosis of sportiness, style and comfort – and with groundbreaking innovations. The new SL has been produced for the first time almost entirely from aluminium and weighs up to 140 kilograms less than its predecessor. Its highly rigid all-aluminium bodyshell provides the basis for agile, sporty handling that has been taken to an entirely new level, coupled with exemplary roll characteristics and ride comfort. Even better driving dynamics come courtesy of the new BlueDIRECT engines; they are more powerful yet at the same time up to 29 percent more economical than the engines 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 highly efficient adaptive windscreen wipe/wash system MAGIC VISION CONTROL; it supplies water from the wiper blade as required and depending on the direction of wipe.
Compared with its successful predecessor, the new Mercedes-Benz SL offers considerably more comfort and sportiness, setting new standards in the luxury roadster class. Added to which is uncompromising day-to-day suitability, which turns the SL into an incomparable all-rounder among sports cars. In short, anyone that talks about the new SL is bound to be talking about the ultimate in passionate, refined motoring.
Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: “There are around 900 million cars in the world and thousands of models. But there are only a handful of automotive icons.
Our SL is one of them: it has class, it has style, it is the ultimate in comfort and luxury. But it combines all that with incredible sportiness and dynamism. You would struggle to find a car that embodies Gottlieb Daimler’s aspiration more perfectly than our new SL: the best or nothing.”
Lighter and more rigid: sophisticated all-aluminium bodyshell
The new-generation Mercedes-Benz SL takes the meaning of the famous letters “SL” – super, lightweight – literally. Consistent weight reduction is one of the most outstanding design characteristics in the new SL as was the case in its namesake, the original SL of 1952 with its lightweight tubular frame. For the first time Mercedes-Benz has implemented an all-aluminium bodyshell in a series-production model. Only very few components consist of other materials. The designers use the even lighter magnesium for the cover behind the tank. High-strength steel tubing is integrated in the A-pillars for safety reasons.
The new aluminium bodyshell weighs around 110 kilograms less than it would using the steel technology from the predecessor. “The effect is rather as if a heavyweight-class passenger had got out of the car” says Dr Thomas Rudlaff, responsible for the aluminium bodyshell at Mercedes-Benz. “The result is perceptible and measurable. Less weight means more dynamism and less consumption. In other words: the motoring enjoyment increases, the environmental burden sinks.”
The aluminium structure is not only lighter but also proves superior to the predecessor’s steel construction in terms of rigidity, safety and comfort. This is achieved thanks, among other things, to its intelligent lightweight construction with components optimised for their specific task. Thus, diverse processes are used to make different kinds of aluminium depending on the use the component is to be given: the parts are made by chill casting or vacuum die-casting, worked into extruded aluminium sections or into aluminium panels of different thicknesses. The result: high rigidity, high safety levels and better vibration characteristics.
Although the new SL is even more comfortable and has more assistance systems on-board than its predecessor and therefore does actually sacrifice some of the weight saved through the aluminium bodyshell, the scales show some astonishing figures: the new SL 500 (1.785 kg) weighs around 125 kilograms less than its predecessor. On balance, the SL 350 (1.685 kg) is even 140 kilograms lighter – all thanks to a host of other intelligent enhanced details to reduce weight, which Mercedes-Benz has also implemented in the new SL in addition to the aluminium bodyshell.
Driving pleasure: frugal, powerful engines and agile suspension
Powerful while accelerating, effortlessly superior across all speeds, nimble on winding roads – the new SL provides ample driving pleasure. Apart from the powerful engines, the sportily tuned yet comfortable suspension, which also boasts intelligent lightweight construction, proves outstanding. For instance, the steering knuckles and spring links on the front axle are also made out of aluminium to reduce the unsprung masses. The same also applies to virtually all the wheel location components on the rear axle.
The new SL is available with two different suspension systems: the SL features semi-active adjustable damping as standard. 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. This ensures excellent straight-line stability and, therefore, a high degree of assuredness when travelling at motorway speeds and makes the SL very agile. It also reduces the amount of steering required when parking and manoeuvring.
The new V8 in the SL 500 develops 320 kW (435 hp) from its displacement of 4663 cc and thus around 12 percent more than its predecessor despite some 0.8 litres less displacement. The fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 22 percent. At the same time, the torque has increased from 530 Nm to 700 Nm – a gain of 32 percent. Although the displacement remains the same at 3499 cc, the new V6 engine in the new SL 350 develops 225 kW (306 hp) and delivers 370 Nm of torque. It uses just 6.8 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, making it almost 30 percent more economical than its predecessor. Both engine variants come with a standard-fit ECO start/stop function. The 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission, which has been optimised in relation to fuel consumption and comfort, also contributes to the exemplary, low fuel consumption. The fuel economy of the BlueDIRECT engines takes nothing away from the roadster’s raciness. Quite the contrary: the SL 350 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds, making it three tenths of a second faster than its predecessor. The SL 500 takes just 4.6 seconds – eight tenths less than the previous SL 500.
Interior: aesthetic, stylish, sporty
The new SL combines its aesthetically honed profile, which follows the Mercedes-Benz tradition, with a luxurious feel. Fine materials, perfectly finished with great attention to detail, distinguish the style and character of the interior.
Compared with its predecessor, the new generation of the SL is much longer 4612 mm (+50 mm) and wider 1877 mm (+57 mm), providing more room for more comfort in the interior, too. Shoulder room (+37 mm) and elbow room (+28 mm) have been increased, exceeding the dimensions normally found in this vehicle class. Clear lines create a formally coherent internal space within this comfortable interior. Generously used wood trim extends from the centre console across the dashboard into the doors, creating a pleasant wrap-around effect. Three types of wood along with two different aluminium trim finishes are available. Perfectly in tune with the roadster’s character, it combines the unpretentious atmosphere of a high-performance sports car with a comfortable, stylish ambience one comes to expect in a luxurious touring car.
Design: classic SL proportions
The designers have brought the latest generation of the SL unmistakably to life on the basis of tradition but added new perspectives and visions. The result is a stylishly sporty and elegant luxury sports car with the classic hallmark SL balanced proportions: the long bonnet gives way to a compact passenger compartment that is set well back. A wide, powerful rear end giving the impression of raciness provides the finishing touch. A handful of elaborately styled lines define the powerfully sculpted and yet calm surfaces of the flanks. Finely worked details, a striking rear end as well as ventilation grilles with chromed fins from the dynamic traditional Mercedes-Benz design heritage visually emphasise the SL legend.
An upright classic sports car radiator grille clearly marks out the new SL visually as a prestigious member of the current Mercedes-Benz sports car family. The centrally positioned star is a contemporary reinterpretation of the famous trademark, which now extends into the centre section with its organically flowing contours.
Dynamically slanting headlamps set well to the outside flank the striking front end and give the new roadster its own unmistakable face. The headlamps come as standard with the Intelligent Light System (ILS). With five different lighting functions that are tailored to typical driving and weather conditions, and are activated depending on the driving situation, they offer the driver a much better illuminated field of vision. The striking sidelights and the horizontal strip of the daytime running lamps in the far ends of the bumper feature
Vario-roof: MAGIC SKY CONTROL as an option
The sixth generation of the SL also offers a vario-roof that can be retracted into the boot using an electrohydraulic mechanism to save space, which converts the SL in a few seconds into a roadster or a coupé, depending on the driver’s wishes and the weather. Unlike its predecessor, three versions are available for the new SL: painted, with glass roof or with the unique panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL. The transparent roof switches to light or dark at the push of a button. When light it is virtually transparent, offering an open-air experience even in cold weather. In its dark state the roof provides welcome shade and prevents the interior from heating up in bright sunlight. The frame of the three roof versions is made of magnesium, making the roofs around six kilograms lighter than the roof on the predecessor, thus providing a lower centre of gravity for the vehicle and, in turn, better agility.
The engineers have refined the operating mechanism for the roof and boot lid. It now takes less than 20 seconds to open or close the roof completely.
Aerodynamics: new standards
The design of the new SL not only meets high aesthetic demands but it also boasts exemplary aerodynamic qualities. As such, the roadster merits best marks in its segment in four important disciplines:
- With the lowest drag coefficient (cd = 0.27 in the SL 350);
- With the lowest wind noise that is virtually on a par with a closed saloon;
- With the best comfort for open-top motoring so that you can still have the roof down even at high speed;
- With virtually no accumulation of dirt on the side windows.
Two world premieres: Frontbass and MAGIC VISION CONTROL
With two innovations, the new SL remains true to its tradition as technological trendsetter:
- MAGIC VISION CONTROL is a new, intelligent and highly efficient wipe/wash system. The innovative wiper blade concept always applies the washer fluid just in front of the wiper blade lip via the channels integrated into the blade – in both directions of wipe. As a result, no water is splashed onto the windscreen during spraying to disrupt the driver’s visibility, while at the same time cleaning the windscreen perfectly. The water also remains on the windscreen, thus ensuring it is cleaned without troubling the occupants, even with the roof down. For the first time a fully heated wiper blade is available as an option that prevents snow or ice from forming on the blade in winter. This heating function also allows warm water to be applied directly onto the windscreen for the first time, even in cold temperatures.
- The likewise unique Frontbass system intelligently uses the free spaces in the aluminium structures in front of the footwell as resonance spaces for the bass loudspeakers. As a result the new SL features clear, crisp bass sounds that make possible a concert hall ambience even with the top down, and frees up space in the doors.
Both innovations are part of the extensive standard equipment of the new SL.
HANDS-FREE ACCESS: ‘kick’ to open
The HANDS-FREE ACCESS system is another Mercedes-Benz innovation which provides hands-free, contactless operation of the boot lid. The driver simply moves their foot in the vicinity of the rear bumper. Mercedes-Benz is the only car maker to offer a system which not only automatically opens the boot lid but closes it as well.
The 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. The rigid aluminium bodyshell forms a sturdy passenger compartment along with precisely defined deformation zones in the front and rear ends. In the event of the vehicle overturning, A-pillars made out of a mix of steel and aluminium and two roll-over bars protect the passenger compartment. The restraint systems including the two-stage driver and front passenger airbags have been further developed. A headbag integrally covers the side head-impact area. An additional thorax airbag in the seat backrest
can protect the upper body in the event of a side impact. Another new feature is the crash-responsive NECK-PRO head restraints developed by Mercedes-Benz which are fitted as standard in the SL. An active bonnet and a front end with a large, yielding impact area help ensure pedestrian protection.
A safety highlight is the unrivalled anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE® developed by Mercedes-Benz which is fitted as standard. If
the system detects a serious risk of an accident, it reflexively activates precautionary protective measures for the vehicle occupants, so that the seat belts and airbags are able to fulfil their protective function to the full during an impact.
Additional post-crash measures supplement the integral safety concept and facilitate rapid assistance: regardless of the severity of the impact, the doors
can be automatically unlocked after an accident, the interior lighting activated and the side windows lowered by 50 millimetres to ventilate the interior more effectively. The steering wheel can also be moved upwards.
Standard: ATTENTION ASSIST AND ADAPTIVE BRAKE
In the new SL too, a unique combination of driver assistance systems helps prevent accidents. These include the standard-fit drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST and the ADAPTIVE BRAKE. The latter features ABS, acceleration skid control (ASR) and active yaw control, and offers comfort and convenience functions in addition to safety functions. The ADAPTIVE BRAKE works in conjunction with the equally adaptive brake lights. In emergency braking situations, it warns vehicles behind with flashing brake lights.
PRE-SAFE® Brake: autonomous partial and emergency braking in response to a serious risk of a rear-end collision
As an option DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control and PRE-SAFE® Brake, which
is already well proven in other Mercedes-Benz models, are available. Both work on the basis of the same radar sensors. Once a serious risk of a rear-end collision is detected, the PRE-SAFE® Brake warns the driver initially and can initiate autonomous braking if the driver fails to react, and so either prevent the accident or at least mitigate its severity. PRE-SAFE® can also activate occupant protection measures.
Active Parking Assist: automatically manoeuvred into a parking space
The Active Parking Assist is new in the SL. Using ultrasound sensors it can identify parking spaces and automatically steer the vehicle into the space while parking.
Infotainment: COMAND with internet access
Even in the entry-level variant, the new Mercedes-Benz SL comes with the “Cockpit Management and Data System” COMAND. Functionality includes Bluetooth telephony along with simpler operation of the car phone. COMAND Online with internet access and DVD changer is also available as an option.
It provides unlimited web browsing while the vehicle is stationary along with high-speed access to a Mercedes-Benz online service – for instance requesting a weather report or a special destination search. There is also the option of sending individual destinations and routes via Google Maps to the vehicle. For the first time, Mercedes-Benz is also offering new apps for the new SL: in addition to a free news app and a Facebook app, there are optional Mercedes-Benz apps for share prices and a car park finder. A Yelp app to look for restaurants is available for the US market.
Both COMAND versions feature a high-resolution TFT colour display with 17.8 cm diagonal (800 x 480 pixels) at the side next to the instrument cluster. This screen arrangement prevents the driver from being distracted as far as possible.
Orders for the new SL commenced on 15 December 2011. The prices including 19% VAT are as follows:
- SL 350 BlueEFFICIENCY: 93,534.00 euros
- SL 500 BlueEFFICIENCY: 117,096.00 euros
To coincide with the launch of the new SL, Mercedes-Benz will also be offering a special-edition model, the “Edition 1”, for a limited period. The “Edition 1” is superbly equipped and comes as standard with a panoramic vario-roof, AMG bodystyling, sports suspension, AMG 19-inch light-alloy wheels, designo nappa leather with contrasting topstitching, AIRSCARF, heated seats, electric draught-stop, ambient lighting and Harman/Kardon® Logic7® surround sound system and much more. The designo crystal silver magno special paintwork is available exclusively for the “Edition 1”, along with trim in wave or deep white aluminium. Depending on the basic model, the extra charge is between 19,028.10 euros and 22,598.10 euros.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL of 1952
Number two lives on
- Painstaking restoration by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre of the oldest SL still in existence
- The 300 SL (W 194) is one of the most significant racing cars from the 1950s
- Visible traces of a long and thrilling vehicle life
Stuttgart – The origins of the SL class are rooted in motor racing: in the early 1950s, Mercedes-Benz developed the 300 SL racing car (model series W 194). This, the grandfather of all SLs, undertook its initial test drives in November 1951 on the Solitude circuit just outside Stuttgart, as well as on the Nürburgring and the Hockenheimring. The vehicle was introduced to an awestruck press on 12 March 1952, on the autobahn between Stuttgart and Heilbronn.
The 1952 racing season was to prove an exceptionally successful one for Mercedes-Benz, as a look at the results of the 300 SL’s various appearances reveals: second and fourth places in the Mille Miglia, a threefold victory in the “Prix de Berne” sports car race, double victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, fourfold victory in the Nürburgring Anniversary Sports Car Grand Prix and a double victory in the 3rd Carrera Panamericana in Mexico. The brand had made its return to motor racing with a true flourish, while the continuing advertising impact ensured it was firmly back on the international scene.
Restoration of the 300 SL with chassis number 2
The first 300 SL no long exists, having been scrapped during its time with the company. However, the second car to be built, with the chassis number 194 010 00002/52, is still with us and has been in company ownership since it was built in the racing workshops in 1951/52. This oldest existing SL has now been painstakingly restored to mark the anniversary of “60 years of the SL”, which will be celebrated in 2012. This involved the vehicle being completely dismantled at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre in Fellbach, near Stuttgart, then every single component meticulously examined and, where necessary, restored according to the very highest standards of authenticity and quality. The clear remit was to retain the substance in every respect. The second 300 SL (W 194) ever to be built is now therefore revealed in new splendour – yet continues to bear with pride the traces of its long and thrilling life.
The restoration of the bodywork was a particularly tricky process, as it is made out of extremely fine aluminium/magnesium sheet metal which, by its very nature, is extremely delicate. Time had also taken its toll on it in many places. It took the specialists around six months to bring the body shell of the oldest SL in the world still in existence back to its former glory. The restoration of the vehicle lasted ten months in all, which, in view of the extensive work involved, represented a very tight schedule.
All the effort was well worthwhile, though. When the engine of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, which bears the original registration plate “W59-4029”, is started up once again and the vehicle quickly picks up speed, it is easy to believe that it can still manage a top speed of 230 km/h and that this is the car that enjoyed one of the most successful sports careers of the 1950s.
Like the phoenix rising from the ashes: the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 194)
The first motor racing vehicle to be produced by Mercedes-Benz after the end of the Second World War appeared at a time when Europe still lay in ruins. On 15 June 1951 the Board of Management resolved to participate in motor racing once again from the 1952 season and commissioned the production of the “300 SL Super-Light”, as the new car was initially known. The suffix was later shortened to the simple letters SL – so giving rise to the model designation 300 SL. Its M 194 engine was derived from the engine used in the Mercedes-Benz 300 prestige saloon, also known as the “Adenauer Mercedes”. For its use in the racing car, the engineers increased the output to around 170 hp (125 kW). The racing engine, equipped with dry sump lubrication, is canted at an angle of 50 degrees to the left.
The body of this first SL preempts certain elements of the later series-production sports car model. Among these are the low bonnet of the pre-war racing cars, with a Mercedes star mounted on the grille of the cooling air intake. The famous swing-wing doors are a characteristic feature of the Coupé: they are cut deep into the roof, open upwards and were originally conceived purely as access hatches that opened only as far as the beltline. During preparations for the “24 Hours of Le Mans” the door openings were enlarged, giving the even more pronounced effect of extended wings. This led to the car being nicknamed the “Gullwing” by the Americans and “Papillon” (Butterfly) by the French. In two races the 300 SL appeared with a Roadster body rather than as a “Gullwing” model.
Lightweight construction was one of the key priorities for the 300 SL. Wherever possible, efforts were made to save weight – the body shell is made out of sheet aluminium/magnesium, some of the mechanical components of aluminium or magnesium, while various parts are bored to make them lighter. Another way of improving competitiveness was to make the body as aerodynamic as possible. Rudolf Uhlenhaut, who was the head of passenger car testing at Daimler-Benz at that time, developed a special framework for the W 194, weighing just 50 kilograms. This is made out of very fine, high-alloy steel tubes designed to absorb tensile and compression forces.
The interior is panelled throughout and, unusually for a racing car, exudes an air of comfort. Speedometer and rev counter are perfectly positioned in the driver’s field of vision, with the smaller instruments for water temperature, petrol pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure, as well as the car’s original stopwatch, located below them. The well-contoured, bucket-type seats are upholstered in tartan woollen cloth, while the four-spoke steering wheel can be removed to make getting in and out of the car easier.
A total of ten W 194 vehicles were built for the 1952 season. A successor model was also developed in readiness for the following year which, as the eleventh SL to be built, is also known as the W 194/11. It never did race in the 1953 season, however. From 1954 onwards Mercedes-Benz competed in Formula 1 racing, while the W 194 was developed further to become the 300 SL series-production sports car (W 198). The series-production vehicle became the dream sports car of the 1950s, going on to be awarded the accolade of “Sports car of the century” in 1999.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (model series W 194)
- Year of construction: 1952
- Units built: 10
- Engine: six-cylinder in-line engine, overhead camshaft,
- three Solex twin carburettors, dry sump lubrication
- Displacement: 2995 cc
- Output: 170 hp (125 kW) at 5200 rpm
- Kerb weight: approx 1060 kg
- Top speed: 230 km/h
Mercedes-Benz launches hybrid offensive
The world’s most economical luxury-class model
- Mercedes-Benz E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID: 4.2 l of diesel/100 km, 109 g of CO2/km
- Mercedes-Benz E 400 HYBRID: fuel economy of 27 mpg
- More torque and performance without compromising on usable volume
- Available in Saloon and Estate versions (E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID)
- Modular hybrid concept using lithium-ion batteries
- Reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of around 15 percent compared with the E 250 CDI
- Impressive driving experience thanks to start/stop function, regenerative braking, boost effect, purely electric motoring and “sailing” function
Mercedes-Benz is opening a new chapter in its brand’s core segment and at the same time setting new standards for luxury-class business vehicles: the E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, available as a Saloon and Estate, impresses with new record values when it comes to efficiency. It boasts exemplary consumption levels (4.2 l/100 km) as well as impressive performance: the 4-cylinder diesel engine of the E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID has 150 kW (204 hp) and 500 Nm. Combined with an electric motor producing 20 kW and 250 Nm, this results in a coherent overall concept. The E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID is the most economical luxury-class vehicle in the world.
The V6 petrol engine in the E 400 HYBRID produces 225 kW (306 hp) and 370 Nm, and is also supplemented by a further 20 kW and 250 Nm from the electric motor. The consumption figures based on the American CAFE standard are: City 24 mpg, Highway 31 mpg, Combined 27 mpg.
“With these two E-Class models we are now continuing our comprehensive hybrid offensive. The modular technology opens up a quick way for us to complement other model series with hybrid models”, explains Professor Dr. Thomas Weber, Daimler Board Member for Group Research and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “With a clear focus on the different requirements of the global markets, we are able to offer precisely the models which our customers want. The E-Class hybrids provide a clear reduction in consumption as well as a very impressive driving experience: they represent hybrid motoring at the premium level.”
The new models do not require their passengers to have to compromise when it comes to space, however, whether in terms of the interior or the luggage compartment. And there are also additional benefits to the intelligent modular hybrid concept, which represents a comprehensive enhancement of the Mercedes-Benz S 400 HYBRID which has advanced to the position of clear market leader since 2009: no changes to the vehicle body are required, the hybrid module is both flexible and modular, thus allowing its use in other model series, and in addition to diesel and petrol variants there will also be right-hand drive variants. Meanwhile, the extra cost involved here is only moderate. The new hybrid models will be celebrating their world premiere at the Detroit Motor Show (14 to 22 January 2012) and will appear on the market over the course of the year. The E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID is initially planned to be launched on the European market, while the E 400 HYBRID will be made available on the American market first, followed by other countries such as Japan and China later.
The philosophy: increase efficiency without compromising comfort or use
The new hybrid models from Mercedes-Benz are part of the company’s intelligent downsizing strategy which aims to make conventional models perform significantly more efficiently than ever before – without compromising when it comes to driveability or comfort. As part of this move, rather than focusing primarily on regular consumption, the engineers at the company have been examining exemplary consumption levels in everyday traffic. The notorious safety philosophy known as “Real Life Safety”, which similarly highlights gains in safety under practical conditions rather than standard crash test results, is now being paired with “Real Life Efficiency”.
Take the E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID by way of example: the hybrid model is based on the notoriously economical E 250 CDI, but exceeds it in terms of performance and undercuts in terms of fuel consumption by around 15 percent. The details are as follows:
- E 250 CDI: output of 150 kW, max. torque of 500 Nm, top speed of 242 km/h, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds, consumption of 4.9 litres of diesel/100 km, CO2 emissions of 129 g/km
- E 350 BlueTEC: output of 155 kW, max. torque of 540 Nm, top speed of 239 km/h, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.8 seconds, consumption of 6.8 litres of diesel/100 km, CO2 emissions of 180 g/km
- E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID: output of 150 kW + 20 kW electric motor, max. torque of 500 Nm + 250 Nm, top speed of 242 km/h, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds, consumption of 4.2 litres of diesel/100 km, CO2 emissions of 109 g/km (values for Saloon)
As a result, the E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID is on a par with the E 300 CDI (170 kW/540 Nm) in practical use. However, it undercuts this model in terms of consumption and CO2 emissions by around 35 percent. The E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID also matches the E 300 CDI when it comes to vehicle weight too.
At the same time, hybridisation also represents an increase in ride comfort: starting up and moving off are practically silent, and the hybrid module also dampens any vibrations from the combustion engine. Furthermore, the vehicle’s full range of climate control functions remain available even in start/stop mode.
The E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID and E 400 HYBRID at a glance:
|Model||E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID||E 400 HYBRID|
|Internal combustion engine||R4 diesel||V6 petrol|
|Rated output (kW/hp)||150 (204)||225/306|
|Transmission||7G-TRONIC PLUS||7G-TRONIC PLUS|
|Output of electric motor (kW)||20||20|
|Torque of electric motor (Nm)||250||250|
|Electric range (km)||1.0||1.0|
|Electric motoring/sailing (km/h)||35/160||35/160|
|Top speed||242 km/h||130 mph|
|0 – 100 km/h (s)||7.5|
|0 – 60 mph (s)||6.7|
|NEDC fuel consumption (l/100 km)||4.2|
|CAFE fuel consumption (mpg)||27|
|CO2 emissions (g/km)||109||n/a|
Motoring: sailing along the motorway
The hybrid technology from Mercedes-Benz provides a whole host of additional functions which enhance comfort and efficiency at the same time, while making an overall contribution to creating a special driving experience with a sense of refined sportiness:
- Stationary vehicle/ECO start/stop function: the combustion engine can already be switched into deceleration mode at speeds below 160 km/h, since ancillary components such as the steering, brakes and air conditioning compressor operate electrically. The combustion engine is restarted quickly, conveniently and almost silently. A special Mercedes feature is the way in which the practical HOLD function interacts with the start/stop system: as soon the HOLD function is enabled (by fully depressing the brake pedal when stationary), the combustion engine also remains switched off when the driver then takes their foot off the brake pedal. Alternatively, when waiting for longer periods, the gear selector lever can be put into position “P” or the parking brake enabled, thus allowing the driver to remove their foot from the brake pedal.
- Manoeuvring: parking or turning are for the most part carried out in electric mode
- Accelerating: moving off and driving at low loads are carried out in purely electric mode. Accelerating from a standstill is particularly powerful, since the full torque of up to 250 Nm is available from the electric motor
- Boost function: the electric motor supports the combustion engine when accelerating, such as when executing an overtaking manoeuvre, by providing additional drive torque
- Cruising: at constant speeds, the engine control unit shifts the operating range towards lower specific fuel consumption levels
- “Sailing”: the so-called “sailing” function can be used at speeds below 160 km/h. With this function, the combustion engine switches off and the desired speed is maintained primarily by using the electric motor, until the batteries need to be recharged
- Recuperation of kinetic energy (regenerative braking) in deceleration mode or when braking: during deceleration (reduction in speed by snapping off the throttle), the electric motor works as a generator and stores the converted kinetic energy back in the high-voltage battery. If the brake pedal is pressed, the generator output is initially increased proportionally for greater deceleration. Only when increased brake pressure is applied are the wheel brakes additionally called upon. To implement these functions, the new hybrid models have brakes which have been specially adapted for recuperation (“energy recuperation”)
Comprehensive road tests using different test subjects have shown that it only takes a relatively short time for additional savings to be achieved as drivers learn to make increasingly deliberate and effective use of such functions. They are supported in their use of the features by the display concept of the hybrid models. The central display provides information on the current energy flow and the charge status of the batteries, as well as a top view of the vehicle, depicting the drivetrain and coloured energy flow. The driver is able to monitor fuel consumption via energy/time graphs.
Consumption: benefits in actual traffic, not just on paper
In urban traffic, with its frequent stationary, deceleration and short acceleration phases, the hybrid drive is able to play to its strengths in particular. This is thanks, on the one hand, to the frequent regenerative braking phases when decelerating and, on the other, to the capability to offer purely electric motoring when approaching traffic lights. The purely electric driving mode can also be used in stop-and-go traffic up to a speed of around 35 km/h and on journeys of up to a kilometre. When stationary, the combustion engine is switched off in most cases.
When it comes to inter-urban motoring, the boost, “sailing” and regenerative braking phases alternate in conjunction with an intelligent displacement of the combustion engine’s load point. The actual effect depends on both the route profile as well as the behaviour of the driver.
On the motorway, the boost function takes a back seat in the higher engine speed range. Savings are achieved by the “sailing” function at speeds up to 160 km/h, for example on slight downhill gradients, by displacement of the combustion engine’s operating point, electric operation of accessories, and regenerative braking when decelerating.
Extensive road tests on a wide variety of different routes have shown that compared with the notoriously economical E 250 CDI, it is possible to achieve additional significant increases in efficiency with the E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID.
The increased fuel efficiency is even more pronounced when the E 300 CDI is used as the comparison vehicle.
The hybrid module: compact, intelligently integrated powerhouse
The hybrid drive unit is an enhancement of the module used in the S 400 HYBRID and is based on the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission.
A new element is the lack of hydraulic torque converter. Instead a wet clutch has been added, as also found in a number of powerful AMG models. As a result, the electric motor can be integrated into the transmission unit in such a way that it only requires marginally more installation space than the 7G-TRONIC (+65 mm). The lack of converter allows for a purely electric driving mode as well as the “sailing” function, and also therefore significantly increases the potential for reducing consumption.
The compact electric motor, which is installed in the clutch housing between the engine and the transmission to save space, is a 3-phase AC internal rotor magneto motor, which develops a peak output of 20 kW and a peak torque of 250 Nm at an operating voltage of 120 Volts.
The components: perfectly integrated into the vehicle
The electric energy of the hybrid drive comes courtesy of the high-voltage lithium-ion battery which has been specially developed for automotive use. Its characteristics include an output of 19 kW and an energy content of 0.8 kWh, enabling the E-Class to achieve a speed of up to 35 km/h and a range of up to one kilometre in purely electric mode.
Major advantages over conventional nickel/metal hydride batteries include a higher energy density and better electrical efficiency, together with more compact dimensions and a lower weight. Thanks to space-saving installation in the engine compartment, where it replaces the conventional starter battery, the generous interior space and boot capacity remain unchanged. The lithium-ion battery not only stores energy for the electric motor, but is also connected to the 12-Volt onboard network via the DC transformer to supply power to other standard consumers such as the headlamps and comfort features. The battery system consists of the cell block with its lithium-ion cells and the cell monitoring system, the battery management function, the high-strength housing, the cooling gel, the cooling plate, the coolant feed and the high-voltage connector.
To support cold starting and act as a buffer store for the on-board electrical system, a regular 12 Volt battery is located beneath the luggage compartment, and an additional small backup battery prevents unpleasant flickering of the vehicle lighting and dropouts in the infotainment system in start/stop mode.
By using sophisticated packaging it has been possible to integrate numerous hybrid-specific components, such as the high-power electronics, directly into the engine compartment along with the combustion engine, thus perfectly rounding off the modular principle: the hybrid models can be produced together with the regular versions on the same assembly line, without any specific issues. Another plus point of the overall concept is the scalability and compatibility with other vehicles and engines.
Safety: on a par with previous models
The intelligent integration of hybrid systems without having to make any changes to the vehicle body not only has the practical benefit of enabling full use of the available space. At the same time it also helps to ensure that the same high level of safety can be offered as in their counterparts fitted with combustion engines – something which is particularly important to Mercedes-Benz. The crash behaviour of the vehicles has also been safeguarded accordingly by means of crash simulations and tests.
When it came to the hybrid-specific properties which were relevant to aspects of safety, the development engineers were able to call on the extensive experience gained with the S 400 HYBRID introduced in 2009. The challenge in this area lay in ensuring the greatest possible safety for the electrical components. This safety system already applies in production, includes workshop personnel during servicing and maintenance, and also takes the emergency services into account when passengers need to be recovered following an accident.
Accordingly the hybrid technology of Mercedes-Benz is equipped with an extensive 7-stage safety concept.
- In the first stage, all of the high-voltage wiring is colour-coded to eliminate confusion, and marked with safety instructions. This prevents assembly errors in production, and makes the regular quality checks easier to carry out.
- The second stage comprises comprehensive contact protection for the entire system by means of generous insulation and newly-developed, dedicated connectors.
- As part of the third stage, the lithium-ion battery has been given a whole package of carefully coordinated safety measures. This innovative battery is accommodated in a high-strength steel housing, and also secured in place. Bedding the battery cells in a special gel effectively dampens any jolts and knocks. There is also a blow-off vent with a rupture disc and a separate cooling circuit. An internal electronic controller continuously monitors the safety requirements and immediately signals any malfunctions.
- The fourth stage of the safety concept includes separation of the battery terminals, individual safety wiring for all high-voltage components and continuous monitoring by multiple interlock switches. This means that all high-voltage components are connected by an electric loop. In the event of a malfunction, the high-voltage system is automatically switched off.
- Active discharging of the high-voltage system as soon as the ignition is switched to “Off”, or in the event of a malfunction, is part of the fifth stage.
- During an accident, the high-voltage system is completely switched off within fractions of a second (stage six).
- As the seventh and last stage, the system is continuously monitored for short circuits.