In addition to the SLC Final Edition, Mercedes-Benz brought the SL Grand Edition to the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. As the headline implies, the Sport Lightweight tries too hard to be hip with the cool kids in the segment.
The R231 entered production in 2012, and the mid-cycle refresh followed in 2016 for the 2017 model year. Instead of switching to the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, the SL 500 soldiers on with the M278 from 2010, which is derived from the M273 introduced in 2006. Adding insult to injury, the M272 from 2004 serves as the basis for both engine options.
Moving on to the SL 400, the Grand Edition in this specification utilizes a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with 367 PS and 500 Nm. For a car that weighs 1,735 kilograms (3,825 pounds) before options, Mercedes-Benz could’ve done better. A lot better if the engineers could’ve integrated the M256 straight-six in there, but the platform wouldn’t allow it.
Both options come with a nine-speed automatic transmission, 19- and 20-inch AMG wheels, four exterior color choices, and lots of badging in addition to chrome garnish. The Airscarf system, Multicontour massage and ventilated seats, Active Parking Assist, Driving Assistance Plus, and Brown Pearl leather upholstery are also standard.
Matte silver on the front fascia and a lowered suspension complete the list of upgrades brought to the Grand Edition. All in all, Mercedes-Benz could’ve done better to imbue more specialness in the SL.
What the Mercedes-Benz is doing to the Sport Lightweight these days pales in comparison to what SL stood for in the 1950s and 1960s. Back when the W198 was boasting gullwing doors, the 300 SL was the fastest production car in the world (260 kilometers per hour). Then came the Pagoda the following decade, penned by lead designers Paul Bracq and Bela Barenyi.
Looking at the heritage of the SL, the R231 doesn’t cut it. Not only is the current generation a bit bland compared to the Mercedes-AMG GT, but the SL isn’t as luxurious as the S-Class Coupe and S-Class Convertible.