Mercedes CLS and SL

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What Car? Staff
04 March 2008

Mercedes CLS and SL

Mercedes is spring-cleaning most of its line-up this year and the latest fruits of its labours are on view at Geneva: revised versions of the CLS and SL. The aim has been to make them more sporty to look at and to drive.

Mercedes says the latest SL two-seat roadster is the most sporty yet. Thats some claim from a company that produced the fabulous gullwing SL coup of the 1950s.

Theres a new look, with a restyled nose, power domes on the bonnet and gills in the wings all in homage to the gullwing car.

The revised engine line-up includes a new high-revving 315bhp 3.5-litre V6 that delivers more power and better economy than before. But if you want a true performance SL, the new 525bhp 6.2-litre V8 and the twin-turbo 612bhp 6.0-litre V12 AMG models will provide it in return for a suitably sizeable cheque.

Mercedes says the handling has been sharpened by a direct-steer system that was introduced on the C-Class in 2007, but comfort and convenience have also come in for attention.

The S-Classs intelligent headlights, which adapt their beam pattern according to the type of road you are on, have now become a standard fitment alongside an uprated central control system. The neck-warming Airscarf seats from the SLK are optional.

Mercedes describes the changes to the CLS, its four-door coup, as fine-tuning. The front and rear ends have been given a sharper look and there are bigger side mirrors with arrow-shaped indicator repeaters built in. New alloy wheel designs have been introduced and trapezoidal tailpipes replace the old oval ones on all but the flagship AMG model.

The interior has been brightened up and an improved central control system allows you to play and charge your iPod directly through the stereo.

The engine line-up is unchanged but the AMG version, powered by a 514bhp 6.2-litre V8, now belts out a deeper exhaust note and blips the throttle automatically on downshifts.