Mercedes SL 350

18 Nov 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Mercedes SL 350
Mercedes SL 350

Improved interior

The first thing which strikes you as you sit behind the wheel, is the improved interior accommodation. Everything looks modern, distilled to perfection. The excellent ergonomics of my former SL have somehow been left wanting. Controls readily fall to hand.

Fit and finish appear to surpass anything I have sampled in former Mercedes models.

My rose-tinted glasses do not extend to the “Command System”, fitted to my old SL500. It appeared outmoded before we parted company. The problem with navigation systems is that the rate of change, the relentless advancement of electronics, soon renders systems passé and seemingly antiquated. The new SL 350 has a wonderful system which oozes modernity.

It is user-friendly and the display is a model of clarity. Only time will tell, how long its cutting edge character will last, but at the moment it looks sharp and contemporary.

German cars suit my large torso. The seats appear to sympathetically caress my “love handles” and Canadian Redwood thighs. The sumptuously upholstered chairs in the new SL 350 are incredibly comfortable.

They blend support with comfort brilliantly.

The “Ginger Beige” seats with “Espresso Brown” dashboard fitted in my test car, may not be to everyone’s taste, but I confess, I was smitten. I was less keen on the “Light Brown Poplar Wood, satin finish” but there are several trim options available and extended fondling of swatches in a nearby dealership would almost certainly provide a suitable alternative.

I particularly liked the appearance and feel of the steering wheel. The multi-function buttons have received a makeover and proffer wonderful tactility. However, it is the appearance of the stitched leather boss adjacent bright metal work which lifted the interior and made my old SL interior seem a little dowdy.

Start the engine

Start the engine and pull away and you are struck by the absence of noise. My old SL brilliantly shunned wind noise and cabin turbulence courtesy of a foldable wind deflector. Yet, the new SL 350 seemed more refined and quieter.

The 3.5 litre engine has 306 bhp and was not found wanting in the performance department. It has good torque, evidenced when overtaking and never felt underpowered. Does it have the character of my old SL 500?

No, but then again, it sips fuel with a parsimonious thirst and will please tree-huggers with CO2 emissions of 176 g/km.

This raised a dilemma, is there justification for purchasing a larger engined SL, such as the SL 500 or maybe the fire-breathing AMG badged variants? Well, with speed cameras breeding like rabbits and fuel costing more than vintage Margaux, you would be justified in asking this question.

The absence of an SL test car fitted with an 8 cylinder or 12 cylinder engine means that the answer to that particular question will have to be reserved for a future date.

Mercedes SL 350

The 6 cylnder SL 350 doesn’t have the throaty rumble of my old SL 500. However, in all honesty it will fulfil the needs and wants of many and provide a sensible option for those who do not seek the ultimate bragging rights at the golf club.

Ride and handling

My old SL 500 had 19 inch AMG alloys and Active Body Control. The new SL 350 I drove had 18 inch standard fit alloy wheels without Active Body Control. I must confess, I thought the latter provided superior ride and its manoeuvrability was magnificent.

I recall having Bridgestone tyres on my old SL initially, but, subsequently, I exchanged them for Pirelli P Zeros and the ride comfort improved significantly. The test car was fitted with Yokohama rubber and it made me wonder how much the brand of tyre influenced the ride. The cosseting nature of the suspension would shame many executive cars and made me question the need to tick additional option boxes when the standard set-up appeared so-well resolved.


There are a few options I would choose. In particular, the Airscarf neck-level heating system may sound like a gimmick. But, driving around North Yorkshire on an autumnal day, it meant open top motoring was comfortable and pleasurable..

Automatic transmission 

Mercedes SL 350
Mercedes SL 350
Mercedes SL 350
Mercedes SL 350
Mercedes SL 350
Mercedes SL 350
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