Mercedes trips the

light fantastic

Testing the new Mercedes-Benz SL in Dubai
The new Mercedes-Benz SL on test

MERCEDES-BENZ is preparing to unveil a completely redeveloped SL Roadster made for the first time almost entirely from aluminium.

It means that the 2012 Mercedes SL - which stands for Sporty and Lightweight - will weigh around 140 kilograms less than its predecessor.

And in terms of rigidity, safety and comfort, the aluminium structure is superior to the current car's steel construction.

"The effect is rather as if a heavyweight-class passenger had got out of the car and taken his heavy flight luggage too," says Dr Thomas Rudlaff, who is responsible for the bodyshell.

The new SL is also the first car to be equipped with the adaptive Magic Vision Control wiper/washer system developed by Mercedes, which cleans the windscreen without the familiar splash of water that usually disrupts the driver's field of view.

The wiper blade glides over the windscreen without a sign of a water jet - the occupants can't see anything yet the windscreen is still cleaned.

And the new generation of the luxury sport car can also be converted into an open or a closed concert hall courtesy of a unique FrontBass system, which also makes its world premiere.

Instead of being placed in the doors in the usual way, in the new SL the bass loudspeakers are installed in the footwell in front of the driver and front seat passenger, something not possible with traditional vehicle structures.

The speakers are fitted in two openings in the firewall on either side of the footwell and cavities behind them act as resonating chambers for clear, crisp bass sounds with a high dynamic range.

More information on the next generation SL will be released later.

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