Mercedes-Benz has already begun teasing its next-generation SL roadster. In preparation for the new car, the final current R 230-generation SL rolled of the production line in Bremen, Germany last week. That car, an Iridium Silver SL350 equipped with the sport package, is destined for the Mercedes-Benz Museum’s collection in Stuttgart.
“Every SL series is a milestone in the history of Mercedes-Benz,” said Michael Bock, the head of Mercedes-Benz Classic and CEO of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. “They are used for the car’s anniversary which we will celebrate in 2012. And that’s why we are particularly pleased that the last vehicle built in the R 230 series also enriched the collection.”
Launched in 2001, the R 230-series SL has sold more than 165,000 units worldwide. In the U.S., customers could choose between V-8- and V-12-powered models ranging from the 302-hp SL500 with a 5.0-liter V-8 to the ludicrous bi-turbocharged 6.0-liter V-12 SL65 AMG Black Series, which served up 661 hp.
In 2006, the SL was upgraded with a 5.5-liter V-8 good for an additional 81 hp and gained the SL550 name in the States. 2009 brought a major facelift with all-new front fascia and revised interior, as well as the 518-hp SL63 AMG that’s powered by AMG’s naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8. Transmissions ranged from five to seven speeds over the R 230’s run, and all models were, of course, rear-wheel drive.
The next-generation SL – codenamed R 231 – is due to make its debut at the Detroit auto show in January and go on sale in Europe in March of next year. It will be built at Mercedes’ plant in Bremen, alongside C-, E-, GLK-, and SLK-Class product lines.