Stuttgart - The German Design Council has honoured the Mercedes-Benz SL Class with this year's German Design-Prize. This is Germany's highest official design award. It is funded by the country's Federal Ministry for Economy and Technology. The official awards ceremony is being held today in Frankfurt am Main.
In the view of the ten-person jury, which brings together design experts from German, Great Britain and Holland, the Mercedes-Benz SL sports car satisfies the very highest of standards across the full range of assessment criteria. Key parameters include design quality, practicality, technical quality and an overall concept firmly underpinned by intelligence.
The award-winning SL Class is the fifth generation of the now legendary Mercedes sports car whose career was launched exactly 50 years ago with the "gullwing" 300 SL. Inspirational design, modern technology, superlative safety and ultimate standards of motoring pleasure are qualities which have been ascribed frequently to this dream car ever since.
The lines of the modern Mercedes-Benz SL Class symbolise the status of technological leadership of the brand while at the same time inspiring a fascination with open-top motoring. In an understatedly reverential but nonetheless highly effective manner, the designers have created links with the great grandfather of this model range dating from 1954 and, in so doing, uphold and develop the rich historical tradition of the Mercedes sports car. Typical SL features blend seamlessly with the modern design hallmarks which characterise the Stuttgart-based automotive marque.
Roadster and coupé combined
With its holistic new safety concept, the SL Class has become the example to aspire to for a whole new generation of sports cars. This concept embraces all aspects of vehicle safety - from accident prevention with a range of electronic dynamic driving systems through structural body safety and out to a capacity for ensuring rapid rescue of occupants after a road accident. Standards of occupant safety are raised to a new level with an ultra-strong body shell and a host of other features including two-stage airbags for driver and passenger, head/thorax side airbags, integral seats, seatbelt tensioners, belt force limiters and an automatic, sensor-controlled rollover bar.
A real innovation in this vehicle class is the Vario roof which literally converts the SL Class into a driving experience entirely free of any compromise. Indeed, this Mercedes sports car can deliver all the motoring pleasure of an open-top roadster with all the comfort of a coupé.
The sales figures demonstrate that this concept has convinced the market. Since its launch in October 2001, the SL-Class has been purchased by more than 87,000 drivers worldwide, making this fifth generation of the Mercedes sports car the most successful one yet.
(Aug 27, 2004)