- Max Speed
The era of the naturally aspirated engine is fast coming to an end. Take this new Mercedes-Benz SL400, a badge its glamorous clientele will much prefer over the car it replaces: out goes the free-breathing 3.5-litre SL350, in comes a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6.
There's more power and lots more torque, which means the SL400 is faster in every respect. The 0-62mph time drops by nearly a second, while in-gear acceleration is great for a car that weighs 1,730kg.
Because those torques arrive at just 1,600rpm, it's got easy, relaxed pace, too. Perhaps too easy, as the SL400 never feels that fast until you look down at the speedo. It's also a little light on charisma, but that's OK, because the SL's shtick is easy, long-distance pace, not point-to-point hairiness. And the new 400 does quiet and relaxed with the best of them.
That said, with the optional Active Body Control fitted, the SL400 does a fine job of cutting a line through twisties, with remarkable agility for such a big GT. As ever, the interior is pretty much as good as it gets, so top marks all round. Our only quibble is that the SL500 exists. That's got a lovely V8. And a better badge.
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