Mercedes-Benz SL Interior Layout & Technology | Top Gear
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Saturday 30th September


What is it like on the inside?

Inside, it’s AMG GT meets new S-Class. Aviation influences are everywhere, with a wing-like structural concept bolstered by four galvanised turbine nozzle air vents. The 12.3in display ahead of the driver has a clever cut-out section at the top of it, the display itself featuring some SL-bespoke graphics and read-outs. The steering wheel is seriously busy: as well as the haptic sensors for the main display, the SL adds two further AMG drive mode controls at the bottom.

The cabin is dominated by the 11.9in portrait format central touchscreen, which can be electrically adjusted from 12 degrees to 32 degrees to diminish reflections when the roof is lowered. The display is lovely to look at. Mostly it's pretty usable too, but you need to put a lot of time into customising it so the functions you use most often are somewhere near the top of the menus. And the on-screen slider to lower the roof is unforgivably fiddly. This car needs more switches.

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The door panels are cleverly layered and the whole set-up looks particularly good at night. Points are deducted for the capacitive door mirror buttons which don’t work if they get wet. And, as on the S-Class, the pop-out door-handles can be irritatingly fiddly to use.

The seats are sculpted to appear lighter than they actually are with a headrest that’s integrated into the backrest; most importantly, they’re fabulously comfortable. They heat and cool and electrically adjust zillions of ways, and those functions have actual buttons on the door hurrah. An HUD comes with all but base versions; a superb hi-fi is standard across the range.

Note also that the new SL returns the car to a 2+2 seating configuration for the first time since 1989’s R129 model, although it’s strictly for kids, shopping, or someone you don’t like. Apparently the 240-litre boot can swallow two sets of golf clubs, but it couldn’t accommodate TG’s over-square suitcase.

AMG’s Track Pace data logger is standard on the 63: it can record more than 80 data parameters, and you can add your own circuits to sit alongside those already stored in the system. This is an SL that you might even venture onto a circuit in.

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