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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Welly 1:24 2014 Mercedes-Benz SL500




Normally i'm not a big fan of vehicles that come from Mercedes-Benz.  Don't get me wrong that i'm not saying that I don't enjoy a few of them every now and then but to me personally I never liked luxury cars, especially in silver, and that's what a lot of vehicles from M-B are.  Then again, if its sporty and in red with AMG touches then i'm hooked, and that was the case with the SLS-AMG.  However, Welly's execution of the modern-day gullwing was less-than-stellar.  The surprise result:  The execution of this SL500.



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Mercedes Iconic Roadster

Nothing says M-B roadsters like the SL family.  First born as a gullwing coupe and roadster back in the 1950's: both based on racing heritage and both extremely rare and valuable today.  The SL shifted course to a smaller and more visible roadster and coupe to be status symbols throughout the 1960's and 1970's.  By the 1980's the SL was starting to become dated, just how?: The size of the SL in the 1980's was close to an Alfa Romeo Spider, just a smidge larger than a Mazda Miata!  In 1989 a long-overdue redesign took place to finally give the SL its proper size and luxury for the price.  In 2002 a redesign smooth out the lines and for the first time eliminated the coupe as the new folding hardtop, a cue taken from the SLK roadster, made that decision in one car.  Since then the SL has not parted much from the 2002 redesign aside from some engine changes, styling changes, and more AMG models.




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The 2014 SL takes styling cues from the SLS-AMG inside-and-out.  The front has headlights that are larger, rounder, and with the rounded grille in upright fashion a more aggressive look.  The lower bumper has LED foglights, the hood and front fenders have vents to extract heat from the hood (i'll explain why in a little bit) with silver strips, the exterior mirrors have stripped signal lights, while the rear has rounded taillights with a cool neon pipe pattern, signal lights, and the reverse lamp moved to the bumper.  It takes a while to get used to the styling, but after a while it looks pretty smooth even if the upright front-end seems out-of-place.  The interior has the SLS's horizontal layout with flat-bottom 3-spoke steering wheel, round silver air vents, round gauges in a silver pod, screen nicely located in the center of the dashboard, and supportive seats with lumbar, massage, cornering support, and airscarf system to blow hot air on your neck when the top is down on a cool day.  The newest feature to the folding hardtop is the panoramic roof that gives added interior light even when the top is up and can automatically block out the sun, if needed.  M-B has given up on the 2+2 culture of the SL and eliminated the rear seat; it is now a shelf to place small items instead.



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The chassis has a multilink suspension setup with air springs that adjust ride damping and control body motions, especially in emergency maneuvers.  The tires are larger at the rear, while the low profile tires join the 5-spoke wheels and slotted rotors.  The biggest engine change is the new 4.7L twin-turbocharged DOHC V8 that has the dual turbos inside the V of the engine, whereas the intake is where the exhaust headers usually are (and hence the hood and fender vents).  This motor produces 429 hp and 516 Ib-ft. of torque, plenty of power for a vehicle weighing in at 1,845 kilograms, through the rear wheels by a 7-speed automatic with manumatic feature.  Even if its a large GT roadster, it is still a pretty fast one as well, one of the hallmarks of the current SL's recently, along with it's six-figure pricetag.

Before:


After:






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Sharp Welly version, with a little more enhancement

That red, with the sharply-detailed 5-spoke wheels and slotted brake rotors that spin around a stationary brake caliper with Mercedes-Benz on the calipers just screams AMG model even if it isn't.  Now for a name nomeclature: How come this is badged as an SL500 instead of an SL550 in other countries?  Well as it turns out only a few countries (like the United States) have the new name while the rest prefer to use the older SL500.  Why, I dunno but either way the numbers don't match the engine size, so just call it the SL. The front has the large grille with silver three-point star flanked by headlights that have lots of detail in a 3D setup, and it looks amazing!  The lower grill has an AMG look with large scoops, horizontal chrome strip with LED foglights.  The hood and fender scoops also have silver trim parts as well, along with the exterior mirrors with signal lights, and to the rear with the taillights that have the detailed neon light pipes, the SL500 plate, and the chrome exhaust tips smoothly integrated into the rear bumper.  Note the reverse lamp as I added that feature with a silver sharpie; speaking of which the base has added details mostly to the exhaust system and rear suspension as the front of the vehicle has the typical undercarriage aero covers.  The top, like so many SL diecast models recently, does not fold into the trunk and you have to choose between a closed top or open top look, but not both.  For the first time I don't have to choose as the hardtop comes with the cool panoramic sunroof so you can have the best of both worlds!


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The interior, once again, needed improvements as it just looks like mostly a coal black interior with a few small details.  I remedy that with a silver sharpie to add the silver dash, console, and door accents, and then the twist: instead of using the red paint as used in the 1:24 2005 Mustang GT from Welly I used Candy Apple Red to give it a burgundy finish to the interior.  Not only is it classy and high-end but also prevents the red color from blinding you in the mostly open-air profile of the SL (top up or down).  I must say I like how the color really cam out for this interior, as it joins the bolstered seats with air scarf system, the console with the navigation screen control and shift knob, the flat dashboard with central controls, round air vents, and a nicely integrated screen in the center.  The gauges are a silver pod with 270 degrees of freedom for the tach and speedometer to spin around, all sit behind the 3-spoke wheel with lots of color accents.  Also the pedals got a dose of silver accents, while the rear shelf gains its own silver bar, and lets not forget the rearview mirror bundled with quite a few detailed controls in it.  Finally, engine bays are not really a bright point in today's modern cars as the mechanicals, some mostly sloppy work, are covered in vast plastic engine covers, so on this M-B that would be the cast it seems.  However, thanks to the central turbo location that isn't the case as the engine cover leaves room for the silver intake to intercooler path to brighten up the black engine bay, the intake to the turbo's to show off, and even the drive belt is visible though the upper pulley is not vertically flat like it should be.  I was impressed on how this engine bay really turned out!



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Never before have i've been smitten by a Mercedes-Benz, but this SL500 from Welly has got to be the most sporty, good-looking, fun-to-drive, and sharply detailed M-B that i've ever encountered by far!

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