It was a no brainer. This spring when I learned that dear friends of mine were bringing their '60 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster to the very first Pinehurst, NC Concours d'Elegance held at Pinehurst Resort I decided it was time to call up Mercedes-Benz and see if I could pair up the classic 300SL roadster for a photo shoot with the newest member of the Mercedes-Benz SL family. Classic 300SL? Meet your youngest and second most powerful offspring, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG.
As many of you know, the all new SL63 AMG is nothing short of insane. The 5.5L AMG engine pops off a whopping 590 lb/ft of torque while dropping a 0-60 time of 4 secs. But I'm more interested in the aesthetics of such machines and less about the numbers. Dear lord. It's fast.
Unlike its rivals BMW and Audi, the new Mercedes-Benz lineup looks out-there, different, daring, brash, and unabashedly fierce. It's aggressive in all the ways that the 80's and 90's Mercedes were bland. Gone are the flat lines, the rounded rectangular modules of the grille, the flat metal body panels. All the snooze-fest blaaaaaaah has been replaced by interesting designs hellbent on making you look twice.
In a styling role reversal that has taken up the better part of the past few years, the new Audi's and BMW's have grown to look homogenous across their own lineups while Mercedes-Benz vehicles have started to break out of their quiet luxury shells and stand out from not only their own brothers and sisters in the lineup but also from their competitors.
I know what you're about to say. 'Do these two iconic cars match up?' Not in the least. The elder 300SL will always walk away with the design credit it deserves. Nothing on the road these days comes close to reconnecting with the beauty of historic cars, the curves, the materials, the craftsmanship. New cars are gigantic, heavy and bloated when paired up against such a wonderful piece of automotive history. I'm ok with that. But don't lose sight of what I'm saying here, the new SL holds its own.
The new aggressive front and rear end designs are polarizing for many people and for this, I commend Mercedes. Stepping out of the shadows of the last generation S Class vanilla has set them up for pushing the luxury design bar even higher. I applaud their tactics as I notice just how much of the new lineup vehicles stand out on the city streets. I'm all for it. When was the last time you said to yourself, "Oh hai, a new Mercedes". It has been a few years...
Just in case you have missed what I have been saying... I'll slow it down for you. The new SL holds its own. From their new unique headlights to flat facing grilles to chins to hood creases. For the SL63 specifically, the Mercedes designers have matched the exterior to the monster that lies beneath the hood. Finally. Aggression meets aggression. I honestly can't wait to see how many heads the CLA turns. Good or bad. I love the design direction that Mercedes is heading in.
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