with its new ‘SL’ roadsters, mercedes-benz is debuting three new technologies: a lightweight frame, redesigned music system, and adaptive windshield wipers

with a new model of its ‘SL‘ (‘sporty, lightweight’) roadster, mercedes-benz presents three new technologies: a redesigned, lightweight aluminum bodyshell; the ‘concert hall’ -like ‘frontbass’ audio system; and a system of automatically controlled adaptive windshield wipers.

the vehicle features an 89% aluminum bodyshell, which, at 560 pounds (254kg) makes the car over 40% lighter than a comparable standard frame. structural components are optimized for specific tasks, and as a result the vehicle utilizes both chill cast and vacuum die cast aluminum, extruded sections, and plates of varying thicknesses (including one of double thickness for the passenger compartments), secured by a range of MIG welding, hemming, bonding, rivets, and other techniques. lightweight magnesium is used for the rear panel while the A-pillars utilize high-strength steel tubing. many sheet metal parts are designed to enable the use of 100% recycled aluminum in their construction.

aluminum and steel-based door hinges are friction-based, permitting doors to remain securely open at any angle.

mercedes benz new SL roadster top view of the new ‘SL’ body

mercedes benz new SL roadster 3/4 view

mercedes benz new SL roadster view of front cabin / dashboard frame

mercedes benz new SL roadster detail of construction

mercedes benz new SL roadster breakdown of the structural composition of the lightweight frame

mercedes benz new SL roadster concept of the ‘frontbass’ system

in addition to improving the vehicle’s fuel efficiency and handling, the frame utilizes an unconventional body structure that enables the ‘front bass’ music system design, and indeed the 2012 ‘SL’ models will be the first to feature mercedes’s ‘front bass’ audio system, which provides clearer bass and dynamic range even when the car is driven as a cabriolet. instead of featuring bass speakers installed in the doors, the system places them in the footwell in front of the driver and front passenger, a location made possible by the redesigned skeleton. cavities behind the speakers act as resonating chambers, while the location at the vehicle’s front, framed by the floor and underside of the dashboard, funnels and concentrates the sound.

the mid and high -range loudspeakers are located in the doors, dashboard, and vehicle rear at a height close to the occupants’ ear level, providing increased sound fidelity.

the new ‘SL’ comes standard with ‘frontbass’, with optional addition of a harman kardon logic surround sound system or bang & olufsen power amplifiers.

mercedes benz new SL roadster the ‘magic vision control’ wiper system in use

to further increase safety mercedes has developed the ‘magic vision control’ wiper system to increase washing efficacy and prevent the visual occlusions that occur with conventional wiper spray. a system of ducts channels water directly to the wiper blades themselves, releasing it via small openings in the direction of the wiper’s movement. three automatic washing programs optimize the amount of water relative for summer or winter, further adapting the water quantity based on the ambient temperature, road speed, and current driving conditions.

a special setting automatically enacted in cabriolet mode reduces the amount of water and releases it only on the downward stroke of the wiper, preventing any water from spraying into the interior.

mercedes also offers optional wiper blade heating to prevent snow from forming on the blades in winter.

mercedes benz new SL roadster rear view of the exterior of one of the ‘SL’ roadsters

mercedes is expected to unveil the ‘SL’ roadster in january 2012 at the north american international auto show (NAIAS) in detroit.

via gizmag