The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is a grand touring car manufactured by Mercedes since 1954. The designation SL derives from the German Sportlich-Leicht, (English: Sport Lightweight). The original idea was suggested by American importer Max Hoffman, who perceived a market for a toned-down Gran Prix car tailored to affluent performance enthusiasts in the booming post-war American market, which remains the primary market for the vehicles.
The term SL refers to the marketing variations of the vehicle, including the numerous engine configurations spanning six design generations.
The fifth generation SL was in production between 2001 and 2008. The all-new SL (initially just a 5.0-litre SL 500 version) featured a retractable hardtop (marketed as the Vario Roof) available on the SLK since 1997. This featured a 5.0-litre 302 hp (225 kW) V8, with a 5.4-litre AMG Supercharged V8 appearing in 2002’s SL 55 AMG. V12 engines were available in the SL 600 and the limited-production SL 65 AMG. The SL 350 3.7-litre (3724 cc) 18-valve V6 245 hp was only available in some markets.