Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Classy new SL550 introduced at Hydro Place

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Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg used the backdrop of classy Rudy's Eat & Drink and Manitoba Hydro Place downtown on June 20 to unveil the equally classy 2013 SL550, the sixth generation of Mercedes-Benz's flagship model.

Speaking to about 100 invited guests, Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg president Brian Lowes described the new model as a "halo" car, a model that exemplifies the mystique and prestige of the Mercedes-Benz brand.

"Mercedes-Benz introduces a new SL model every 10 years," Lowes said. "The new technology incorporated into the new SL will be subsequently built into all other new Mercedes-Benz models over the next five years."

Lowes noted a lot of small changes -- as many as 60 -- have gone into the new SL550.

"I test drove the new model in Halifax a month ago," he said. "It was an amazing experience."

Roger Man, Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg's sales manager, provided an overview of the SL550's features. The new model is powered by a 4.6L V8 engine that produces 429 hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. The new SL550 is also almost a second quicker at reaching 60 mph than the previous car (4.5 seconds, as compared with 5.3 seconds), with a top speed of 250 kilometres an hour. It has 22-per-cent better fuel economy, thanks to its new ECO start/stop technology and lightweight aluminum body shell. The new car weighs 275 pounds less than the previous car model, even though it is two inches longer, 2.2 inches wider and packed with new safety systems and electronic amenities.

Man pointed out the model's aggressive front-end look, enhanced by upward-slanting headlights and the retractable open-air roof with wind management (including Airscarf neck vents and an electrically operable wind blocker behind the seats). New this year is Magic Sky Control, which turns the roof's glass panel dark, like a pair of sunglasses.

The SL is roomier, with more shoulder and elbow room, and seats that can be adjusted 12 ways. The trunk holds a roll-on bag or two with the roof raised, or soft-sided bags when it's lowered; a trunk button powers the roof panels up and out of the way for slightly easier cargo loading.

All SL models also come with Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system, which includes a seven-inch display screen, a DVD changer, web browsing with Google search functionality and navigation.

MMDA awards Red River Ex Foundation scholarships

Congratulations to Steven Evans and David Gagola, this year's scholarship winners in the automotive technician secondary and collision refinishing post-secondary categories at the annual Red River Exhibition Foundation Inc. scholarship presentations on June 18. The awards were presented to Evans and Gagola by John Carey (president of Focus Hyundai) representing the Manitoba Motor Dealers Association, which sponsors the two scholarships in partnership with the Red River Exhibition Foundation.

Evans completed the automotive certificate program at Red River College as an honours student with a 4.02 GPA. Currently he is enrolled in the apprenticeship program. He decided on a career in automotives because he believes it's a high-demand industry where he will always find employment. In the future, his goal is to own and operate an automotive business.

Gagola won a bronze medal in this year's Manitoba Skills Competition. He is currently completing his work practicum at Parkside Ford. His goal for the next five years is to achieve his red seal certification as a refinishing technician and obtain permanent employment in a car dealership or autobody shop as a highly qualified painter.

The Foundation was created in 1996 to assist the Red River Exhibition Association in recognizing the achievements of Manitobans. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded more than $100,000 to assist young Manitobans in furthering their careers in the aerospace, agriculture and agri-food, automotive, business or tourism industries. In 2012, 21 scholarships were awarded in five industry sectors, with a total of $19,000 being presented. The MMDA has partnered with the foundation since 2006.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 29, 2012 F3

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