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The 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL400, the new base model SL Roadster, will start at $84,000, offering the thrills of owning the company’s flagship roadster without a six-figure price tag. The addition gives buyers an option below the once-entry level SL550, designed for those who prefer a casual highway cruise to an adrenaline-injected track day.

Mercedes SL Roadsters have been at the top of the convertible pecking order for generations, stretching back to the glorious 300SL of the 1950s. The SL-Class, living up to its luxury roadster character, has never been cheap, but the SL400 will at least lower the price for more money conscious shoppers.

Working its way into the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class configurator on the company’s website, the SL400 will be the new base model SL.

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Powered by a 3.0L liter, twin-turbocharged V6, the SL400 will produce 329 horsepower and 354 lb.-ft of torque. Its 0-60 sprint will take a respectable 5.1 seconds, but compared to some of its close company, the performance of the SL400 will be nothing spectacular. Downsizing to the smaller, cheaper, and more powerful SLK55, or up to the more premium SL550, 0-60 times drop by more than half a second. If it’s affordable performance you’re after, look somewhere else, because the SL400 is far from the best value.

For those that want to cruise through Beverly Hills with the top down, the SL400 might just be the perfect car. It’s over $20k cheaper than the SL550, not to mention the AMG models, which can cost upwards of $200k. Sure, the top of the line model comes with twice as many cylinders and twice the displacement – and more than twice the torque – but when it comes down to it, the basic chassis is exactly the same.

With the upcoming Mercedes-AMG GT designed to tackle the Porsche 911, and the cheaper SLK taking on the lower class roadsters, the SL400 is free to be exactly what Mercedes wants it to be – a luxurious, comfortable roadster.

As is the case with many German cars, be wary of the options list. Fully loaded, the base model SL comes out to nearly $120k, as Mercedes has found a way to charge for every small detail. There are a few that are arguably worth while, like the wide array of wheel designs and the Bang & Olufsen stereo, but be wary how many boxes are ticked, as going option-crazy can quickly spiral out of control.

Via: automedia