Home » The Mercedes-AMG SL Appears To Have A Standard Head-Bonking Function

The Mercedes-AMG SL Appears To Have A Standard Head-Bonking Function

Mercedes Sl Bonk Ts2
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As long as I can remember, I’ve had a fascination with motorized convertible tops, and I suspect I’m not the only one. Maybe it has something to do with Transformers, but I reckon it’s mostly because they’re mesmerizingly complex pieces of engineering, litanies of tiny moving parts all designed to hide your weather protection below deck, then clean things up.

It’s also fairly typical for power tops to have quirks, and the current Mercedes-AMG SL might have the biggest powered top quirk on the new car market.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

For the first time in decades, the SL is available in the American market with rear seats. Tiny rear seats, but rear seats nonetheless. After all, the Porsche 911 is the European sports car to beat, and it has room for four in a pinch, so why not? However, the rear seats in the SL are quite close to several important convertible top components, including ones that hide the mechanism when the roof’s down. Check it out, as YouTube user Straight Schmitt demonstrates the undeniably awesome remote key fob top operation function. Dropping the top of your whip from the key? That’s a hard flex right there.

In just about any other expensive four-seat cabriolet with a motorized top, corner flaps on the tonneau cover simply hinge up to allow the roof mechanism to do its thing. Not on the SL, however; it doesn’t use a rigid tonneau cover as such. And so, two huge flaps hide the roof mechanism. There aren’t many places for them to go; if they flipped up, they’d be in the path of the roof, so Mercedes-AMG has decided to turn them into the world’s dullest guillotine blades. Watch the video again …

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Mercedes Sl Panel Motion

Did you catch that? The trim panels lift up and rotate inwards, away from the path of the roof but directly towards rear seat passengers’ necks. The edge of each panel actually appears to extend forward of the rear seat backrest by several inches, which could be an uncomfortable surprise for rear passengers who aren’t either extremely short or leaning forward.

Mercedes-AMG SL top

Curiously, I’ve combed the owners manual and haven’t found mention of a soft top interlock based on whether the rear seat belts are buckled, with the only reference to rear seat interference being “Make sure that no child seats are installed on the rear bench seat and that no other objects (e.g. behind the rear seats) interfere with the movement of the so͔ top above the window sill.” In this case, are rear passengers objects? Actually, never mind, I don’t want to know.

If you find yourself in the rear seat of a Mercedes-AMG SL and see the driver reach for the roof switch, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to turn your head towards the center of the car and press your temple against the front seat backrest. At the very minimum, it may prevent you from receiving an unsolicited bonking. Now there’s a sentence I didn’t expect to write today.

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(Photo credits: YouTube/Straight Schmitt)

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Banana Stand Money
Banana Stand Money
28 days ago

Ah, it seems like some of you think that is a back seat for living warm human bodies. Its actually a luggage tray with retainer belts.

Harmon20
Harmon20
28 days ago

“Head-bonking” is a misnomer for this feature. It is more properly referred to by MB as the “RSS” – Rear Seat Sedation.

Given how tall someone would have to be for those panels to make cranial contact and the legroom that is available to said passenger, they will obviously be be in a great deal of discomfort if they have limbs, which is not at all to be assumed given the design of the ‘seat’. This feature renders the passenger who is tall enough to be engaged by it unconscious, or at least untethered from reality, thereby relieving their suffering.

Mercedes is all about comfort.

Last edited 28 days ago by Harmon20
Totally not a robot
Totally not a robot
29 days ago

Yes, technically speaking, that is a back seat.

Cayde-6
Cayde-6
29 days ago

Well, with a backseat like that, there sure as hell isn’t going to be any other bonking going on!

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
28 days ago
Reply to  Cayde-6

You get a serious Bonking approximately 3-5 years into your Mercedes ownership experience. It’s called deprecation. 😉

NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
29 days ago

I guess I know where the person who designed the tail lights on the Bolt ended up.

(If you own a Bolt, and are taller than 5’6″, you know EXACTLY what I mean).

Bob Rolke
Bob Rolke
29 days ago

It looks when the roof is up those pieces stay in their bonking positions. If so is the only way to take rear seat passengers to do so with the top down?

Totally not a robot
Totally not a robot
29 days ago
Reply to  Bob Rolke

Judging by the forward rake of the roof, they would need to be extremely vertically challenged to fit in the rear seat under the roof anyways.

Autonerdery
Autonerdery
29 days ago

I guess I don’t have experience with too many different four-place convertible models, but it was also true of the Saab 900 and BMW 328i convertibles my mom had that rear seat passengers had to duck or otherwise get out of the way during the top raising and lowering processes.

Not quite like this, but I especially remember in the Saab, at a certain point while raising the top, the tonneau would be up and the rear half of the top would pivot up by about 90 degrees to allow the tonneau to close, which meant that the (glass, heavy) rear window portion of the top was hanging down right in front of the rear headrests.

VanGuy
VanGuy
29 days ago

Holy crap. Even without the spinning guillotines, just looking at the folding bits of the top as it extends and retracts reminds me that I never want a convertible.

Speaking of, I can’t believe how rare I see hardtop Miatas for sale near me. I would think they’d be more popular.

Chronometric
Chronometric
29 days ago
Reply to  VanGuy

Many of the hardtops were purchased in the early 2000s for use in Spec Miatas.

Anthony Henderson
Anthony Henderson
29 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Those are Miata hardtops, not hardtop Miatas

Chronometric
Chronometric
29 days ago

Doh. Yeah I missed that.

Tony Cotton
Tony Cotton
29 days ago

I assume you are aware of the alternative meaning of “bonking” in the UK? Slightly archaic perhaps as it dates to the 80’s/90’s. But “Caution Bonk Zone” definitely caught my attention.

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
29 days ago
Reply to  Tony Cotton

Fellow 80s/90s survivor here from the US. I had the same reaction to the headline.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
29 days ago

Am I the only one who thinks there are times and places where receiving an unsolicited bonking is a good thing? Not here specifically. I’m just saying…

VanGuy
VanGuy
29 days ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

I read your comment right after reading “Tony Cotton’s” comment and it seemed very fitting.

Data
Data
29 days ago

Mazda NC/NC2 PRHT is the best hardtop. Slots right into the same area as the soft top without eating up valuable trunk space. The cover also lifts away from the passengers.

RalliartWagon
RalliartWagon
29 days ago

Pretty conclusive proof that Merc does not expect anyone to sit in those ridiculous seats, ever.

OttosPhotos
OttosPhotos
29 days ago

Add some blades, and voila, instant haircut. I’m sure there’s a German engineer out there who had figured out this solution to a non-existent problem.

Honestly, I’m surprised this is a first; I would have thought remote top up/down was a feature that had been implemented some time ago.

Last edited 29 days ago by OttosPhotos
Drew
Drew
29 days ago
Reply to  OttosPhotos

I’m pretty sure that key fob controls are available on several others. Corvettes for sure, but I think BMWs also. Maybe others. Might be a first for a Benz? Or an AMG? But I don’t think it’s a first in general.

Last edited 29 days ago by Drew
SaabaruDude
SaabaruDude
28 days ago
Reply to  Drew

Can confirm my 2007 BMW 335 convertible w/Comfort Access can open/close the top from the key fob

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
29 days ago
Reply to  OttosPhotos

The W209 CLK convertible has this feature – because it’s a fully-powered roof with no latches.
I’m certain the R230 SL had this too since they were introduced around the same time.

Last edited 29 days ago by Urban Runabout
Drew
Drew
29 days ago

I really want to see someone test this. Buckle in a dummy and see what happens and how forceful it is.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
29 days ago
Reply to  Drew

What will happen is the blades will impact the heads, the mechanisms will break, the roof will become non-functional, and the repairs will be $5000+.

Ask me how I know this.

Abdominal Snoman
Abdominal Snoman
29 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

I’ll bite, how DO you know this? 🙂

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
29 days ago

When parked in my carport backed under an overhead storage locker at the far end, I tried to remotely close the roof of my CLK.
The tonneau cover impacted the locker, snapped the plastic hinges – and that repair cost me $2000 at an independent Mercedes shop.

Increase the price for the repair from the dealer and double it for the pair of mechanisms.

Drew
Drew
29 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

I’m sorry you learned this, and I hope you do not learn it a second time.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
28 days ago
Reply to  Drew

Thank you – No more overhead storage in the new garage!

Bearddevil
Bearddevil
29 days ago

I still like the remote head-bonking feature of Volvo cars, where at the push of a button, you can whack your rear seat passengers in the head with the backseat headrests.

ILikeBigBolts
ILikeBigBolts
29 days ago
Reply to  Bearddevil

Dodge Durangos had that, too. I remember reading a review (probably on Jalop or TTAC) that mentioned the head whacker button on the dash. Lo and Behold, a month or so later I ended up with a 3-row durango for a family reunion and encouraged my father-in-law to push the button so I could see my brother-in-law (crammed in the back) get his head whacked remotely.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
29 days ago
Reply to  Bearddevil

Tom and Ray Magliozzi loved that feature: they called it the Dope Slap button

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
29 days ago

Grown up people made this happen, accountants, engineers, designers a whole train full of brilliant folk. As a species we might be doomed. Let us go out in a blaze of idiocy.

Bob
Bob
29 days ago

“See those seats,honey? It’s a *family* car!”

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