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Mercedes SLC, BMW 6 Series and Porsche 928: In the fast lane - German sports coupés

Frank Herzog
Mercedes SLC, BMW 6 Series and Porsche 928
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The conversation at the huge Shell petrol station on Munich's largest arterial road is not entirely free of prejudices. A couple of mature car enthusiasts curiously get out of their Audi A6 Avant, BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class. They take on the extravagant coupé trio, which are thirsty refueling at the petrol pumps after a speed-hungry airport photo session. BMW 635 CSi, Mercedes 450 SLC 5.0 and P orsche 928 S are always good for 15 liters of Super Plus with a species-appropriate driving style, their tanks hold 70, 86 or even 90 liters.

BMW 635 CSi - the youngster of the trio - and the most harmonious

The BMW 635 CSi, coolly bathed in functional Polaris metallic, is initially little appreciated by the communicative group of connoisseurs. “It's just a 5 Series Coupé,” they say. 'Much too long overhangs and not even a real hardtop coupé with fully retractable side windows,' even complained the BMW driver. And adds knowingly: “The predecessor 3.0 CSi was able to do that much better.” A third, the one with the A6, painfully misses the Audi Quattro at our German bolide contest and finds the spoiler-reinforced BMW 635 CSi sports version “too uninspiring, too fluffy, almost a bit half-powerful. ”From 1980 the top model was even available with an automatic. None of them know that the petite BMW 635 CSi with its fine facial features and the narrow C-pillar is the most balanced, the most harmonious of them all. It is fast, spacious, economical and quiet.

You can let the BMW 635 CSi run at medium speed as a fast freeway glider at 160 km /h or challenge it beyond 5,000 rpm in the winding bends of lonely low mountain district roads. Its handling is of playful ease. Its mild tendency to push the rear outwards is a brand-typical homage to the sporty driver. Oversteer is just part of a BMW like kidney, Hofmeister kink and six-cylinder.

Mercedes 450 SLC - rally winner and solid like a castle

The yellow and white gas pump is reflected in the silver-green paint of the Mercedes 450 SLC 5.0. The pistol only engages at 82 liters. Our group of connoisseurs celebrates the rare lightweight SLC, which carries doors, hoods, wheels and an engine block made of aluminum, like a returning winner. “With these heavy onesThe Waxenberger won all the overseas rallies tremendously in the late seventies, ”enthuses the 270 CDI driver loyal to the star, although he prefers the really big coupés based on the S-Class. “The South America Rally, the Bandama on the Ivory Coast and the East African Safari” sounds the other, and adds: “This is a car, solid as a castle, admirably elegant and dignified, feels a class higher than the BMW. ' He's right. Eight-cylinder stands out six-end - no matter how good it is. That's how evolution wants it.

A long wheelbase crowns the figure. The Mercedes 450 SLC is once again a beautiful car, even the smiling look from the chrome-made face turns you on. The playful slats in the rear side windows suit him well. What are they supposed to do? Do you ask women about the meaning of jewelry? The 5-series touring driver suddenly defends his brand. “If the BMW 635 CSi seems half-powerful, then this is especially true for the Mercedes 450 SLC 5.0 with the rear spoiler and the strangely contrasting stripe around this silly checker plate. In addition, the BMW with the crisp five-speed sports transmission accelerates significantly better than the Mercedes with its slow three-speed automatic. ”

One wonders why the lush, sweeping Mercedes weighs only 50 kilograms more than the BMW. Its five-liter aluminum V8, which does not require steel bushings due to its special treads, is no heavier than the murderous beating of an in-line six-cylinder with the distinctive, unmistakable head that is part of the white-blue brand's creed.

Lightweight SLC - safety, sovereignty and restrained sportiness

Even the light Mercedes 450 SLC conveys a Teutonic heaviness behind the less sensitive, somewhat misshapen truck steering wheel, which in sluggish contrast to the Italian lightness of the BMW stands. The Mercedes 450 SLC understeers more and has to be forcefully forced into tight corners. Only at very high speeds does it turn in as if by itself and oversteer easily, always controllable.

The advantage of this good-natured perseverance in the Mercedes 450 SLC lies in the feeling of security and security. The fact that the steering wheel sticks too close to the windshield and the wipers lazily lounging around in the field of vision does not change that. Despite moderate acceleration values, the high-torque V8, which rushes off the bottom of the valley when the gas pedal is pressed, always suggests the impression of sovereign power reserves. This is mainly due to its rich acoustic presence. The deep rumble turns into a hoarse staccato beyond 3,500 rpm. His voice still sounds finer than that of the rough American eight-cylinder. The Mercedes 450 SLC does not scream its potency unrestrainedly, just as little as its wealth.

Leather, velor or checkered sports mattresses were available in five-pointers for furnishing,the metallic paint even at no extra charge. The war paint and type designation could also be canceled if you wanted to look like a 280 SLC. Just had to have a touch of burr walnut around the center console. Only the successor Mercedes 500 SLC operated with a hand ax with four gears in the incorrigible zigzag backdrop. That fit much better because the Teutonic aluminum-silicon V8 likes speed differently than the Americans.

Porsche 928 S - the intellectual or 'A car like Grace Jones'

Everyone suddenly agrees, A6 Avant 270 CDi, 530d Touring - the Porsche 928 S is cool! Of all things, the car, which is otherwise the most controversial in the gasoline talks, meets with spontaneous applause in the random round of petrol stations: “This timeless shape, straight from the future,” enthuses the A6. “A sculpture, as if made for the Museum of Modern Art”, cheers the 270 CDI. 'An animal monster, like from another planet, a car like Grace Jones,' lectures the 530d euphorically.

No other sports car embodies the unrestrained seventies as consistently as this iris blue Porsche 928 S. Question everything conventional, do everything differently, an explosive one Mixture of plastic madness, pop art, Afri-Cola frenzy and avant-garde. Chief designer Anatole Lapine was probably inspired by the short, wide AMC Pacer. The Porsche 928 is by no means beautiful in the classic sense. He totally polarizes. Lots of details are just creepy - the bike lights, the phone rotary dials, the massive porthole door frames, and the recessed taillights. But the total work of art is right, it has dynamism and attraction. The Porsche 928, along with the Citroën SM and the Mercedes C 111, is the most intellectual of all cars.

Inside, the enormously wide, yet figure-hugging Porsche 928 wraps its crew in a soft plastic and leather living area from Interlübke. The whole thing is not unfunctional, with large, high-contrast round instruments garnished with wobbly licorice knobs.

Almost everything about it is bizarre

The shutter of the selector lever gate, the selector lever display integrated in the rev counter, the lift-like storage compartments in the door panels, the window antenna and the illuminated make-up mirror in the headliner . For driver and front passenger. Technically, the Porsche engineers have given the Porsche 928 S everything that is good and expensive - transaxle and fully galvanized. The complex rear suspension with transverse and trailing arms is not called the Weissach axle for nothing. With its dynamic aggressiveness, it is far superior to the semi-trailing arm designs from BMW and Mercedes.

Under the waisted aluminum hood of the Porsche 928 is an optimally balanced oneTwin-cam 4.7-liter V8 made of light metal with silicon raceways similar to the Mercedes counterpart. But bucket tappets instead of rocker arms press on the valve springs, and the long toothed belt makes the Porsche 928 engine suspicious today. The high compression ratio of 10.4: 1 finally takes half the thirst of the extremely melodious 310 hp eight-cylinder in the Porsche 928 S. The crew sits perfectly in soft leather. The shape and acoustics of the car are in harmony. The V8 trumpets infernally and breathtakingly over 4,500 rpm, the four-speed automatic from Daimler-Benz does not disturb the feelings of pleasure in the least, the speed level is even lower than that of the Mercedes 450 SLC and the BMW 635 CSi, the Porsche 928 also sees itself as a boulevard sports car . But the driver's heart beats faster in the 928. It is one of the splendid trio of cars par excellence for car enthusiasts. The three from the gas station think so too.

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