Not too dissimilar from the original SPD-SL, the new generation of road pedals from Shimano builds on the performance of the older models. The changes are subtle and the new SPD-SL even uses the same cleat to avoid any compatibility issues.
The biggest difference comes from the bigger contact area. Shimano claim this has increased by 53 per cent. It certainly fits with bigger, broader looks, and underfoot you certainly notice that larger area; those with wide feet will love the feel and extra support - the pedal feels reassuring whatever power you're putting through or pulling up with. Another noticeable upgrade is the replacement of the old plastic mid-plate with a metal one, which will wear a lot better and maintain the secure feel.
Entry and exit is spot on and features adjustable release tension. The pedal hangs nicely at the lights and you can engage with a resounding clunk, first time, 90 per cent of the time. We've had no problem with the cleats either.They last longer than Look cleats and they grip better for walking. Bearings are smooth and very easy to service.