The all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has arrived, and other premium carmakers will, once again, spend years trying to catch up to the latest generation of this automotive icon. In the meantime, you can enjoy the car they’ll be trying to catch, the 429-hp SL550 Roadster.
Few cars really deserve the “icon” descriptor. One of those is surely the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, a luxury sports car that emerged from a successful purpose-built racing machine 60 years ago. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550, with an MSRP of $105,500, adds a new and exciting chapter to the model’s 60-year heritage.
Your first glance at the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Roadster reveals a startling combination of familial resemblance to SL-Class models past and elegant evolution. The taller, bolder front-end design, with its wide grille, hearkens back to the very first production 300 SL-Class “Gullwing” Coupe in 1954. You can also see a connection to the powerful visage of today’s limited-production Mercedes SLS AMG.
The all-new 2013 SL-Class is a bit longer and wider, to provide more interior room, yet it is also 275 pounds lighter than its esteemed predecessor, the result of a switch to advanced, all-aluminum body construction. The weight reduction comes even as Mercedes has increased equipment levels in the SL-Class, the result of using aluminum and other lightweight materials throughout the car. For example, the retractable hardtop roof has a magnesium frame. Reducing weight at such a high point on the car also serves to lower the center of gravity, which in turn helps sharpen handling.
Of course, you want to know what kind of power lurks beneath that long aluminum hood. Buckle up and hold on, because the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 unleashes 429 hp and a massive 516 lb/ft of torque from a twin-turbo, direct-injection 4.6-liter V8. That’s a whopping 32 percent increase in torque over the previous SL550, a car nobody’s ever accused of coming up short in that department. At the same time, the 2013 SL550 consumes less fuel than the previous model.
Working through an equally advanced seven-speed automatic transmission, the new powerplant will move the SL550 from rest to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. When futurists suggested that people would be strapping on personal jetpacks by the 21st
century, perhaps this is what they had in mind. A new Eco-Stop/Start system seamlessly shuts down the engine at stoplights and certain other idling situations, saving fuel.
Mercedes SL-Class models have always balanced handling agility and ride comfort in a way that has eluded the competition, and the newest model elevates that precedent to a new level. Choose from the standard Agility Control suspension or optional Active Body Control (ABC), a technology Mercedes-Benz has tuned especially for this model.
The 2013 SL550 introduces two roof options – a standard Panorama roof with a see-through glass panel and sliding sunshade, or MAGIC SKY CONTROL. At the push of a button, MAGIC SKY CONTROL uses electric current to vary the amount of light this roof lets in, ranging from virtually transparent to a dark state, at the driver’s discretion. In either case, the top lowers in less than 20 seconds.
Luxury, as you’d expect from a new SL-Class, transcends the previous model and other premium sports cars. Standard heated seats and a power windblocker that rises behind them help extend top-down driving into the cooler months. The available AIRSCARF blows warm air through vents in the seatbacks onto your neck and shoulders, working like a “virtual scarf” on a cool evening. In summer, blazing sun and heat won’t necessarily compel you to raise the top. Available Active Ventilated seats circulate air through perforations in the seats, which, by the way, are covered in heat-reflecting leather.
In any weather, the 2013 SL550 puts life into any music with a standard 600-watt, 14-speaker harman/kardon surround-sound system that employs two new FrontBass® subwoofers. The available exotic Bang & Olufsen Beosound audio system delivers a sonic experience unlike any other in a luxury sports car today.
The 2013 SL550 also launches the second-generation mbrace2 telematics system, which harnesses the internet and your smartphone to keep you connected, no matter how you connect. Send Google Maps® directions to the car from your phone or computer, for example, or connect with emergency services or a helpful concierge.
Come in and test-drive the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 and experience a genuine automotive icon.