2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class: First Look

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

  • Competes with: BMW 6 Series
  • Looks like: A more mature SLK-Class 
  • Drivetrain: 429-hp, 4.6-liter V-8; seven-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Spring 2012

Mercedes-Benz has updated most of its vehicle lineup with more fuel-efficient models in a relatively short amount of time, including the 2012 C-Class, M-Class and SLK-Class. The latest model to receive some efficiency gains is the totally redesigned 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.

Important takeaways include a body almost exclusively made out of aluminum and a new powertrain. 

The new lightweight aluminum body and aluminum steering knuckles and suspension arms, along with other weight-saving measures, shave off 275 pounds compared with the SL’s predecessor. 

The weight reduction helps with fuel efficiency, and so does the new 429-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8, which replaces the 5.5-liter V-8 on the SL550. The new motor offers a 12% improvement in horsepower and 32% more torque, now rated at 516 pounds-feet. The engine features a standard start-stop function and is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The new juice allows the SL550 to propel from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

The new model ditches the L-shaped headlights, which were more common on previous Benz products, with standard bi-xenon headlamps with articulating lenses. Compared with its predecessor, the new SL is longer (1.97 inches) and wider (2.24 inches), giving it a more sporty look out front.  

Two hardtop convertible roofs are available. Like what’s available on the SLK, there’s a hardtop glass roof or one that features Magic Sky Control, which can change the tint of the glass panel from opaque to transparent with the press of a button.

The extra space adds shoulder room and elbow room, Mercedes says. The overall interior design is reminiscent of what we’ve seen in the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class, featuring large metallic radial air vents. The SL550 features a standard 7-inch color display and Mercedes’ Comand multimedia system, which can access the internet and play DVDs. 

All SLs now come standard with a drowsiness detection system, which monitors the attentiveness of the driver, and an adaptive braking system. Also available is Mercedes' Pre-Safe technology, which can autonomously stop the car. It's similar to Volvo’s City Safe system. A self-parking system is available, too.

The 2013 SL550 goes on sale in the spring. Mercedes hasn’t announced pricing or the availability of a SL63 AMG model for that matter, but expect a starting price north of $100,000. The model will debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. 

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Comments 

jett1000

S.t.u.n.n.i.n.g.

Ken L.

Sorry, but the 2003 - 2008 SLs were the best designed. It was a classy, timeless art piece. Each iteration afterwards were either awkward looking, especially this upcoming one. It seems like they pasted several pieces from the past and present together to form this thing.

Nic

Front is way too bloated.

Happymantis

Why does this car look like the Green Goblin?!

I heard that the hoods on all cars are bloated these days due to the new safety standards. Something about clearance between the sheet metal and the hot engine in case of an accident.

In any event, I like the sound of 429 hp and 0-60 in 4.5 sec. I'm looking forward to driving the new SL when it hits the dealership.

Mike

I agree with Ken. Mercedes dropped the ball on this one. The front end is too droopy. The headlights and grille don't work with the design. It seems that all the proportions are a bit off and it doesn't look as expensive as the car it replaces. The last generation was more attractive looking. The back end looks like a BMW Z4. Not impressed.

Andy, you're right about about the hoods on cars being subject to new safety standards. I don't think it takes away from the car's appearance at all, and hopefully it reduces accident damage and saves lives. Regarding the SL-Class, it looks stunning. I've only driven the BMW 6 once, but I'd love to compare these two cars first-hand.

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