2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Unveiled

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Unveiled

2012 Detroit Auto Show

2012 Detroit Auto Show

Just the Facts:
  • Mercedes-Benz lifts the veil on the redesigned 2013 SL550.
  • The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 will make its public debut in January at the Detroit auto show.
  • The sixth-generation SL arrives next spring at U.S. dealers.

MONTVALE, New Jersey — After a series of official and unofficial leaks on the Internet, Mercedes-Benz has lifted the veil on the redesigned 2013 SL550. The sixth-generation SL makes its public debut in January at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show and arrives next spring at U.S. dealers.

The first production SL — the letters stood originally for Sport Leicht, or "sport light" — was the 1954 300SL, better known as the Gullwing, followed by the 190SL Roadster.

The latest SL550 sports a smaller, more powerful, yet more efficient 4.7-liter direct-injection V8 engine fitted with a stop-start system and mated to a seven-speed adaptive automatic transmission. The engine makes 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, providing 0-60 acceleration in 4.5 seconds. That time is nearly a second quicker than for the 2012 model, which is also 275 pounds heavier than its successor.

In comparison, the 5.5-liter V8 in the current SL500 makes 382 hp and 391 lb-ft, and is rated by the EPA at 14 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. It is equipped with a seven-speed automatic.

Mercedes-Benz says the 2013 SL features the company's first application of an all-aluminum body shell on a series-production car. It is nearly 2 inches longer and more than 2 inches wider than the 2012 model, with more shoulder and elbow room in the cockpit.

An Agility Control Suspension is standard, with the automaker's Active Body Control available at extra cost. The 2013 SL also gets a new electromechanical direct-steer system with speed-sensitive, variable-ratio power assist.

The new SL offers customers a choice of two retractable hardtops, each of which takes less than 20 seconds to open or close. A glass roof is standard, with a panoramic Magic Sky Control roof available as an option.

As usual, Mercedes-Benz has loaded up its premium two-seater with lots of advanced technology, some standard, some optional. The automaker's PreSafe collision protection system, Attention Assist drowsiness detection system and Adaptive Brake, with ABS, acceleration skid control and active yaw control, are standard, as are bi-xenon headlamps with active curve illumination, corner illuminating lamps and adaptive high-beam assist.

Among the available high-tech options are Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control; PreSafe Brake, which provides autonomous partial and emergency braking when radar sensors detect an imminent collision; Active Parking Assist, which automatically steers the car into a parking space; and Hands-Free Access, which automatically opens the deck lid when the driver swipes a foot below the rear bumper.

Mercedes-Benz provides a rich array of leather and wood trim and accents in the cockpit of the 2013 SL, which also features the latest version of the company's COMAND infotainment system. When the vehicle is parked, occupants can browse the Web and access such apps as Google Local Search, Yelp and Facebook with a paid subscription to the automaker's Mercedes-Benz mbrace2 in-vehicle connected services.

At launch next spring, Mercedes-Benz will offer a limited SL550 Edition 1, equipped with AMG 19-inch alloy wheels, AirScarf, designo red and black leather with contrasting top stitching and piano black lacquer wood trim, a Harman Kardon Logic7 surround-sound audio system and optional designo crystal silver magno special paintwork.

Edmunds.com says: Prices on the 2013 model won't be announced until closer to the on-sale date. The current 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL550 is priced from $104,525, including an $875 shipping charge.

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