Used 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
- Strong yet more efficient V8 engines
- luxurious interior
- retractable glass-roof hardtop
- posh ride quality
- iconic heritage.
- New exterior design sacrifices some fluid grace for square-jawed muscularity.
Used 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Effortless performance, proper luxury and trend-setting technology make the new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class as iconic as its predecessors.
A new generation of the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class comes around about once a decade. When it does, it's an occasion. Just about everything has been redesigned or changed for this sixth-generation 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, yet it pleasingly maintains its rightful place as a long-standing icon.
For 60 years, SL has stood for Sporty Lightweight. But SLs haven't qualified as light since the early 1970s, and the most recent SL was a porker. Weight-saving has been a priority this time around. The body is now 90 percent aluminum, and the SL's curb weight is down to around 4,000 pounds, or about 400 pounds less than the previous-generation model.
This weight loss is noticeable from the driver seat. The new SL-Class just feels lighter and less bulky on its feet. It also helps that there's even more power under the hood. The naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V8 that made 382 horsepower is history, replaced by a 429-hp 4.7-liter V8 with twin turbos, direct fuel injection and auto start/stop technology. Along with a new seven-speed automatic transmission, it also delivers up to 30 percent better fuel economy. The SL63 AMG gets a new engine as well, a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 good for 530 hp.
Besides performance, the SL easily exceeds its other expected qualities. There's the supremely smooth ride, an uncommonly elegant and quiet cabin and seats that pamper for hours -- or until the fuel tank runs dry. The SL also provides new safety equipment, useful connectivity and entertainment options and one of the industry's first glass roof panels that changes from nearly clear to smoky dark with the push of a button. This combination of technology and craftsmanship is part of the reason the SL remains so relevant and trend-setting.
Natural competitors include the Audi R8 Spyder, BMW 6 Series Convertible and the equally iconic and recently redesigned Porsche 911 Cabriolet. All offer high-performance versions. One could also consider the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Ferrari California, Jaguar XK and Maserati GranTurismo convertibles. Yet the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL is still such a compelling automobile because it seems to blend sports car, luxury car and grand touring car better than some manage to be any one of those things alone. And that's what makes an icon an icon.
Trim levels & features
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is a two-seat convertible with a retractable hardtop that is available in SL550, SL63 AMG and SL65 AMG trims.
The SL550 comes standard with a twin-turbo 4.6-liter V8, 18-inch wheels, a driver-selectable adaptive suspension, LED running lights, active bi-xenon headlamps, automatic high-beams, dual-zone automatic climate control, 12-way power seats (with heating, four-way lumbar adjustment and memory functions), sun-reflective leather upholstery, walnut- or ash-burl wood trim, a multifunction power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with shift paddles, auto-dimming rearview and driver-side mirrors, a power wind deflector and a power trunk lid.
Telematics and entertainment are covered by a hands-free Bluetooth-enabled telephone system, a navigation system, real-time traffic, voice controls and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system with a six-CD/DVD changer, satellite radio, HD radio, digital music storage and an iPod/USB media interface.
For added performance, the SL550's options include 19-inch wheels with high-performance tires, upgraded brakes, a sport steering wheel and an even more advanced, active suspension system. For added comfort and convenience, Mercedes also offers keyless ignition/entry, soft-close doors, a glass roof panel with adjustable transparency, a premium leather seating package, ventilated seats, dynamic and massaging seats, plus the AirScarf system that gently blows warm air on your neck. Also available are a wood steering wheel and power trunk that opens via a swipe of your foot beneath the rear bumper, and a Bang & Olufsen 12-speaker sound system.
The SL63 AMG is a high-performance variant that features a more powerful 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8, different 19-inch wheels and various AMG-tuned components (suspension, brakes, exhaust) and AMG-specific styling flourishes. The AMG Performance package adds greater engine output, a limited-slip differential, a more aggressively tuned suspension, forged alloy wheels, a beefier steering wheel and a higher top speed. Carbon-composite brakes and two more wheel choices plus a carbon-fiber kit are also available.
The SL65 AMG is outfitted much like the SL63 with one very large exception: a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12. It also lists as standard equipment nearly all of the SL550's optional equipment, such as keyless ignition/entry, soft-close doors, a glass roof panel with adjustable transparency, a premium leather seating package that includes heating and massaging 12-way power seats, plus the AirScarf system. Also, the navigation system, Bang & Olufsen audio and adaptive cruise control are standard. Optional equipment is limited to carbon-composite brakes and trim and styling options in carbon fiber.
To coincide with the launch of the 2013 SL-Class, there will be a very special "Edition 1" model for a very limited period. It will include AMG 19-inch alloy wheels, exclusive red/black leather with contrasting top stitching, AirScarf, the Harman Kardon audio system and special paintwork.
Performance & mpg
The rear-wheel-drive 2013 SL550 is powered by a new 4.6-liter twin-turbo V8 that produces 429 hp and 516 pound-feet of torque. Combined with automatic start/stop technology and a more fuel-efficient seven-speed automatic transmission, it earns an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. In Edmunds testing, we recorded an impressively quick 4.4-second 0-60-mph time.
Opting for the SL63 AMG upgrades to a new 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 that produces 530 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. It's also paired to a seven-speed automated manual transmission. An optional performance package ups the engine's output to 557 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. This SL63 will accelerate to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds by Mercedes' estimation. The EPA gives it a 16 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined rating.
The SL65 AMG comes with a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 that churns out 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. For 2013, the venerable V12 is also hooked up to a seven-speed automatic. In a recent Edmunds test, the SL65 AMG ran from zero to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 14/21/17 mpg.
Standard safety features on the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class include side airbags, new head airbags, knee bags for both driver and passenger, stability and traction control and antilock brakes with automatic brake drying. Also standard are automatically deploying roll hoops, an automated pre-collision system (it tightens belts, adjusts the seats and even rolls up the windows if it senses an imminent roll-over) and a sophisticated drowsy driver alert system.
The usual suite of safety options now includes front and rear parking sensors that scan available spaces and enable automated parking. A rearview camera and adaptive cruise control with pre-collision braking are familiar options, but active lane-keeping assist and active blind-spot assist both will apply a single brake to help guide the car back into its lane.
A new suite of connectivity is standard on the SL. Mercedes calls it mbrace2 and it combines advanced cloud-based and GPS technology and Web applications with 24-hour support from helpful experts. The mbrace hardware is standard, and a trial period for each of the three mbrace packages is included.
Mercedes-Benz is proud of its repeat buyers, and perhaps even more proud of its repeat SL buyers, of which we're told 40 percent opt for an AMG version. After one drive in a 2013 SL550, we know why. It simply did everything we asked of it -- both at the track and on the road.
The new turbocharged V8 offers effortless, seemingly endless power. The transmission is perhaps one of the most intelligent and responsive we've ever sampled, while the adaptive suspension should be an industry standard when it comes to composure and compliance. The inherent grip and agility will exceed most enthusiasts' expectations with ease -- and that was before we even drove the SL63 AMG.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has an ability to mask its impressive feats of performance with a silky-smooth presentation. It has a wide range of talents that makes it exceptional to drive anywhere. Few cars offer this much fun in as many environments. Accelerating to enter a freeway, cruising along the coast with the top down or racing up a mountain road, the SL always manages to put a smile on our face and every drive has a sense of occasion and is cause for celebration.
In terms of overall interior design, the SL is one of very few automobiles that masterfully blends rich, genuine materials, honest and obvious craftsmanship, and truly industry-leading technology. All too often we witness carmakers showcasing their advanced technology while sacrificing aesthetics and ergonomics, but not Mercedes-Benz. The SL's interior is both inviting and elegantly simple in its function. The presentation, execution and function are all top-notch.
If that won't impress your friends, the Magic Sky Control push-button tinted glass roof will. Mercedes says at its darkest setting, the thermal energy entering the cabin is less than a household light bulb. And even in its fully transparent mode, both UV and infrared rays are effectively blocked, helping keep the cabin cooler. Lowering the top is equally impressive. At less than 20 seconds in either direction, the geometric ballet never gets old.
For a roadster, the SL offers good cargo capacity and storage. With the top up, it holds 10.2 cubic feet of luggage and 7.2 cubic feet when the top is stowed. Mercedes' "Easy Pack" feature allows access to luggage even with the top stowed in the trunk. The cabin has good small storage and there's a surprising amount of room (and a generous bin) behind the seats.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
First of all, it's pronounced "Can." Not Cans. Or Kahn. Or Kahns.
If you're a jet-setter or an heiress or a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon with a lust for Tae Kwon Do, you probably already knew that. Cannes is a see-and-be-seen destination on the French Riviera for the "My Yacht Is Bigger Than Yours" Club. It's where the world's wealthy go to dine, drink wine, shop and tan. Oh, and watch movies. Cannes has hosted the Festival de Cannes, the world's premiere film festival, every May since 1946.
Cannes is the perfect place for this 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550. It fits the city like a fur-lined Versace glove.
But we're not in Cannes. We're not even in France. We're racing though southern Spain on our way to Marbella, a historic and breathtakingly beautiful resort town on the Mediterranean. The SL's retractable hardtop is stowed and the twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8 is seriously getting the job done.
It's here, blasting through the foothills of the Sierra Blanca under the warm sun of Andalusia, where the all-new SL550 is really showing us its chops. These roads are right out of Ronin: narrow, twisting and lined with strips of guardrail and slow-moving Fiat Puntos. There are fast sections and enough downhill, off-camber hairpins to test every aspect of this two-seater's dynamics.
After 125 miles, it's clear Mercedes-Benz has not screwed up the SL. In fact, it has made the SL better.
Less Weight, More Power
No easy feat. The SL that is being put out to pasture might date back to 2003, but it's still on our great-car list. And it still dominates the big-buck drop-top market against such rivals as the BMW 6 Series, Jaguar XK and Porsche 911. Saying the SL has aged well is like saying TMZ is kinda juvenile.
That, however, did not stop Mercedes from starting over for the sixth generation of its iconic two-seat convertible. Every part of this car is new, even if its overall shape and proportions seem familiar.
For 60 years, SL has stood for Sporty Lightweight. But SLs haven't qualified as light since the early 1970s, and the most recent SL was a porker. Weight-saving has been a priority this time around. The body is now 90 percent aluminum and weighs 309 pounds less than the steel body it replaced. The car's curb weight is down to 3,947 pounds, some 485 pounds less than the last SL we track tested, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG.
This weight loss is noticeable from the driver seat. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 just feels lighter on its feet. Less bulky. Please don't misunderstand, of course, because at nearly 4,000 pounds, this is no Lotus Eleven (or even Westfield XI), but it no longer feels too heavy.
The new structure is much more rigid, too. Even with the top down this new SL feels like a closed coupe. Even Spain's washboard roads can't send a shiver down its spine. It's the tightest convertible we've ever driven.
After they made it lighter and stiffer, Mercedes added power. The naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V8 that made 382 horsepower is history, replaced by a 429-hp 4.7-liter V8 with twin turbos and direct fuel injection. Some guys hear the word "turbo" and worry about low-end torque. Don't. The engine's torque rating is 516 pound-feet from as low as 1,800 rpm. Even the engine's horsepower peak occurs at just 5,250 rpm, well below its 6,300-rpm redline.
We dyno-tested this engine last July in an all-wheel-drive 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL550. At the wheels the motor made 357 hp at 5,250 rpm and a tire-shredding 461 lb-ft of torque at 2,800 rpm. In the rear-wheel-drive SL550, this twin-turbo V8 is no doubt putting down more power to the road.
The twin-turbo SL is explosive off the line. Launch it hard and its massive 18-inch rear tires begin to fight a losing battle for traction. Despite their 285mm of width, these tires turn to dust as soon as the 13 psi of turbo boost propels the intake charge into the cylinders — which is essentially right off idle if our impression means anything.
With its traction control switched on, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 will still spin 'em off the line. And with it off, the SL will roast 'em high-school style. Although such burnouts, to our surprise, are frowned upon in front of the Hotel Marbella Club. Don't ask us how we know.
Mercedes says this "base" SL now delivers the acceleration of the outgoing SL63 AMG. Mercedes says it should hit 60 mph from a dead stop in about 4.5 seconds, which is exactly what the SL63 ran when we track-tested it back in October of 2010. And it was packing 518 hp.
The next SL63 AMG will up the ante with a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 when it hits dealers in mid-July. The AMG edition will offer buyers a choice of two output levels. The standard AMG-tuned twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 5.5-liter V8 is rated at 530 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes says the SL63 AMG will accelerate to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and will have an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph (the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 is limited to 130 mph).
The optional AMG Performance package will kick output up to 557 hp and torque to 664 lb-ft, while trimming 0.1 second from the 0-60 time. Top speed rises to 186 mph.
Both cars use the same seven-speed automatic transmission that Mercedes calls "7G-Tronic." In the SL550 this transmission proves responsive, is geared perfectly and it matches revs when you ask for a quick downshift with one of its plastic shift paddles. No complaints.
We can complain, however, about the SL's annoying stop/start feature, which turns off the engine to save fuel at red lights and when the car stops moving in thick traffic. It can be disabled with the push of a button (marked ECO), but it must be manually disabled every time you jump behind the wheel. This is also annoying. Sorry, but we don't want to be annoyed by our $100,000 roadster.
Still, the stop/start system is one of the reasons that Mercedes says the new SL's fuel consumption has been improved by 30 percent. The EPA hasn't had its say yet, but the CLS550 sedan, which weighs a bit more than the SL and uses the same drivetrain, is rated at 17 city and 25 highway mpg.
Longer and Wider
The SL's new styling picks up where the also new CLS sedan left off. It's more severe. Also more masculine, if a bit less classic. The silhouette we've known since 2003 is still there, but the car has grown a bit larger. It's now 2 inches longer and 2.2 inches wider.
Two different suspension systems are available. There's the standard semi-active dampening or optional Active Body Control, which uses air springs. Both systems are paired with plenty of aluminum suspension components in an effort to reduce unsprung weight.
The ABC system in our test car delivers a sensational ride/handling combination that fits the SL's character. Switching it from Comfort mode to Sport dials up the spring rate, but the damping remains unchanged. Even in Sport the ride is never too firm, and in Comfort it's downright supple.
And the SL corners dead flat, which makes it feel more agile, even in really tight corners. Front end grip is incredibly good, and the SL's stability makes it an easy car to drive quickly.
Every new SL uses Mercedes' new "Direct-Steer" electric steering system. Direct-Steer controls both the ratio and the assist of the power steering according to the speed of the car, stabilizing the SL at straight-line highway speeds and decreasing both the effort and the turn-in required during low-speed maneuvers.
We would like to say it's a nonissue, but Mercedes, like many other automakers, is still figuring out the electric steering thing. The SL's steering ratio is spot-on and road feel is good, but the consistency and levels of assist are not. It too often feels synthetic. And there's the occasional moment when it feels video game-y.
Interior and Sound
If you've been in a Mercedes SLS, the new SL's interior will seem familiar. While not a direct lift from the gullwing supercar, the SL's interior is similar. You'll also notice the echo of SL heritage in the round grilles of the air vents, which recall the R107 SL that was built between 1971 and 1989. Of course there's plenty of leather and aluminum, and two optional woods if you would like a warmer ambience.
The seats are very aggressively bolstered, but wide enough for a fast-food junkie, which is a nice trick. They're also heated, cooled and adjustable in almost every conceivable way. We're also happy to declare that Mercedes has finally put a decent set of cupholders in the SL. There are three — two smaller provisions up ahead of the shift lever on the center console and one biggie back between the seats. This is a big deal; there's finally a place to put your lady's Big Gulp-size mochachino chai-latte double shot.
According to Mercedes, this is the world's safest convertible. As standard equipment, this car has active rollover bars, A-pillars made from a mix of aluminum and steel, and every active and passive safety system Mercedes has to offer.
Our test car was also equipped with the optional panoramic roof with the Magic Sky Control, which might be the coolest thing around. The transparent roof switches instantly between light and dark with the push of a button. In the light setting it's perfectly clear, like a giant glass sunroof. In the dark setting it shields the passengers from the sun.
By the way, both the panoramic roof and the standard glass roof take 20 seconds to open or close, which is the same as before. And they both now use a magnesium frame, which is 13 pounds lighter than the steel frame used last year. Pretty cool.
With its top up, the SL is quieter inside than most sedans. Wind control with the top down and the optional power-retractable wind deflector in place is also exceptional, even above the ton. Top dropped also allows you to enjoy the sound of the car's V8, which still has a muscular rumble despite its twin turbos.
Shy of Kate Upton enjoying a spicy burger in the passenger seat, improving the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 would be tough. This really is grand touring at its best.
Mercedes has managed to improve the SL's comfort, its dynamics, its safety and its performance, while also increasing its efficiency. If that were easy, ladies and gentlemen, everyone would be doing it.
Of course we expect even more from the forthcoming SL63 AMG, but for now the Mercedes-Benz SL550 will impress when it hits dealers in early May. It rings in at $105,550 plus destination for a cool $106,375.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored press event to facilitate this report.
Used 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview
The Used 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is offered in the following submodels: SL-Class SL65 AMG, SL-Class Convertible, SL-Class SL63 AMG. Available styles include SL550 2dr Convertible (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 7A), SL63 AMG 2dr Convertible (5.5L 8cyl Turbo 7A), and SL65 AMG 2dr Convertible (6.0L 12cyl Turbo 7A).
What's a good price on a Used 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?
Save up to $300 on one of 7 Used 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, VA with prices as low as $42,900 as of10/23/2018, based on data from dealers and consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from2.8 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for Used 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class trim styles:
- The Used 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL550 is priced between $42,900 and$50,999 with odometer readings between 22151 and52073 miles.
- The Used 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL63 AMG is priced between $57,800 and$63,000 with odometer readings between 29411 and42374 miles.
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Which used 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Classes are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class for sale near. There are currently 7 used and CPO 2013 SL-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $42,900 and mileage as low as 22151 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to $300 on a used or CPO 2013 SL-Class available from a dealership near you.
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Should I lease or buy a 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.