Old world charm meets new world technology. Oh, and did we mention power? The 2013 SL-Class is a whole new car from the ground up, yet it has never been so close to its heritage. The original SL was designed and built for the sole purpose of being a winning race car, which it excelled at, setting numerous records. What was not anticipated though was the public's admiration for such a vehicle. Mercedes responded to this desire in 1954 with the SL300 Gullwing. And so, the legend began.
Now here we are six decades since the introduction of the SL and Mercedes-Benz has taken the next obvious step. Backwards. Fortunately for us, reaching back to its roots has the SL developing an even better driving experience than its predecessor. The original SL was named for the principal character trait sought by its creators: "super light." Staying true to these principles, the 2013 model has an all new super light aluminum body. This shell offers up to 20% more rigidity yet decreases the overall weight of the vehicle by nearly 300lbs. The standard Panorama roof has been constructed of a lightweight magnesium frame which dropped the weight even further by 13lbs. In turn, although it may not sound like much, it has lowered the center of gravity for the vehicle and allowed for improved handling. Now to add the power to this weight; or lack thereof.
Mercedes-Benz has put in their 4.6-liter, direct-injected, bi-turbo V8 for this generation. The power has been rated at 429hp and 516lb-ft of torque leaving the previous model in its wake, which only offered 382hp and 391lb-ft. Coupled with a revised seven-speed transmission and ECO start/stop technology the SL winds up thriftier than ever at the pump as well. The semi-active Agility Control System helps keep it firmly planted to the pavement while hugging the corners.
There are a few completely new features this year as well including Magic Vision Control and Frontbass. Mercedes-Benz has developed a windshield wiper perfectly suited for sun-worshippers. Unlike traditional wipers, the Magic Vision Control wipers have laser-precision drilled holes along the blade. Ultimately, this keeps the cleaning solution on the window where it belongs and out of the occupants' hair. The Frontbass system has taken the free space in the aluminum structure of the footwells and relocated the subwoofers there. Not only does it offer crisp and clear sound, even with the top down, it frees up storage area in the doors.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class arrives in the U.S. in May 2012 and will be available in the SL550 trim level to start, with more levels to follow. Its a whole new SL for 2013 yet remains perfectly true to its founder. Simply put, it’s designed to conquer the open road like never before. And capture your heart as only an SL can.