The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 will arrive in dealerships in spring of 2012.
Mercedes-Benz used many increasingly common tactics to improve fuel economy and increase performance, including reducing the car's weight, (the new aluminum body shell weighs about 242 pounds less than the SL's previous steel body), employing direct fuel injection, adding a Stop/Start function and using a 7-speed transmission that is optimized for efficiency. Aerodynamic improvements not only reduce drag, but according to Mercedes-Benz, also offer a quieter ride, less wind in the cabin with the top down, and even less dirt buildup on the side windows.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class will be available in two variants: The SL350 V6 and the SL500 V8. While full specs aren't out yet for the V6, the SL550 packs a new, direct-injection V8 that makes 429 horsepower and a hearty 516 pound-feet of torque, an increase on both counts from its predecessor, while making about 0.8 liters less displacement. The SL550 breezes from 0-60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. A 7-Speed Driver-Adaptive automatic transmission comes standard on both models.
Two different suspensions are available on the new SL, including the optional ABC (Active Body Control) system. Both use a new electromechanical Direct-Steer system with speed-sensitive power steering and a ratio that varies with steering wheel angle. It also is expected to reduce the amount of steering effort required when parking and maneuvering in tight spaces.
Several other technology advances appear on the new Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, including an optional hardtop that uses special glass that can switch from clear to dark with the push of a button. When darkened, the tint helps to block out heat and sunlight. A new windshield cleaning system integrates washer jets into the wiper blade to help prevent accidentally dousing your freeway neighbor, or yourself if the top's down. And the new SL-Class joins other carmakers in offering a hands-free trunk opening technology that allows anyone with the key fob to open the trunk lid with the swipe of a foot underneath the back of the car. But unlike other carmakers, the handsfree feature on the SL-Class closes the trunk lid as well. Also on the SL-Class is an active parking assist feature, which uses sensors to detect whether parking spaces are large enough and even helps the car parallel park itself.
Inside the cabin, a new interior layout, dubbed the Frontbass system, optimizes the 2013 SL-Class for sound. Spaces in the aluminum structures forward of the footwell function as resonating chambers for the woofers which offer improved sound quality. The design also increases door and footwell space.
Equipment on the 2013 SL550 includes 18-inch standard wheels, a retractable hardtop, auto-dimming rearview and side-view mirrors, power adjustable tilt/telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, leather upholstery, wood trim, Bluetooth, Mercedes-Benz's COMAND interface with voice control, 40 GB hard drive and navigation, as well as a 10-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system with 6-disc DVD/CD player, satellite radio, HD radio and iPod/MP3 adapter.
A special-edition model, dubbed Edition 1, will be available in limited production for the 2013 model year. It comes standard with features including AMG 19-inch alloy wheels, special red/black leather interior with contrasting topstitching, black piano lacquer wood trim and a Harman/Kardon surround sound system.
Pricing for the SL350 has not been announced, but Mercedes-Benz said the SL550 will start at $106,375 MSRP not including destination. We're guessing that means the SL350 will start somewhere around $100,000, but that's only a guess.