2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Preview

Jeff Youngs | May 03, 2012
  • Longer, wider, and lighter than the model it replaces
  • More powerful twin-turbo V-8 engine
  • Aluminum frame and body panels
  • New technology and safety features


Originally, within the Mercedes-Benz hierarchy of nomenclature, the letters "SL" stood for "Super Light." Today, they signify an iconic 2-seat grand touring convertible from the German automaker.

Exterior Features

Thanks in part to a new aluminum frame and aluminum body panels, the new 2013 Mercedes SL is more than 200 pounds lighter than the car it replaces. Standard equipment includes 18-inch aluminum wheels, bi-Xenon headlights with active curve illumination and adaptive highbeam assist, LED running lights, and front and rear Parktronic parking sensors.

The 2013 SL is equipped with a power-retractable hardtop featuring a panoramic glass roof panel, and Mercedes says the top will open or close in less than 20 seconds. With the top closed, the trunk holds 13.5 cubic feet of cargo. With the top dropped, Mercedes says trunk capacity is reduced to 9 cubic feet.

Interior Features

The new 2013 Mercedes SL550 is equipped with 12-way power heated front seats wrapped in leather upholstery, hand-polished wood trim panels, aluminum and chrome interior detailing, and fiber-optic ambient cabin lighting. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard, as well as a power mesh-type windscreen that rises between the head restraints to reduce unwanted breeze.

No stranger to technology, the new 2013 SL is equipped with Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and music streaming, Mbrace 2 next-generation telematics with mobile and in-car Internet applications, COMAND navigation with a 7-inch color touch screen and 40GB hard drive, and a Harman/Kardon premium surround-sound system. Stereo features include HD Radio, satellite radio, and weatherband radio in addition to an SD card slot, USB/iPod connection, and a CD/DVD changer.

Optional Features

A high-performance Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system is optional on the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL, along with a Keyless Go entry and ignition system and a Sport Wheel package with 19-inch AMG wheels, upgraded brakes, and a sport steering wheel. Magic Sky Control darkens the panoramic glass roof, AirScarf warms the upper body during top-down drives on chilly days, and active multi-contour massaging seats soothe occupants on long journeys. The SL can also be equipped with Active Parking Assist, Hands-Free Access power trunk open and closing, ventilated front seats, and special Designo paint, trim, and leather selections.

Under the Hood

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 is equipped with a twin-turbocharged, direct-injected, 4.6-liter V-8 engine making 429 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. A 7-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles transfers power to the SL's rear wheels, and acceleration to 60 mph takes just 4.5 seconds, according to Mercedes. An Active Body Control suspension is optional.

Fuel Economy

An Eco Stop-Start feature shuts the SL's engine off when idling in traffic or at an intersection to conserve fuel. However, as this preview is published, fuel-economy estimates for the SL550 are not available.


The 2013 Mercedes SL is equipped with 8 air bags, traction and stability control, and pop-up roll bars that deploy if sensors believe that a rollover accident may occur. The 4-wheel vented-disc anti-lock brakes feature brake assist, brake drying, and predictive brake priming in addition to Pre-Safe Brake, which can automatically apply the brakes if sensors determine that a crash is about to occur. Additional standard safety features include Attention Assist drowsy-driver detection, bi-Xenon adaptive headlights, and Mbrace 2 telematics service.

Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control is optionally available, as well as Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist, each of which can take evasive action if the driver does not heed warnings.

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