2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
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Although the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class retractable-hardtop convertible was substantially upgraded in 2007, the 2013 model year marks its first complete redesign in 10 years. Constructed almost entirely out of aluminum and equipped with a new drivetrain, the SL550 is 275 pounds lighter and is more efficient.
Regular SL550s hit dealerships in spring 2012, accompanied by a limited-production Edition 1 version. A performance-oriented AMG® variant is expected, but it isn't available as of the vehicle's launch.
the Mercedes-Benz flagship roadster competes in principle with two-seat models like the BMW Z4 and Porsche Boxster, but its $100,000-plus price tag puts it in league with four-seaters like the BMW 6 Series and Jaguar XK convertibles.
The 2013 SL-Class is almost 2 inches longer and 2.2 inches wider than the 2012. The new model ditches the L-shaped headlights, which were more common on previous Benzes, for standard bi-xenon headlamps with articulating lenses.
Mercedes-Benz says the powered retractable hardtop goes from fully raised to fully closed in 20 seconds. Two tops are available: a glass roof or one that features MAGIC SKY CONTROL®. Using technology similar to that of an auto-dimming rearview mirror, MAGIC SKY CONTROL® can change the tint of the glass panel from opaque to transparent at the press of a button.
The 2013's additional width adds extra shoulder and elbow room. The cabin is appointed in standard leather, rich genuine wood and metal trim. The Edition 1 has exclusive paint on the outside, plus full exclusive leather, an imitation suede headliner, special badging and loads of standard equipment.
In addition to MAGIC SKY CONTROL®, the SL-Class provides further "magic" in the form of Magic Vision Control — special heated wiper blades that spray washer fluid directly in their own path. Mercedes-Benz says this allows the windshield to be cleaned when the top is down, without spraying the occupants. This system joins AIRSCARF®, another feature designed to combat a shortcoming of top-down driving: Vents below the head restraints blow warm air at the occupants' necks.
Additional high-tech trickery includes Active Parking Assist, which maneuvers the car into a parking space automatically, and the latest iteration of the COMAND® multimedia system, which integrates communication, entertainment and navigation systems into one display-based controller. It includes internet access with web browsing when the car is stationary.
As expected of a small roadster, the trunk volume is modest. The lowered roof cuts into the trunk's capacity, but as before, pressing a button causes the roof panels to rise, granting access to the remaining space beneath. New to this car class, a hands-free-access feature opens or closes the powered trunk lid when you wave your foot under the rear bumper.
Under the Hood
A new 429-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 with direct injection replaces the 5.5-liter V-8 on the SL550, continuing the Mercedes-Benz deviation from its onetime naming convention, which, if adhered to, would rename this model the SL460. The new motor brings a 12 percent improvement in horsepower and 32 percent more torque, now rated at 516 pounds-feet. A standard start/stop function and recalibrated seven-speed automatic transmission are claimed to increase mileage. The SL-Class comes only with rear-wheel drive.
The SL550 does zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.
Adaptive shock absorbers are standard equipment, and a more ambitious active suspension, Active Body Control, is an option.
As required of all new cars since the 2012 model year, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system with traction control are standard. Airbags include the frontal pair plus side airbags to protect both the occupants' torsos and heads.
As in the previous generation, active roll bars behind the seats stay out of the line of sight but deploy in the event of a rollover to create occupant-protection space.
All SLs come standard with a drowsiness detection system, which monitors driver attentiveness, and an adaptive braking system. Also available is the Mercedes-Benz PRE-SAFE® technology, which can autonomously stop the car if a collision is imminent.
2012 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
Developed as a racecar, coveted as a sports car, the SL-Class has always been, above all, a dream car.
When the world saw the first SL-Class in 1954, its lightweight, aerodynamic body did more than set a new standard. It served proof that icons are born from lasting brilliance. Today, the advanced engineering and timeless proportions of the SL-Class convey the thrill of acceleration, the acceleration of progress, and the enduring soul of a sports car.
The signature of the SL-Class is its folding aluminum roof. With the touch of a button on its console or SmartKey remote, the SL-Class converts from hardtop coupe to sunny roadster in 16 seconds. An optional Panorama roof lets you enjoy the sun and stars through a heat-reflecting tinted glass panel.
Muscular lower bodywork leads both the eye and the wind around the SL-Class perfectly proportioned physique. A deep front air dam with mesh grilles flows into chiseled side sills and a sculpted rear valance. Dual polished chrome exhaust tips provide a brilliant finish and a reminder of the power within.
The optional Wheel Package amplifies the SL550's race-bred style and substance. Massive 19-inch AMG® 5-spoke wheels set off perforated rear brake discs and Silver-painted front brake calipers. Dark-tinted headlamps and taillamps complete the look, while inside, a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters and a Manual shift mode sharpen its performance edge.
Active cruise control is optional on all Mercedes-Benz SL-Class models.
Powertrain and Performance
Dual trapezoidal exhaust tips resonate a mellow rumble as its 382-hp 5.5-liter V-8 launches the SL550 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. With a dual-length intake manifold and variable timing of its 32 valves, it generates a 391-lb-ft crescendo of torque over a wide range of rpm. The engine´s rigid yet light diecast-alloy block contributes to the SL550´s ideal front-to-rear weight distribution.
Quite possibly the most advanced, fully active suspension in production, Active Body Control (ABC®) adapts instantly to driving conditions for crisp cornering with silky comfort. It also automatically lowers the car as speed rises, and offers a driver-selectable Sport mode.
Pioneered by the SL-Class, the Direct-steer system varies the steering ratio based on how far you turn the wheel. The result is quicker response in tight corners, precise on-center feel, inspiring straight-line stability, and easier effort at low speeds.
With perforated front discs and generously sized hardware, the SL-Class sheds speed with confidence. It also brakes with greater intelligence. Lift off the accelerator quickly and Predictive Brake Priming sets the pads closer to the discs, for more immediate response when you hit the brakes. In the rain, Automatic Brake Drying gently applies the brakes periodically, to sweep away water build-up.
The SL-Class is a Mercedes-Benz, so pioneering innovations in safety is a part of its heritage. It was among the first sports cars equipped with an Air bag (it provides five of them today), ABS and ESP®®. And in 1989 it was the first roadster to feature a Pop-up roll bar that deploys in a fraction of a second when sensors detect an impending rollover.
The SL-Class unites its two passengers in a sporty, elegant cabin that simultaneously lets the driver and car enjoy their own special connection. Twin heated and Active Ventilated seats, an abundance of top-stitched leather and polished wood, and advanced Audio and Navigation set your spirit free to take on the world, or leave it all behind.
Advanced technology keeps you connected to the world around you. Navigation features a fast 40GB hard drive, Enhanced Voice Control that responds to your normal way of speaking, and built-in Zagat® Survey ratings. Live SiriusXM Traffic can help you avoid a jam. And a Bluetooth® interface offers hands-free calling convenience.
A 10-speaker harman/kardon® Logic 7® system outputs 510 watts of Dolby® Digital 5.1 surround sound.Your listening choices are virtually limitless: a 6-DVD/CD changer, HD Radio™ stations, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, iPod® integration, a memory card reader, and a 4GB in-dash Music Register for storing your digital music.
In addition to heated seats, two innovative climate-controlling features are standard. Active Ventilated seats circulate cooling air through perforations in the leather. And the innovative AIRSCARF® neck-level heating system can deliver warmed air from the head restraints, so you can enjoy top-down driving further into a cool evening or the change of seasons.
From your car, online or via the mbrace® Mobile Application on your iPhone®, mbrace® helps keep you connected with nearly 20 different security, destination planning and convenience services. Combining advanced technology with 24-hour support from helpful experts, two available service packages can help you plan a trip, remember where you parked, or even handle an unexpected emergency.
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