2013 Mercedes SL officially unveiled

2012 Mercedes SL - 14.12.2011
2012 Mercedes SL - 14.12.2011

Lighter and more efficient

Mercedes has officially unveiled the 2013 SL.

Looking bold and aggressive, the model has an evolutionary design which borrows a number of styling cues from the SLK. Starting up front, there's a ventilated hood and a single bar grille that is flanked by oversized headlights with integrated LEDs. Further back, the SL's iconic side vents have become more prominent thanks to a larger opening and longer chrome accents. Lastly, at the rear, there's LED taillights and a dual exhaust system.

As before, the SL features a folding metal roof but the new version has a magnesium frame which makes it 6 kg (13 lbs) lighter than the previous one. This doesn't sound overly impressive, but it helps to lower the car's center of gravity. Additionally, the roof can be equipped with an optional electrochromic glass panel dubbed Magic Sky Control.

Inside, the SLS-inspired cabin has leather upholstery, wood trim and metallic accents. Other highlights include circular air vents, a unique gear lever and a new FrontBass audio system which has speakers in the footwells for "concert hall ambience."

Under the hood, two engines are available. The entry-level 3.5-liter V6 produces 302 hp (225 kW / 306 PS) and 273 lb-ft (370 Nm) of torque. It enables the convertible to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds while averaging 41.5 mpg UK (6.8 L/100km / 34.5 mpg US).

If that isn't powerful enough, the SL500 has a twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8 with 429 hp (320 kW / 435 PS) and 516 lb-ft (699 Nm) of torque. This allows the car to run from 0-100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds.

On the handling front, the car has an electro-mechanical steering system and a multi-link suspension with steel springs and semi-active dampers. Active Body Control is optional on the SL350, but all models benefit from an aluminum-intensive body shell which increases torsional rigidity by 20 percent.

Source: Mercedes

The all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL
Lightweight, athletic, luxurious

MONTVALE, NJ - The all-new 2013 SL continues a tradition that began 60 years ago. For six decades the letters "SL" have been synonymous with a blend of sport, style and comfort - infused with groundbreaking innovation. For the first time, the SL is being produced almost entirely from aluminum and weighs as much as 308 pounds less than its predecessor. Its highly rigid all-aluminum bodyshell provides the basis for agile, sporty handling that has been taken to an entirely new level, coupled with outstanding bodyroll and ride characteristics. Even better driving dynamics come courtesy of the new direct injection engine, which is more powerful and economical than the outgoing generation. Other new features include the unique FrontBass system, which turns the luxury sports car into a concert hall - with the top down or up - and the highly efficient MAGIC VISION CONTROL. The 2013 SL550 will be available in U.S. showrooms this spring.

Compared with its successful predecessor, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL offers considerably more comfort and athletic character, setting new standards in the luxury roadster class. This includes amazing everyday usability, making the SL the most versatile of all sports cars. In short, anyone talking about the new SL is surely talking about the ultimate in passionate, refined motoring.

Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: "There are around 900 million cars in the world and thousands of models. But there is only a handful of automotive icons. Our SL is one of them: It has class, it has style, it is the ultimate in comfort and luxury. And it combines all that with an incredibly sporty and dynamic character. You would struggle to find a car that embodies Gottlieb Daimler's aspiration more perfectly than our new SL - the best or nothing."

Lighter and more rigid - sophisticated all-aluminum bodyshell

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL takes the meaning of the famous letters "SL" - sporty, lightweight - quite literally. Weight reduction across the board is one of the most outstanding design characteristics of the new SL, as was the case for its namesake, the original SL of 1952 with its lightweight tubular frame. For the first time, Mercedes-Benz has implemented an all-aluminum bodyshell in a series-production model. Only very few components are made from other materials. The designers used even lighter magnesium for the cover panel behind the fuel tank and roof. High-strength steel tubing is integrated into the A-pillars for added safety.

The new aluminum bodyshell weighs around 242 pounds less than it would using the steel technology of its predecessor. "The effect is as if a large passenger has stepped out of the car" says Dr. Thomas Rudlaff, responsible for the aluminum bodyshell at Mercedes-Benz. "The result is perceptible and measurable. Less weight means improved performance and efficiency. In other words, the driving pleasure increases and the environmental impact decreases."

In terms of rigidity, safety and comfort, the aluminum structure is superior to the previous model's steel construction. One contributing factor is its intelligent lightweight construction with components optimized for their specific task. As a result, diverse processes are used to make different kinds of aluminum depending on component use. The parts are made by chill casting or vacuum die casting, worked into extruded aluminum sections or into aluminum panels of varying thickness. The outcome - high rigidity and excellent safety combined with low resonance and vibrations.

The new SL is even more comfortable and has more assistance systems on-board than its predecessor, sacrificing some of the weight saved through the aluminum

bodyshell as a result. Nevertheless, the scales show some astonishing readings - the 2013 SL550 weighs around 275 pounds less than its predecessor. This is due to a host of other intelligent details that Mercedes-Benz has also implemented in the new SL in addition to the aluminum bodyshell.

Driving pleasure - powerful engine and agile suspension

Powerful acceleration, effortless at all speeds, nimble on winding roads - the new SL delivers outstanding driving pleasure. As well as a powerful engine, the SL550 boasts a fine suspension that is both sporty and comfortable, and also features intelligent lightweight construction. The steering knuckles and suspension arms on the front axle, for instance, are also made from aluminum to reduce the unsprung masses. The same applies to virtually all the suspension components on the rear axle.

The new SL is available with two different suspension systems - with the Agility Control Suspension as standard equipment. The ABC (Active Body Control) suspension system is available as an option.

Both suspension variants are combined with a new electromechanical Direct-Steer system featuring speed-sensitive power steering and a ratio that can be varied in accordance with steering wheel angle. This provides excellent directional stability and safety when traveling at highway speeds, and adds to the SL's agility. It also reduces the amount of steering effort required when parking and maneuvering.

The new V8 in the SL550 develops 429 hp from its displacement of 4663 cc, which is around 12 percent more than its predecessor despite some 0.8 liters less displacement. Fuel consumption has been reduced while at the same time the torque has increased from 391 lb-ft to 516 lb-ft - a gain of 32 percent. The engine features an ECO stop/start function as standard equipment, while the 7-Speed Driver-Adaptive automatic transmission has been optimized for fuel consumption and comfort. The fuel economy of the direct injection engine does not detract in any way from the roadster's sporty character. Quite the opposite in fact - the SL550 takes just 4.5 seconds from 0 to 60 mph - eight tenths less than the previous SL550.

Interior - aesthetic, stylish, sporty

The 2013 SL combines its finely honed profile with a luxurious feel. Premium materials, perfectly finished with great attention to detail define the style and character of the interior.
Compared with its predecessor, the new-generation SL is much longer (+1.97 inches) and wider (+2.24 inches), providing more room for greater comfort in the interior, too. Shoulder room (+1.46 inches) and elbow room (+1.10 inches) have been increased, exceeding the norm for this class of vehicle. Clear lines create a coherent look & feel in this comfortable interior. A generous sweep of fine wood trim extends from the center console across the dashboard into the doors, creating a pleasant wrap-around effect. A choice of two wood trims is available. Perfectly in tune with the roadster's character, the interior combines the unpretentious atmosphere of a high-performance sports car with the comfortable, stylish ambience you might expect from a luxurious touring car.

Design - classic SL proportions

The designers have brought the latest generation of the SL to life with a firm foundation in tradition, but with new perspectives and visions. The result is a stylishly sporty and elegant luxury sports car with balanced proportions that are classic SL. The long hood gives way to a compact passenger compartment that is set well back. A wide, powerful rear end with a strong racing character provides the finishing touch. Just a few carefully drawn lines define the powerfully sculpted, yet calm surfaces along the flanks. Finely crafted details, a striking rear end plus ventilation grilles with chromed fins from the dynamic tradition of the Mercedes- Benz heritage evoke the SL legend.

An upright classic sports car radiator grille clearly identifies the new SL as a prestigious member of the current Mercedes-Benz sports car lineup. The centrally positioned star is a contemporary reinterpretation of the famous trademark, and now extends into the center section with its organically flowing contours.

Dynamically slanting headlamps set well to the outside frame the striking front end and give the new roadster its own unmistakable face. The Bi-xenon headlamps come with active curve illumination and corner illuminating lamps as a standard feature, as well as Adaptive Highbeam Assist. With different lighting functions tailored to typical driving and weather conditions and activated in accordance with the driving situation, they offer the driver a much better illuminated field of vision. The striking sidelights and the horizontal line of the daytime running lamps in the far ends of the bumper feature LED technology.

Retractable hard top - with optional MAGIC SKY CONTROL

The sixth generation of the SL also offers a retractable hard top that can be operated using a space-saving electrohydraulic mechanism, converting the SL from coupe to roadster and back again in a matter of seconds. In contrast to its predecessor, the new SL offers two versions of the retractable hard top - glass or the unique panoramic roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL. The transparent roof switches between light and dark at the push of a button. In the light setting it is virtually transparent, offering an open-air experience even in cold weather. In its dark state the roof provides welcome shade and prevents the interior from heating up in bright sunlight. The frame of both versions is made from magnesium, reducing weight by around 13 pounds compared with the outgoing model, lowering the vehicle's center of gravity and delivering greater agility.

The engineers have refined the operating mechanism for the roof and trunk lid. It now takes less than 20 seconds to open or close the roof completely.

Aerodynamics - new standards

The design of the new SL is not only aesthetically beautiful, it also boasts outstanding aerodynamic characteristics, giving the roadster top marks in its segment in three crucial areas:
• the lowest wind noise, virtually on par with a closed sedan;
• the best comfort during open-air driving, meaning the roof can stay down even
at high speed;
• virtually no accumulation of dirt on the side windows.
Two world premieres - FrontBass and MAGIC VISION CONTROL
The 2013 SL remains true to its tradition as technological trendsetter with two innovations:
• MAGIC VISION CONTROL is a new, intelligent and highly efficient wipe/wash system. The innovative wiper blade judiciously dispenses wash fluid just in front of the wiper blade via channels integrated into the blade - in both directions of travel. The result is no water splash on the windshield to disrupt driver visibility and a perfectly clean windshield. The water also stays on the windshield, with no risk of overspray into the passenger cabin when the roof is down. A fully heated wiper blade is included as standard equipment, preventing the build-up of snow and ice on the blade in winter. This heating function also allows warm water to be applied directly onto the windshield for the first time, even in cold temperatures.
• Equally unique is the FrontBass system, which makes intelligent use of the Page 7 spaces in the aluminum structures forward of the footwell. These spaces function as resonating chambers for the woofers and mark the first time ever that a sound system has been integrated into the body-in-white. As a result, the new SL features clear, rich bass sounds that deliver a concert hall ambience even with the top down. The new layout has the added bonus of freeing up space in the doors and interior.
Both innovations are part of the extensive standard equipment of the new SL.

HANDS-FREE ACCESS - swipe to open

The HANDS-FREE ACCESS system is another Mercedes-Benz innovation that provides easy, hands-free operation of the trunk lid. The driver simply moves their foot in the vicinity below the rear bumper. Mercedes-Benz is the only car maker to offer a system that not only automatically opens the trunk lid but closes it as well.

The safest roadster

The SL is the world's safest roadster, thanks to the collision-optimized aluminum structure, standard equipment that includes PRE-SAFE® and ATTENTION ASSIST, plus further assistance systems on the same high level as the S-Class. The rigid aluminum bodyshell forms a sturdy passenger compartment along with precisely defined deformation zones at the front and rear ends. The passenger compartment is protected in the event of the vehicle overturning by two roll-over bars and A- pillars made from a mix of steel and aluminum. The restraint systems including the two-stage driver and front passenger airbags have been further developed, while a head airbag covers the side impact area. An additional thorax airbag in the seat backrest protects the upper body in the event of a side impact. Another new feature is the crash-responsive NECK-PRO head restraints developed by Mercedes- Benz which are also standard equipment in the SL.

One safety highlight in the standard equipment package is the unrivalled anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE® developed by Mercedes-Benz. If the system detects the imminent threat of an accident, it reflexively activates precautionary protective measures for the vehicle occupants, ensuring that the seat belts and airbags are able to provide maximum protection during an impact.

Additional post-impact measures supplement the integral safety concept and facilitate rapid assistance. Regardless of the severity of the impact, the doors are automatically unlocked after an accident, the interior lighting is activated and the side windows lowered by 2 inches to ventilate the interior more effectively. The steering wheel also moves upward.


A unique combination of driver assistance systems in the new SL helps prevent accidents. These include the drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST and the ADAPTIVE BRAKE, both of which are standard equipment. The latter features ABS, acceleration skid control (ASR) and active yaw control, and offers comfort and convenience functions in addition to safety features.

PRE-SAFE® Brake - autonomous partial and emergency braking in response to the serious risk of a rear-end collision

Optional equipment includes DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control with PRE- SAFE® Brake, which is already well proven in other Mercedes-Benz models. The systems use radar sensors to detect the serious risk of a rear-end collision. The PRE- SAFE® Brake warns the driver and can initiate autonomous braking if the driver fails to react, thus either preventing the accident or at least mitigating its severity. PRE- SAFE® can also activate occupant protection measures.

Active Parking Assist - automatically maneuvers into a parking space
Active Parking Assist is new in the SL. Using ultrasound sensors it can identify parking spaces and automatically steer the vehicle into the selected space.

Infotainment - COMAND with internet access
COMAND with Internet access capabilities and DVD changer is standard equipment in the new SL. It provides Web browsing while the vehicle is stationary, along with access to Mercedes-Benz Apps - such as Google Local Search, Yelp and Facebook - with a paid subscription to Mercedes-Benz mbrace2 in-vehicle connected services after the complimentary trial period ends. There are also the options to send individual routes to the vehicle from Google Maps and destinations from iPhone® and Android® phones using the Mercedes-Benz mbrace Mobile App.

The COMAND system features a high-resolution 7-inch TFT color display (800 x 480 pixels) next to the instrument cluster. This screen arrangement helps to avoid driver distraction.
The 2013 SL550 will be available in U.S. showrooms this spring.

To coincide with the launch of the 2013 SL, Mercedes-Benz will also be offering a special-edition model, the "Edition 1", for a limited period. The "Edition 1" is superbly equipped and comes standard with AMG 19-inch alloy wheels, designo exclusive leather with contrasting topstitching, AIRSCARF, the Harman/Kardon® Logic7® surround sound system and much more. The designo crystal silver magno special paintwork is available exclusively for the "Edition 1". Interior upholstery is designo classic red/black exclusive with designo black piano lacquer wood trim.


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Comments (33)

archytype archytype
I've been out of the loop, this is just a freshening of the existing archaic platform right? Not a derivation of the new S-Class architecture. It looks like a thoroughly modern vintage, like the G-Class truck.
Dec 17th, 2011 9:15am
0 0
air_cooled air_cooled
These are going to sell like hotcakes in california. Everyone always says they like the previous generation better when a new one comes out for most of the German cars. Go look at the forums from when the current SL came out. Same thing now as always. Sales will continues to rise, and market share grow...
Dec 15th, 2011 6:28pm
0 0
Windmad Windmad
There's one thing I have no doubt about it's extreme ugliness... The side mirrors :S
Dec 15th, 2011 4:05pm
0 1
tbrodie tbrodie
I hope Bruno Sacco doesn't have to see this. When can we look forward to a facelift?
Dec 15th, 2011 10:24am
0 1
radmeister radmeister
Those headlights look like the belong on an opel astra, the side profile is just damn ugly, the front is sooo square, the back is pretty much unchanged since the last 4 versions which is why it's still bearable, but the front is just too flat, looks like a chrysler 300 front end not a smoothly sloped sports car front...Ruined imo, previous gens looked better, and the current gen being the best looking one.
Dec 15th, 2011 7:22am
1 1
mdreiguy mdreiguy
Ugliest SL ever made. Those headlights are horrible and the tail looks like an afterthought. The back looks exactly like the SLK, cant the come up with a different design?
Dec 15th, 2011 5:55am
1 2
Han Solo Han Solo
I prefer the previous generation SL compared to this one... The Headlights are way too big, it would have been nicer if it were slightly thinner (less height). Then the car would have been a hottie but now it looks like it came out of a Nerd Convention...you know the ones with the big glasses...
Dec 15th, 2011 2:26am
0 1
Han Solo Han Solo
2 Words...Uggg...leee...
Dec 15th, 2011 2:21am
1 2
Prestige15 Prestige15
Thoe front lights dosent really suit the cars overall looks but would grow into me as most people would and even though thoes lights are bit odd it aint gonna put off people buying this. If they use thoes same 'double bubble' lights like the one on the previous early SL's or even the SLR lights then it would work but overall not bad, just a shame i dont have any money to buy it :o
Dec 15th, 2011 12:50am
0 0
omar omar
Just like the Porsche 911 is a car of the past, so is this SL. The people at Mercedes have lost their way, they should spend less time on the ML, GL, R Class etc Why would you buy this, instead of an SLK? This looks like an SL with a facelift, rather than a brand new model. Shame on you Mercedes.
Dec 15th, 2011 12:32am
2 2
MadAboutCars MadAboutCars
While I agree with your comment, I also have to add that the interior is much improved, and I have no doubt underneath the hideous design is a better car to drive than the R230. With rigidity up interior much improved its still relevant scoring 2 pluses albeit a huge blemish on design. I like how the seats are really low (im finding things to like, its that bad visually)
Dec 15th, 2011 2:27pm
0 0
So i think those pics are the answer to all of who said this car is ugly and the rear is not related to the front. Look at the high res poctutes and see how it looks beautiful.
Dec 14th, 2011 11:41pm
1 0
il_tifosi il_tifosi
The front is quite interesting. Seems badly designed and it makes you wanna keep looking at it to find out what's going on with that ugly and uneven ending of the headlight just beside the central mask. Weirdly it reminds me of very old peugeots, :S Anyway, what i really hate, are those vents in the interior... They just don't fit, everything else is super-modern. If there was a more classical approach in the interior design perhaps they would look awesome.
Dec 14th, 2011 11:25pm
1 1
GuillermoChicaPostigo GuillermoChicaPostigo
which is the direction of the mb press site?
Dec 14th, 2011 10:24pm
1 1
DBaskov DBaskov
I found it hard to believe that this car's V6 can get 34 mpgs average in US, especially with the amount the car weights. Even for highway mpgs that sounds a little bit ambiguous.
Dec 14th, 2011 10:16pm
0 1
Francois Francois
I like it very much. It's design follows the MB line design language. We will get used to this as well as it was in 1995 with E-Class. I really would like it, and much expected until tuesday to see much more influence of SLS than SLK. Hope AMG package, AMG version or Brabus will add something interesting to the body. Anyway it's SL.
Dec 14th, 2011 10:02pm
1 1
N20_Purge N20_Purge
I think I'll need to see it in real life before I make my final judgement, but I am not digging the design shown in these pictures.
Dec 14th, 2011 9:49pm
1 1
Speedoholic Speedoholic
I take back my previous comments concerning this car, I have to admit how beautiful and elegant it looks inside out!
Dec 14th, 2011 9:44pm
1 3
moodyaaa moodyaaa
I think those headlights are unique. Nice overall job
Dec 14th, 2011 9:37pm
5 0
I think it looks really good! Its hard to judge a design just from pictures, but this looks very promising! Like many of the new Mercedes cars, you have to look at it more than just one time before you "get used" to the lines and angles.
Dec 14th, 2011 9:34pm
3 3
shaahinmt shaahinmt
for those of u who think this car is ugly i recommend to study the history if merc and to realize that this is the closest design to the beautiful models(w113) they used to make more than 40 years ago. This car is beautiful.
Dec 14th, 2011 9:26pm
5 5
moodyaaa moodyaaa
Agree all the way
Dec 14th, 2011 9:38pm
1 3
LokiMaky LokiMaky
very ugly anyway
Dec 14th, 2011 9:51pm
4 6
adz911 adz911
which part of this car looks like the W113 apart from the grille? a design classic the W113 may be, but this new SL is over designed. they should have kept it simple like all SL's used to be. This just looks like it was designed by Stevie Wonder.
Dec 14th, 2011 9:57pm
4 4
shaahinmt shaahinmt
the front end, side profile, the windshield profile, the quarter panels, and i think to a lesser extend the roof.
Dec 14th, 2011 11:59pm
0 0
tbrodie tbrodie
The W113 is probably my favorite SL. We're it not for the exaggerated side vent, I might think you're on to something, but I just don't see it. Yes, the car uses design elements from Mercedes past, but this is like a caricature of design elements rather than a cohesive whole. I disagree with the "it will grow one you" idea. I've instantly connected with every SL over the past fifty years. This should be the easiest car in Mercedes line to design.
Dec 15th, 2011 10:15am
1 2
MadAboutCars MadAboutCars
The sports car has evolved, for some cars it is possible to adopt previous design cues and plaster them on for nostalgia's sake but please, it looks like they have just cut and pasted W113 onto a modern vehicle which is just like putting wired hub caps on a Ferrari 458, oh wait... Ferrari doesn't do that they look forward.
Dec 15th, 2011 2:35pm
0 0
GSS5_23 GSS5_23
no, it's ugly.
Dec 15th, 2011 3:46pm
0 1
GSS5_23 GSS5_23
whatever you say. it's butt ugly.
Dec 16th, 2011 7:47am
0 1
Evangelista Evangelista
I hate those headlights...they look so cartoonish...the rest of the car is kinda OK...I prefere the old one...I hate to get used to the new looks of SL....I'm 50%-50%.
Dec 14th, 2011 9:11pm
3 0