It's been close to a decade, but an all-new version of the Mercedes-Benz SL flagship roadster is about to go on sale. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL offers a long list of improvements and changes compared to the current generation of the car, and the vehicle's fresh technological features and design elements help it to stay competitive against its Teutonic rivals from Porsche, BMW and Audi.
In terms of styling the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL features a more upright design with a prominent grille that brings to mind the Mercedes-Benz SLS supercar. From the rear the SL maintains much of the same character as the previous generation car, but the vehicle's side panels feature more aggressive scalloping that fits in with the design's busier overall look. Mercedes-Benz claims that the new hardtop roadster features better aerodynamics than any SL to have preceded it.
According to an article published by Automotive News one of the most noticeable changes made to the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL has been the introduction of an aluminum body shell to replace the current model's steel body panels. This measure shaves 242 lbs off of the weight of the SL's body, a modification that will help the full-size convertible turn corners with greater ease as well as contribute to more rapid acceleration. The SL is more svelte than in years past despite the fact that the roadster is almost two inches longer and just a tick more than two inches wider than the departing model.
The SL550 edition of the car will feature a 4.6-liter, direct injection eight-cylinder motor that offers up 429 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque - an improvement of 47 ponies and an enormous 125 lb-ft of twist over the 2012 SL500's much larger 5.5-liter V-8. Better fuel mileage is on the table as well, with the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL promising to deliver more than the current base model's 14-mpg city and 22-mpg highway rating thanks in part to an integrated engine start / stop system that reduces idling. A seven-speed automatic transmission will be included as the only available gearbox with the SL550.
Like most of Mercedes-Benz's lineup leaders, the SL has been pegged to offer an intriguing list of high tech gear to both coddle driver and passengers as well as improve the roadster's performance. The trunk can now be opened hands-free by activating a hidden switch that detects the presence of a foot placed strategically under the vehicle's rear bumper. The convertible's retractable hardtop will be available with something called Magic Sky Control which allows for a transparent sunroof panel to be instantly darkened to block out the rays of the sun, and the roof itself now features a magnesium frame that is not only lighter than the older top mechanism but also offers the ability to rise into place or fold out of sight in under 20 seconds.
The SL's windshield washer fluid dispensers have been built directly into the wiper blades, a design decision that the company claims will prevent splashing inside the cabin with the roof down or the windows lowered. It also removes the need to cover the windshield with a layer of liquid, improving visibility as the system simply wipes clean without the washer fluid obscuring the road ahead. The wiper blades are sensitive to external temperatures and will deliver more or less washer fluid - and heat it, if necessary - depending on the season. On the handling front, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL will be available with both an active body control suspension and an 'agility-control' suspension, as well as a speed-sensitive electromechanical steering system.
Mercedes-Benz had originally intended to reveal the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL at next month's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. However, leaked images from the vehicle's brochure forced the German brand to reveal details about the car earlier than had been anticipated. Full technical details, including powertrain configurations and pricing are expected to be made available in Detroit.
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