2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Convertible review

Following in the footsteps of the new-for-2012 SLK, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class will feature a new design inspired by the flagship SLS Roadster. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Roadster continues to feature the long hood, compact setback passenger compartment, and wide rear fenders for which it is known but adds an upright grille with centrally positioned star recently reintroduced on the SLS. It is two-inches longer and 2.2-inches wider than its predecessor, providing more interior room for passenger comfort.

Also like the SLS, the new SL features a body formed mostly from aluminum. This makes the SL the first all-aluminum-bodied series-production model for Mercedes-Benz. It keeps the SL extremely rigid and helps shave 275 pounds from the car’s total weight. 


Like the rest of the Mercedes-Benz 550 models, the 2013 SL550 will drop its 382-hp 5.5-liter V-8 for the more powerful and economical 4.6-liter unit. The new V-8 produces more power (429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque—12- and 32-percent gains, respectively) while reducing fuel consumption. Part of the reduction in fuel consumption can be attributed to the engine’s start-stop function. The seven-speed automatic transmission with Comfort, Sport, and Manual modes will be retained from the outgoing model. 


Mercedes says it takes just 4.5 seconds to make the zero-to-60-mph trip in the 2013 SL550, representing a marked improvement in performance compared to the outgoing car, which takes 5.3 seconds for the same feat. 


The new look and new engine coincide with the release of all-new features. Magic Vision Control is a wiper blade that dispenses wash fluid just ahead of the blade in both directions to keep the windshield clean. The wiper is heated to help prevent the buildup of snow and ice in winter. Mercedes says the heating function also allows warm water to be applied directly onto the windshield in cold temperatures. FrontBass is another new technology that takes advantage of resonating chambers in the aluminum structure to provide what Mercedes calls "concert hall ambience" even with the top down. The last new feature is the Hands-Free Access system, which provides hands-free operation of the trunk via a swipe of the driver’s foot below the rear bumper. 


The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Roadster will be available in U.S. showrooms this spring. At launch, a special Edition 1 model will be offered for a limited time. Besides the normal assortment of options, the Edition 1 will be available in an exclusive Designo Crystal Silver Magno with red and black interior scheme including piano black wood trim.

Vehicle Specs
Base Price $105,000 (estimated)
Engine 4.6-liter twin-turbocharged V-8
Horsepower 429 hp @ 5,250 rpm
Torque 516 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm
Transmission 7-speed automatic
0–60 mph 4.5 seconds
Top Speed 130 mph (limited)
Weight 3,947 pounds (estimated)
Length 182 inches
Tires Front: 255/40R-18, Rear: 285/35R-18
FOR New design, more powerful, more economical, and more passenger room
AGAINST Do wait for the SL63?