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2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
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2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review
Mercedes-Benz has given its luxurious hardtop convertible, the SL-Class, a complete redesign for the latest model year. Reduced weight, new technology and significantly increased power make this grand tourer a significantly more capable and coddling machine than before.

SL stands for sport leicht in German, which translates to sporty lightweight in English. While the earliest SLs certainly lived up to this badging, the car became increasingly luxurious and heavy in later generations. But a new all-aluminum bodyshell, which Mercedes-Benz says is its first, significantly trims the droptops rolling mass and increases agility (although the SL still isnt a hard-core sports car). To trim weight even further, magnesium is used for some components, although the automaker did add some high-strength steel tubing into the A-pillars to enhance safety. Overall, the SLs shell itself tips the scales at about 242 lbs. lighter than the outgoing model. Despite the decreased weight, the new SL is actually larger than its predecessor by about 2 inches in overall length and 2.2 inches in width. Stretched out over the increased dimensions is controversial new sheetmetal that seeks to blend Mercedes current and historical design language; the long hood/short rear deck proportions are in keeping with SL heritage, although the extra-large front grille and headlights seem slightly out of proportion to the overall design. The tall, upright nose is a concession to European pedestrian safety standards. The new cabin features an elegant, flowing dashboard design punctuated by circular air vents that originated on the SLS AMG Gullwing. Material quality is consistently top notch, from the French-stitched leather to the generous sweep of fine wood trim extends from the center console across the dashboard into the doors. The increased exterior size results in ample space inside, with 1.5 inches more shoulder room and 1.1 inches more elbow room than before. High-Tech Naturally, the SL comes fully loaded with high technology features designed to assist drivers at every turn of the wheel of press of a button. Mercedes Magic Sky Control arrives on the options list, bringing with it a panoramic transparent folding roof that can be dimmed at the switch of a button (a normal glass roof is standard). The roof itself is lighter and faster than before, deploying or stowing in less than 20 seconds. To make the most of the open-top experience, a new FrontBass audio system utilizes otherwise wasted space in the aluminum structure ahead of the passenger footwells to serve as resonating chambers for the subwoofers. This marks the first time that an audio system has been developed with the creation of the body itself, and it opens up space in the door panels. Meanwhile, Magic Vision Control integrates windshield washer fluid jets into the wiper arms. While thats not necessarily new technology, Mercedes-Benz says it has carefully engineered the wipers so that no excess fluid gets on the windshield or heaven forbid in the cabin. In addition, the wiper blades are heated for winter use. Finally, the SL also features Hands-Free Access, which lets drivers swipe their foot under the rear bumper to pop the trunk lid when their hands are full. Emphasizing Athleticism To some drivers, a cars most important technology is under the hood. The new SL doesnt disappoint in this area thanks to Mercedes new 4.7-liter, 429-horsepower V8, which employs direct injection to add power and save fuel. But the big figure here is torque, which stands at 516 lb-ft., or a 32 percent jump over the outgoing SL. The SL sprints to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, a 0.8 second improvement. A seven-speed automatic transmission with an eco start/stop function is standard. The new SL is available with two different suspension systems - Agility Control Suspension is fitted as standard, while 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 improved directional stability and safety when traveling at highway speeds, makes for a more agile dynamic character at medium velocities and also reduces the amount of steering effort required when parking and maneuvering at single-digit speeds.

Standard and Optional Features As is to be expected for a car commanding a six-digit pricetag, the SL features a long list of standard equipment including leather upholstery, 12-way adjustable heated seats with pneumatic lumbar support and memory, hand-polished genuine wood trim, a 10-speaker harman/kardon LOGIC7 surround-sound system with Dolby Digital 5.1, a six-disc CD/DVD changer, a navigation system with 40 GB of storage space and SiriusXM realtime traffic, Bluetooth smarphone connectivity, a smart key system.


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