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Mercedes Benz SL550 (2013)


The 2013 SL550 is the sixth Generation SL Roadster and has met a little flak from the press about its looks. I think this car is gorgeous inside and out. But, in deference to my colleagues, the SL does look a little cobbed together compared to the past. The SL’s main problem is Europe’s over zealous pedestrian-safety regulations. Mercedes’ low slung styling has been ruined by these rules. Get ready for more flat grilles and high hoodlines in the years to come.

Mercedes Benz is always been serious about luxury cars performing. They made the 2013 SL550 a torque monster to the tune of: 516 pound-feet of torque at 1,800 rpm. The SL’s 429 hp 4.7-liter V-8, and seven speed automatic transmission perform flawlessly. Paddle-shifting the automatic transmission as you enter the corner, you’ll hear the engine automatically rev to match the gear, blipping, it’s called. This car “gets it” more than any luxury car should have a right to. M-B’s Active Body Control suspension system is standard on the SL550, and eliminates any body roll. Zero to 60 in 4.0 seconds and this big roadster will reach the quarter mile in 12.5 seconds at 114 mph.

The 2013 SL is bigger, wider, and longer than the previous model, but 275 pounds lighter because of the extensive use of aluminum.

Mercedes-Benz has always been known for its amazing engineering; Here are a few examples: The SL has re-invented the windshield wiper. The adaptive wipe/wash system sprays wiper fluid directly onto the windshield from the wiper blade itself, and it works, too. The SL uses the new Harman/Kardon audio system, which has the woofers built into the car’s foot wells. Sound quality is amazing, top is up or down. Combined with the wind management system around the open cockpit, there is the optional Airscarf feature (blowing warmed air across the occupants’ necks from nozzles built into the headrest); and the climate-controlled seats, the SL is the most comfortable, most all weather enjoyable convertible on the planet. If you must keep the hard top up, you will appreciate the retractable glass hardtop’s Magic Sky Control, which sounds very 60’s like, but is actually an electro-chromatic system that allows the roof to change from nearly transparent to opaque at the touch of a button. You spend a lot of money for the SL, but it seems like you get bang for your buck.

Safetywise, the SL 550 is loaded with goodies such as: Pre-Safe Brake, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist (which uses a brakes to keep you in your lane) Driver drowsy alert, and more airbags than I can think of.

The SL550 is great on roadtrips, so of course, I loved the 12 way adjustable, heated and cooled, massaging dynamic seats.

One feature puzzled me was the SL’s stop start technology that included an ECO mode? What is this about? The improved EPA fuel numbers were 16city/24hwy. But I am sure not many of these are sold for their fuel economy.

My test SL550 has a base price of $105,500 and optional black leather $900, illuminated door sills, $350, Analog clock $250, Magic Sky Control $2500, Premium package $4900, Driver assistance pkg $2950, Sport Wheel pkg $2000, Special order fee $200, and a $905 delivery fee for a grand total of: $120, 905

Mercedes-Benz has stayed true to the SL’s roots, building a lighter, more powerful, more fuel-efficient roadster that’s as comfortable and classy as it is attention-getting and crazy fast. Buyers put an SL in their garages to make a statement and this Benz does just that. 2013 SL550


Mike Herzing

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