Revealed: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL

2012 Detroit Auto Show

Never one to hold anything back, Mercedes-Benz's all-new 2013 SL is the ultimate German-built gran tourer.

Only yesterday did we publish some leaked (but official) photos of the new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL. And now, not surprisingly, the German automaker has revealed full specs and even more photos of their long-running (six decades) grand touring convertible. The 2013 SL features a new aluminum body shell that weighs around 242 pounds less than it would have if it used the steel technology of its predecessor. This aluminum structure has even greater rigidity and improved safety combined with low resonance and vibrations.

Powered by a new 4.6-liter V8 with 429hp - a 12 percent increase over the previous engine - it has 391lb-ft of torque along with decreased fuel consumption. The engine also features an ECO stop/start function as standard and is mated to a seven-speed automatic slushbox. Performance wise, the SL550 can go from 0 to 60mph in just 4.5 seconds. As with previous generations, the sixth generation SL has been designed to be "a stylishly sporty and elegant luxury sports car with balanced proportions that are classic SL." Examples include the long hood, compact passenger compartment, and a wide rear end.

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The new Bi-xenon headlights come with active curve illumination and corner illuminating lamps as standard along with Adaptive Highbeam Assist. This allows for tailored lighting functions depending on the road and weather conditions. The standard retractable hardtop is also available with either glass or with Mercedes's Magic Sky Control, which is a transparent roof that can switch between light and dark at the push of a button. In the light setting, this roof is "virtually transparent, offering an open-air experience even in cold weather." All told, the roof takes less than 20 seconds to open or close.

Another unique innovation is something called the FrontBass system, which, according to Mercedes, makes intelligent use of the spaces in the aluminum structures forward of the footwell. In simple English, this is where the sound system woofers are located, therefore providing a clearer sound reminiscent of a "concert hall even with the top down." Safety features include standard Pre-Safe, which can detect the imminent threat of an accident, the drowsiness detection system Attention Assist, and the new crash-responsive Neck-Pro head restraints.

The interior features the COMAND infotainment system with a seven-inch display screen with full internet access. It's also integrated with Google Maps and is compatible with the iPhone and Android phones when using the automaker's own mbrace mobile app.

Along with standard AMG 19-inch alloy wheels, designo exclusive leather with contrasting topstitching, and a Harmon/Kardon surround system, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL will arrive in dealerships this spring. No official pricing has been announced, but the outgoing model started off at $103,650. Certainly not cheap, but many past and current owners will say its worth every penny.