An updated version of Mercedes’ staple two-seater, has been a long time coming and thus highly anticipated. Following in the wake of a reported “leaked brochure” that made it’s way into cyberspace, Daimler AG has now given us official details on the 2013 model, due to be unveiled next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Despite it’s name, Sport Leight (lightweight sports), every iteration since the first 1955 street going SL has been larger and heavier. Now, with automakers looking to shed pounds in order to meet tighter fuel economy standards, the 2013 version looks to be heading back toward its roots, the car’s aluminum body reported to weigh some 242 lbs less than its predecessor.
Further weight shavings can be found in the steering and suspension assembly, with control arms and knuckles hewn from aluminum to reduce the car’s unsprung mass, yet the new SL is both longer (1.97 inches) and wider (2.24 inches) than its predecessor.
The steering system has also been updated with a new Direct-Steer setup that features speed sensitive power assist that varies depending on the steering wheel angle, designed to improve stability at higher speeds and easier maneuvering at lower ones, such as when parking.
Other improvements include better aerodynamics, a more efficient engine, in the shape of a smaller displacement 4.7-liter V8 that sports direct injection and more power than its predecessor (429 hp and a wallopping 516 lb-ft of torque), plus a tweaked 7-speed automatic transmission with improved Driver-Adaptive shift calibration.
But perhaps the most interesting of all, are the Magic Vision Control and Magic Sky Control features. The former is an intelligent wash/wipe system for the windshield that, by routing washer fluid through special channels built into the front wiper blade, keeps the glass clear and prevents any overspray from entering the cabin when the side windows are down. The blade is also heated to prevent ice and snow build up in colder weather.
Magic Sky Control is an optional feature on the car’s retractable hardtop that changes the roof glass tone from light to dark at the touch of a button, providing greater cabin illumination or shade coverage when needed.
Slated to arrive at US dealers in Spring 2012, Mercedes-Benz will be celebrating the launch of the ’13 SL 550 by offering a limited-run “Edition 1” model. This comes standard with AMG 19-inch wheels, special interior appointments (including designo exclusive leather with contrasting top stitching), a Harman/Kardon Logigc7 surround sound system; Airscarf seat backrest warmers and special designo silver magno exterior paint.