• Mercedes updated its SL Class roadster for 2013 to feature new styling inside and out.
  • The SL ditches last year's V8 for a new turbocharged unit that produces more power and gets better fuel economy.
  • New technology will also star in the upcoming 2013 SL Class.

 

It's official: Mercedes is rolling out an all-new, sixth-generation version of its iconic SL roadster. According to the automaker, the upcoming hardtop convertible will receive updated features, revised engines and completely new styling when it debuts next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

On the outside, the 2013 SL Class undergoes a series of dramatic changes that overhaul the flagship convertible's look. In addition to a new SLS-inspired grille and LED running lights, the new SL features crisp new lines on its hood and either side along with fresh rear end styling that includes upgraded tail lights.

Changes to the new SL are even more dramatic on the inside. The entire interior is substantially revised for 2013, adding several cues from Mercedes' flagship SLS AMG supercar including "crosshair" air vents, a short, unobtrusive gear lever and an upright center console with a cockpit-like feel. Other revisions include redesigned seats and an engraved "Mercedes-Benz" script at the bottom of the roadster's new steering wheel.

Under the hood, the base-level SL550 is powered by the automaker's new direct-injected, twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V8, which puts out a whopping 429 horsepower - 45 more ponies than last year's model. According to Mercedes, the sprint to 60 miles per hour is achieved in just 4.5 seconds, while fuel economy is boosted by up to 10 percent thanks to start/stop technology and updates to the convertible's 7-speed automatic transmission. While the automaker hasn't detailed future high-performance AMG models, we expect the base-level SL63 to feature close to 500 horsepower and a 0 to 60 time of around four seconds.

The 2013 SL is also adding several new technologies to its repertoire. According to Mercedes, Magic Vision Control integrates spray nozzles into the roadster's windshield wipers, while the new FrontBass system mounts subwoofers in driver and passenger foot wells for improved sound quality. The SL also features an updated convertible hardtop, which stows in just 20 seconds and weighs 13 pounds less than its predecessor's top thanks to new lightweight construction.

Although Mercedes hasn't announced finalized pricing for the 2013 SL Class, we expect the roadster to start around $105,000 when it arrives in the US next year.

What it means to you:

The gold standard for luxury convertibles just got even better.

author photo

Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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