It's not everyday a supercar gets refreshed, but that's exactly what's happened to the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Along with improved transmission tuning and added power, the SLS AMG enters the 2013 model year with the "GT" label added to its name.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT replaces all previous SLS AMG versions, so don't think of it as a warmed-up model like the Audi R8 GT – even though there is a power boost to the tune of 20 horses, bringing the total from its naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 to 583 hp (torque remains at 479 lb-ft). EPA-rated city and fuel economy is expected to remain at 14/20 mpg city/highway, though drivers shouldn't get anywhere close to those numbers if they take advantage of that V-8 engine as they should. Top speed remains at an electronically limited 197 mph and Mercedes figures the 0-60 mph time is now 3.6 seconds, down a tenth from the automaker's estimate for the 2012 SLS AMG.
What potential owners are more likely to notice is the revised seven-speed gearbox, which has what Mercedes claims are "significantly" shortened reaction times in manual mode. Perhaps even more important, the transmission's double-declutching function when executing downshifts is more pronounced, making the most of that 6.2-liter V-8's soundtrack.
What good would a supercar be, though, if its captivating engine note wasn't matched by traffic-stopping looks? For the 2013 SLS AMG GT model, Mercedes has darkened the car's headlights and added red-painted brake calipers. The side mirrors now have a high-gloss black finish, just like the front fenders.
A stiffer version of the AMG Adaptive Performance Suspension has more aggressive spring/damper tuning than before. Mercedes says that the suspension system -- with Sport and Sport plus settings -- minimizes body roll and will allow for faster lap times, especially in Sport plus mode, which is optimized for level road surfaces such as those of a race track.
As before, the SLS AMG GT rides on 265/35R19 tires in front and 295/30R20 tires in back, with forged 10-spoke alloy wheels inlayed in a matte black finish with a high-sheen finish on the face of the wheel. Before you head to the aftermarket, Mercedes will be happy to sell three alternative AMG wheel styles/colors.
Inside, leather sport seats have center sections upholstered in Alcantara. You'll also find Alcantara on the side grips of the steering wheel and door panels, with red seat belts, red-trimmed floormats and red stitching on the seats, dashboard, center console, and door panels for an extra splash of color.
The designo interior package can be ordered in mocha brown/porcelain, titanium grey/porcelain, and mystic red/porcelain, and is complemented on the inside by a diamond-quilt design on the seats and door panel inserts. You'll find designo leather nearly everywhere else you look, while the parcel shelf in the coupe or roll-over bar in the drop-top are finished in porcelain Alcantara.
As you'd expect, Mercedes will offer a full list of extras including carbon-fiber side mirrors, a carbon-fiber engine compartment cover, AMG carbon ceramic composite brakes, as well as a Bang & Olufsen BeoSound surround sound system.
Through the first five months of the year, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is outselling Audi's less expensive R8. With visual and performance-related updates, the SLS AMG GT should have little trouble picking up where the 2012 car left off when it goes on sale this November.