Detroit 2012: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 is Design Evolution, Not Revolution

When Mercedes-Benz took the wraps off the the 2013 SL550 at this week’s Detroit auto show, we weren’t surprised at what we saw; the new model blends the previous-generation SL with the look of the SLS AMG supercar.

The design is more of a careful evolution of the previous car than something radically new. The R 231-generation SL would be easily identifiable as a Mercedes and as an SL without the badges. Tradition continues with the long, muscular hood, rounded rump, and side vents. Returning from the outgoing model are the triangular-shaped taillights; however, for 2013, the lamps are filled exclusively with LEDs and the reverse lights move down to the rear diffuser. Overall, the look clearly pulls from the current range of Mercedes-Benz sports cars, with a square, upright grille and twin-bladed side vent like the SLS AMG supercar. There is further SLS influence in the cabin, with a large infotainment screen sitting high atop the center stack, flanked by large, circular HVAC vents. Keeping with trends, the console-mounted transmission shifter shrinks to a stubby actuator, here wrapped in leather and embossed with the SL logo.

That shifter is connected to a revised 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission that will send power to the rear wheels. Thrust will be provided by the same twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 4.6-liter V-8 found in the S-, CL-, and CLS-Classes. In the 2013 SL550,  it will produce a 429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque and Mercedes estimates a 4.5-second sprint from 0 to 60 mph.

The 2013 SL will appear in dealerships this spring; Mercedes-Benz has yet to announce pricing for the car, but expect a number near or north of the current SL550’s $105,825 price tag with its destination charge.

For more on the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550, check out our First Look here. For more on the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our Detroit Show homepage.

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