2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Preview: 2012 Detroit Auto Show

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On the heels of a major leak, the new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 has gone official, with full specs and details of the new R231, the sixth generation of the SL Class.

Powered in SL550 form by a twin-turbo 4.6-liter V-8 engine rated at 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, it's a significant upgrade over the previous SL550, with 47 more horsepower and 125 pound-feet more torque. Weighing in at up to 308 pounds less than the former SL, it is also lighter, helping it live up to its SL--Super Light--moniker.

That weight savings and extra power enables the new SL550 to claim a manufacturer-stated 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds.

The real story with the new SL is in the design, however. On the outside, the 2013 SL wears an all-new look that nevertheless draws on its heritage. The front end, for example, has hints of the R107 in it, with the upright grille, more vertical headlights, and character-lined hood. At the sides, accent folds and vent strakes are the key visual elements, flowing smoothly into the somewhat plain rear-quarters, which in turn blend into the expansive, slightly sloped rear deck, the large triangular tail lights, and the dual exhaust outlets in the rear bumper. The overall silhouette is intended to lose the broken wedge-like side surfaces of the R230 to give the R231 more of the look of the classic SLs.

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Inside, the SL is truly a knockout. With a wing-inspired dashboard and instrument panel and a cockpit-like center stack and console, the 2013 SL class gives of a truly premium vibe, almost into the hyper-luxury category of Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Materials quality is excellent, as is fit and finish, with the whole package coming together in one coherent, high-tech look. The seats offer another brilliant look in addition to being comfortable, with detailed surfaces, sculpted bolsters, and in-headrest ducts to provide warmth even with the top down.

Speaking of the top, it's a folding hardtop that opens and closes in under 20 seconds, and does so near-silently. It's also transparent, either as standard glass or the optional Magic Sky Control roof, which can be made transparent or dark at the push of a button.

We've already gone into detail on the 2013 SL-Class's new technological upgrades and key features, so for more details on those aspects of the car, read our previous coverage, and for the full press release, read on to page two.

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