Mercedes-Benz redesigns flagship SL roadster


The seventh generation SL roadster is newly redesigned for the 2013 model year. More of an evolution of the previous design, the SL got updated with some styling cues from the flagship SLS, particularly the grill and headlights.

There are mechanical changes, too, in the name of efficiency. The V-8 is now smaller, but makes more power thanks to twin turbochargers. Combine the new engine with lighter weight and estimated fuel economy goes up by 14 percent. Even for high-end luxury cars, that's important these days.

Speaking of high-end, the SL retains its hallmark folding convertible roof. Push a button, and in less than 20 seconds the car goes from coupe to roadster - or back.

The Mercedes SL has always focused on technology. The earliest car had fuel injection when that was pretty exotic. This latest one uses technology to keep you comfortable so you can drive it with the top down no matter what the weather. The air conditioner will keep you cool on warm days, and there are also ventilated seats. If it's cool out, the seats are also heated, or you can deploy a new power-operated breeze blocker to keep out drafts. And if you're still cold, there's another trick this car has. It's called the Airscarf system, an option that's like having a blow dryer aimed right at your neck.

Gizmos are great, and you expect them in a car with such a wallet-busting price tag. But you should also expect safety features too, and they're here in abundance, including the Attention Assist system to help prevent drowsy driving. Mercedes-Benz calls the SL the safest convertible in the world.

Through time, movie stars and other glamorous well-heeled folks have chosen the Mercedes SL for its panache, performance and brand status. This latest example is carrying on the tradition and legacy as well.

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