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First Look: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT

Amping up the gullwing’s performance.

by on Jun.05, 2012

The renamed 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT gets 20 more hp and an upgraded suspension.

Mercedes-Benz plans to amp up the performance of its gullwing sports car next year – a move it will signal by renaming the 2-seater the 2013 Mercedes SLS AMG GT.

It will likely take you almost as much time to get that out of your mouth as it will for the upgraded coupe to launch from 0 to 60, something Mercedes says will now require just 3.6 seconds, a tenth faster than the “old” SLS.

Top speed will be electronically limited at 197 mph, though it would surprise few to see some aftermarket tuners offer a re-flashed chip to help the SLS break that 200 mph barrier.

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As we’ve seen with so many recent German “upgrades,” the 2013 SLS AMG GT maintains its current drivetrain, but enhancements to the 6.2-liter V-8 help squeeze out another 20 horsepower, boosting the figure to an impressive 583, with torque holding at the same 479 lb-ft.

Meanwhile, the big eight-banger is mated to a “recalibrated” version of its AMG Speedshift dual-clutch 7-speed gearbox. The changes are designed to reduce shifts in manual mode “significantly,” which Mercedes suggests “is ideal when striving to achieve some ambitious lap times on a closed-off race circuit.”


First Look: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG

What could you do with 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque?

by on Mar.20, 2012

Mercedes will reveal the 2013 SL65 AMG at the New York Auto Show next month.

When even Bentley is talking plug-in hybrid for its planned SUV you have to assume the era of big, powerful luxury cars has come to an end.

Well, not really, as we’ve also seen some new extremes from the likes of Ferrari and BMW, with the F12 Berlinetta and next M6, respectively, reaching record levels of power and performance.  And now, Mercedes-Benz is weighing in with some selectively leaked details about the next-generation SL65 AMG — which debuts at the New York Auto Show next month.

We’ve already gotten a peak at the SL63 AMG – yes, there are two different AMG-badged versions of the all-new Mercedes roadster.  But the SL65 has always been the pinnacle for those who just can’t find enough places to spend their money.  And Mercedes has to give them something to justify the price, which should be pushing well up towards the $200,000 mark when the new model reaches showrooms later this year.

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For that cash you’ll get a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 making a seriously impressive 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. The engine is actually a tuned-up holdover — though such updates as turbochargers with an enlarged spiral cross-section, new manifolds and optimized wastegate channels helped deliver an additional 17 hp.

So, equally significant is the switch to a new 7-speed AMG Speedshift gearbox.  Until now, SL65 buyers had to suffer through a dated 5-speed, the only transmission that could handle the V12’s stump-pulling torque.


Sixty Years Later: the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL

That’s SL, as in “sportier” and “lighter.”

by on Jan.09, 2012

Mercedes has made the SL both sportier and lighter for 2013, it claims.

It’s been nearly six decades since Mercedes-Benz introduced the then-revolutionary SL, those letters short for “sport” and light.”  Like all too many other products introduced in the decades since, the SL roadster has gotten bigger and bulkier.  But the all-new model making its debut at Detroit’s Cobo Center this week takes the Mercedes 2-seater back to its roots.

Think of the all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL as “sportier” and “lighter.”

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To get there, the maker has completely redesigned the SL, reverting to a modern take on the original car’s aluminum tube frame that shaves as much as 300 pounds off the 2013 Benz, depending on the specific model.

“Decreased weight means increased agility,” said Mercedes brand boss Dieter Zetsche at a sneak preview the night before the official opening of the 2012 North American International Auto Show. “Saving weight,” he added, “means saving gallons.”


First Look: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL

Giving meaning to “Sporty” and “Light.”

by on Dec.16, 2011

Mercedes puts the new SL on a rigid diet.

For six decades, Mercedes-Benz has stretched the definition of SL – the letters attached to its flagship 2-seat roadster supposedly standing for “Sport” and “Light.”  But with the launch of the all-new 2013 Mercedes SL, those words – and initials finally take on their true meaning.

After months of peering at grainy spy shots and teaser images we can finally present the first official shots of the new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL – while reporting that the next-gen roadster will be as much as 300 pounds lighter, depending on trim, than the outgoing SL line.

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The new roadster will make its formal debut at the Detroit Auto Show little more than three weeks from now but here’s a first peek.

Visually, it’s an all-new look, with the 2013 SL borrowing many of its cues from the maker’s flagship SLS supercar, including the more upright grille and headlamps – though you might also perceive a few subtle details lifted from the small Mercedes SLK.


New Aluminum Body Will Slash Weight of 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL

Giving meaning to the SL name.

by on Nov.22, 2011

Mercedes will slash the weight of its 2013 SL roadster by using a lightweight aluminum body.

Mercedes-Benz appears to be taking seriously the words its SL roadster is supposed to represent: Sport, Leicht – or Light, in English.  The German maker has revealed that with the planned launch of an all-new version of the SL line, the 2-seater will migrate to a new, lightweight aluminum body.

That should shave nearly 250 pounds off the weight of the sports car, but the maker plans additional efforts that will bring the overall curbweight of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 model down by as much as 310 pounds.

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“The effect is rather as if a heavyweight-class passenger had got out of the car and taken his heavy flight luggage too,” explains Dr Thomas Rudlaff.


First Look: Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster

Germans give unexpected sneak peek.

by on Feb.09, 2011

Look closely and you'll see several new Mercedes models, including the SLS Roadster and C-Class Coupe.

Sometimes you have to take a closer look at some of the ads automakers roll out.  Over the years, we’ve seen a number of future products put in cameo appearances behind other, more immediately apparent models – as we belatedly realized with the Super Bowl ad for Mercedes-Benz.

Okay, most folks were focused on the classic cars seeming to come to life or, perhaps, P Diddy.  But the rapper wasn’t the real star.  In the background, for those who bothered to look, was the first production version of the new Mercedes SLS Roadster, the latest incarnation of the German marque’s supercar flagship.

Set to come in north of the roughly $250,000 SLS coupe, the Roadster will share the same 6.2-liter V8, with its twin-clutch gearbox, and most of the other mechanicals.

But, obviously, the convertible will have to forego the signature detail of the SLS Coupe.  Gone are the distinctive gullwing doors, long a Mercedes trademark.  In their place, a pair of conventional portals.

The Mercedes SLS Roadster will opt for a relatively traditional canvas top, also foregoing a foldaway metal roof that would have complicated the vehicle’s design – and added a significant amount of weight.

The Mercedes supercar will get another variant, shortly, in the form of the SLS AMG E-Cell, the battery-powered super-coupe that the German maker revealed, in production form, at the Detroit Auto Show, last month.  Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche told that production of that model will be extremely limited, perhaps a hundred or so, at most.

Look for the SLS Coupe to make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, later this year.  However, if you go back and check once again, you may see yet another cameo appearance in the Mercedes Super Bowl commercial: the next-generation C-Class Coupe, which will officially debut at the Geneva Motor Show, next month.