SPY: The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (R 231) steps into final experimental phase

The new SL-Class will be unleashed beginning with January next year, as Mercedes-Benz programmed a Detroit world premiere for the luxury roadster. Almost ten years after the introduction of the R 230 generation, expectances towards the forthcoming SL are very high and the Stuttgart-based constructor must not take any risks.

After losing more camouflage, it is clearly visible the R 231 has grown in overall length. The solid feel and the imposing dimensions of the convertible are also underlined by the long front and rear overhangs. To add up to the effect, the front fascia looks very powerful thanks to the angled radiator grille, inspired by the SLS AMG. The headlights may cause some controversy, as they might appear too classic and bland, much like those on the new SLK. Although the styling may end up being rather undecided, we say it is Merc's interpretation of a progressive design language dominated by simple, clean lines that, like a good wine, need time to be perceived as highly refined and elegant. The LED technology will not only offer improved road lighting qualities, but also give the SL a unique character, as it already does with the newest Mercedes-Benz models.

A positive aspect is the impecable profile - just straight lines that help accentuate the powerful stance of the car. Another centrepoint are the tail lamps, which wrap nicely around the rear shoulders and balance the entire visual philosophy of the new SL. Given the longer wheelbase, we expect the cabin to offer extra size for the two occupants. Like the SLK, the future SL will follow the footsteps of the SLS AMG and feature a wing-shaped dashboard. Don't worry about that, because designers have certainly developed several distinctive features in order to give the cabriolet its own interior personality. High-grade premium materials such as leather, polished aluminium, carbon fiber and wood, all combined in appealing packages, will contribute to the luxury atmosphere inside the car.

A few words on the technical advances of the new SL, as engineers have fitted the car with clever, useful and safeguarding assistance systems you definitely already know from the recently released models from Stuttgart. But, above all, research carried out in the field of lightweight construction will certainly pay off when the car is revealed. The open-top is said to feature an aluminium spaceframe for the chassis and several essential body components, which enables an important weight saving of up to 200 kilograms.

As usual, the new SL will use petrol "V" engines only. The SL 350 will be put in motion by the 3.5-litre V6 engine with 306 hp and a new, more powerful version of the same unit with up to 354 hp will reach under the bonnet of the SL 400. The modular 4.7-litre V8 with a massive output of 435 hp is reserved for the SL 500, whereas the range-topping SL 600 follows in 2013, when Mercedes-Benz will reportedly launch a new V12 engine capable of 550 hp-600 hp. AMG freaks will be happy to hear the upcoming SL 63 AMG will switch to twin-turbo with the addition of the 5.5-litre V8 with up to 571 hp (Performance Package installed). The spectacular SL 65 AMG has already been phased out and it is unclear whether company execs gave their approval on a new generation. Anyway, if it is revived, it will be powered by a 6.0-litre V12 gasoline burner boasting up to 630 hp.

Source: Autocar.co.uk

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