by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

SPY: The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (R 231) pictured in a sexy red combo

Much has passed, little's been left, as the new SL-Class arrives next Thursday. Prior to the release of the very first specs and images, an amateur photographer scooped a barely disguised test prototype in Oberhausen, Germany.

For many years, Mercedes-Benz has been left behind in the competition of lightweight construction, but that's about to change with the entry of the new R 231. The chassis and many of the metallic components that compose it are mostly made of aluminium, which led to a mass reduction of up to 140 kilograms compared to the outgoing model, even though the new SL incorporates a lot more technology than its predecessor. The use of the innovative spaceframe will also contribute to the agility, dynamic and general dynamic capabilities of the car, which is already announced as the best driving machine in its class, due also to the substantial development and fine tuning of the entire powertrain.

Speaking of the technologycal package, the upcoming generation of the SL boasts company's latest achievements in safety, dynamics and in-car communication. The advanced Active Body Control with Crosswind Stabilization will help ensure a firm, yet comfy ride, whereas the DISTRONIC PLUS and Brake Assist Plus will further enhance security aboard the new SL. Inside, passengers will be delighted by the highly classy atmosphere and the multitude of assistance systems, such as the COMAND Online infotainment program with internet access and the unique FrontBass sound system that uses bass loudspeakers installed in the footwell in front of the driver and passenger. Another special feature to make its debut on the new SL is the MAGIC VISION CONTROL. This system uses windscreen wipers directly fitted with sprinklers that project water on the glass surface without the risk of splashing the occupants when the hardtop is down.

The new Mercedes-Benz SL will be exclusively powered by high-end petrol engines. The 3.5-litre direction injection unit with 306 hp (and later, almost 360 hp) will put the SL 350 in motion, whereas the SL 500 will hide under its bonnet the 4.7-litre biturbo powerplant capable of 435 hp. The top-of-the-range SL 600 is still in doubt, but there are rumors a new V12 engine is under development at the moment, so when it arrives in late 2013 or 2014, the car should post peak output figures of up to 550 hp. While a future SL 65 AMG might have already been erased from plans, the SL 63 AMG is a certainty - equipped with the 5.5-litre twin-turbo, the grumpy roadster will sport a ferocious output of 544 hp in standard specification and 571 hp with the Performance Package fitted.

Read more detailed topics about the new Mercedes-Benz SL:

- TecDay - the new SL
- Aluminium bodyshell
- FrontBass

Photos: SecretNewCars

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