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2013 Mercedes-Benz SL preview (photos)

Mercedes-Benz released details of its SL update, which goes on sale in mid-2012. The new version of this tony convertible features many new tech functions, including connected cabin tech.

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Wayne Cunningham

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Mercedes-Benz's next SL update continues a model run that started in 1954. The first generation of the SL included the 300SL Gullwing, one of the most collectible Mercedes-Benz cars. This 2013 update employs Mercedes-Benz's latest engine technology along with some new innovations.
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The engine in the 2013 SL550 is a direct-injection twin turbocharged 4.6-liter V-8, which Mercedes-Benz has been rolling out in all of its 550 designated cars. This engine produces 429 horsepower, and gets the SL550 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz estimates.
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Mercedes-Benz says the 2013 SL550 is its first model to use an all-aluminum body, which should keep overall weight below 4,000 pounds. In fact, the SL designation stands for Sport Lightweight, and Mercedes-Benz seems to be taking those terms to heart in this redesign.
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The SL550 benefits from what Mercedes-Benz calls Magic Sky Control, a roof panel that goes from dark to transparent at the touch of a button. This panel sits in the SL550's retractable hard top, which opens and closes in just 20 seconds.
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The SL550's audio system includes another Mercedes-Benz innovation called FrontBass, turning spaces in the body into resonance chambers for the woofers. Mercedes-Benz says the SL550 is the first time an audio system has been so completely integrated with the car, designed into the body.
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The SL550 is a connected car, with Internet apps built into the navigation system. Along with Web browsing, the car offers Google Local Search, Yelp, and Facebook.
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The car comes with a seven-speed automatic transmission, and like other new Mercedes-Benz models, it should have a lock-up clutch for tight, efficient gear changes. This picture also shows a button for Sport and Comfort modes, pointing to an adaptive suspension.

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