2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

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2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review

Note: This review was created when the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class was new.

Reviewers say that the redesigned 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL offers a healthy dose of luxury, as well as a balance of performance and comfort that’s difficult to match.

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable, yet sporty ride
  • Powerful twin-turbo V8
  • Luxurious interior fit and finish
  • Vague steering feel

Research & Ratings

Currently, the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has a score of 8.0 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 9 pieces of research and data.




Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 8.1
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview

Few cars are capable of offering lightning-quick performance, a comfortable ride and an interior that surrounds you in opulent luxury. However, test drivers agree that the redesigned 2013 SL550 does exactly that. In general, auto writers say that Mercedes has built a better SL than ever. Its interior draws some influence from the more-powerful SLS AMG, and some reviewers note that Mercedes’ COMAND infotainment system has become easier to use.

That interior, combined with the SL550’s great performance, should be enough to win the hearts of shoppers who are looking for a refined sports car. However, some automotive reviewers say that despite these attributes, the new Mercedes SL has a face for radio. “The new SL is a wonderful car,” writes Automobile Magazine. “It behaves beautifully, sounds magnificent under full acceleration, and is luxuriously comfortable. Too bad it's so clumsily styled.”

However, if you don’t mind the way the Mercedes-Benz SL looks, test drivers agree that you’ll find that it’s a great car. They say the 2013 SL550 rides just as comfortably as most luxury sedans, yet it’s also nimble and powerful enough to have some fun on winding back roads. And thanks to its retractable hardtop, the 2013 SL550 has a quiet freeway ride. You’ll also get a larger trunk than you’d find in the Porsche 911 Carrera or Nissan GT-R. So if you’re looking for a sports car that combines opulent interior style with great performance and comfort, the 2013 Mercedes SL550 is a better choice than ever.

Other Cars to Consider

If you like the SL550’s refinement, but prefer a car that’s more performance-oriented, the redesigned Porsche 911 Carrera is a good choice. The base 911 isn’t as powerful as the SL550, and if you want a convertible, you’ll have to shell out some extra cash, but the base model is also less expensive. Just be aware that despite its lower base price, the 911 Carrera can get expensive quickly with options.

The BMW 6-Series does a good job of matching the SL550’s levels of performance and luxury at a slightly lower price. Additionally, the 6-Series offers a few different engine choices, as well as an all-wheel drive option, which you can’t get with the SL550.

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL: The Details

The Mercedes-Benz SL550 has been completely redesigned for 2013. A twin-turbo V8 engine paired to an automatic transmission is the only powertrain available.

  • "Do I want one? Absolutely. If you don't want a V8 roadster rocket you should check your pulse." -- AutoWeek 
  • "Even fully loaded with new safety and comfort features -- Pre-Safe, Attention Assist, intelligent lighting, lane keeping, active blind-spot assist, internet access, and a soft-serve frozen-yogurt machine (only eight calories per serving!) -- the thing doesn't feel weighed down. It just glides." -- Car and Driver 
  • "Shy of Kate Upton enjoying a spicy burger in the passenger seat, improving the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 would be tough. This really is grand touring at its best." -- Edmunds 
  • "It's a big, German musclecar, designed to eat up autobahn quickly, coddle two people, and last forever -- not to carve up twisty Alpine roads." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Too obvious? That's a worthy discussion, but there's no mistaking what this is: a very powerful, no compromise sports car that works as nicely as a hardtop coupe or, mere seconds later, a roadster." -- Road and Track 

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