Test Drive: 2013 Mercedes Benz SL 550 car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
Test Drive: 2013 Mercedes Benz SL 550 car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
Test Drive: 2013 Mercedes Benz SL 550 car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
2012 Mercedes-Benz SL 550. Click image to enlarge
Manufacturer’s web site
Mercedes-Benz Canada

Review and photos by Mike Schlee

Photo Gallery:
2013 Mercedes-Benz SL 550

When I was nine, Mercedes-Benz released the 1989 SL 600. Something about the oversized, squared off two seat coupe with a monstrous V12 stuffed under the hood just seemed ‘totally radical’ to me (hey, it was the 80s). Ever since then there has always been a soft spot in my heart for this Mercedes brute. Fast forward a few decades and the SL is all new for 2013, and once again square-ish.

Gone are the swoopy lines of the previous generation SL, thanks in part to new European pedestrian crash standards and some styling influence from the upmarket SLS AMG. In fact, there is so much SLS DNA in the SL styling that I think many people who are not completely car savvy confuse the two. The SL features similar dual hood vents and side vents, each with two chrome strakes running through them, much like the SLS AMG. The new SL nose more than resembles the SLS nose and the wing mirrors look almost interchangeable. Everywhere I went in the SL I got compliments, long looks, double takes, and thumbs up. Whether this attention was due to a case of mistaken of identity or just another classic SL design is open for debate, but it is most definitely not a car for the introverted.

Although some may not agree, I do find the SL to be a great looking car. The more I would stare at it longingly out the front window of my house, the more the blunt and aggressive nose grew on me. The Diamond White Metallic paint mixed with red leather interior looks amazing and the AMG wheels are some of the nicest OEM-equipped wheels out there in my opinion. The angry LED marker eyebrow light within the headlight assembly looks great, especially in conjunction with the LED daytime running lights. Even the dual chrome strake vents on each side of the long hood look stylish and not tacky.

Test Drive: 2013 Mercedes Benz SL 550 car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
Test Drive: 2013 Mercedes Benz SL 550 car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
2012 Mercedes-Benz SL 550. Click image to enlarge

Inside, the interior is very well appointed, stylish, and well executed. The dark ash wood interior accents, including those on the steering wheel, work well with the various red and black leather trimmings. During our $150,000 Luxury GT comparison test, all testers agreed the SL 550 had the best interior of the three. And then there are the seats. Senior Editor Jonathan Yarkony went on and on about how great the Drive-Dynamic Multicontour Seats [Is that what they’re called? Whatever… they’re still great! –Ed.] are when reviewing the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S 350 Bluetec, and for good reason. These are by far the most comfortable seats I have ever sat in. The seemingly infinitely adjustable seat not only contours to fit your body perfectly, but the leather seating surface is also top quality. The seats are heated, cooled, have massage functions and an ‘air scarf’ that will blow warm air on the back of your neck. That air scarf gets blocked if wearing a collared shirt or coat, though. And if that is not enough, the dynamic seats will also inflate the side bolsters during cornering to better support the driver against lateral g forces.

The Harman/Kardon stereo is simply amazing for the audiophiles. Turn it up beyond ear-bleeding levels and the sound is still crisp and clear. The rest of the infotainment operation is straightforward and would be very familiar to any experienced Mercedes-Benz driver. The SL also features Magic Vision Control, which is a windshield wiper and washer system that sprays washer fluid directly in front of the wiper blade through a series of tiny little holes in a hose that runs the length of the wiper blade. Think of a sprinkler/soaker hose and you will get the general idea.

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