The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL isn't set to debut for another two months at the Detroit Auto Show, but M-B gave us a sneak peak at the "S-Class of Roadsters" at its Advanced Design Studio in Carlsbad, California earlier today.

"SL" stands for Sport Light, but the last several iterations were anything but. Loaded with luxury and designed as a drop-top Grand Tourer, the SL – despite its badge – has always been a heavy weight. But for 2013, Mercedes is attempting to bring the SL back to its roots with a body in white comprised of 90 percent aluminum. Only the A pillars and roof crossmember use high-strength steel for rollover protection, and unladen with body panels, the chassis comes in 243 pounds lighter than the current model, with the production version tipping the scales at approximately 3,900 pounds – 308 pounds lighter than the 2012 version. With a revamped drivetrain (no details yet), Mercedes claims that fuel consumption will also be reduced by 30 percent.

The aluminum chassis is a first for M-B, and utilizes a smattering of high-tech production methods, including chilled cast longitudinal members, hollow extruded aluminum, a mig-welded frame and front longitudinal beams that are hydroformed for stiffness and improved packaging. All told, torsional rigidity is up by 20 percent and NVH levels should be down across the board.

Mercedes engineers and execs wouldn't go into much detail regarding powertrains and equipment – they've got to save some details for the Detroit show – but two new technologies will find their way into the SL when it goes on sale next year.

In addition to Magic Sky Control – the glass roof originally fitted to the SLK that allows drivers to adjust the amount of sunlight entering the cabin – Mercedes is introducing yet another "Magic" system. The magniloquently named Magic Vision Control is a new take on – yes – the windshield wiper, which utilizes two rows of laser-drilled holes to disperse washer fluid evenly and won't get the liquid inside the cabin when the top is down or soak pedestrians when the SL is stopped – a suitably Germanic solution to a problem no other automaker has addressed.

The SL will also be the first model fitted with the new FrontBass system, comprised of two 20-cm sub-woofers mounted flush in the bulkhead. We had the chance to sample the system in a prototype and it gets the job done, even if the inside of an automobile is still one of the worst places to get your audiophile on.

Expect more details on the 2013 SL to be revealed towards the middle of December before the wraps officially come off in Detroit.


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  • 24 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
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        • 3 Years Ago
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        abalasu
        • 3 Years Ago
        since its being revealed during 2012, i would imagine that it would be a 2013
          artandcolour2010
          • 3 Years Ago
          @abalasu
          I think we all figured that out, but it would be nice to have some proofreading and correcting done here by the editorial staff. The mistakes are daily, and becoming more prevalent and glaring. I've worked in publishing for more than 30 years. It's not that difficult to proof a 300-500 word article and write a proper headline for it, especially since the majority of articles here are just gleaned from a press release. And it's not difficult at all to correct an online article once the mistake has been pointed out.
      Sukairain
      • 3 Years Ago
      The photo for the 2013 has been leaked on the internet for over a year now. (search 2013 mercedes sl) It's quite disappointing, both the facelift and redesign. It's not bad, but I was hoping for stunning like the last gen when it first came out in 02.
      ELG
      • 3 Years Ago
      3900 pounds. what a featherweight
      sp33dklz
      • 3 Years Ago
      3900 lbs is not light.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @sp33dklz
        [blocked]
          Georgie Porgie
          • 3 Years Ago
          Relative to MB it is light sure. Relative to the real world it competes with black holes for mass density.
      • 3 Years Ago
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        Mike B
        • 3 Years Ago
        And you come to that conclusion just by looking at a prototype full of camo....
          Sukairain
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mike B
          search YouTube 2013 Mercedes SL, I have no idea how someone managed to get the full beauty shot back in 2010.
      Joe The Plumber
      • 3 Years Ago
      SL stands for Sport Leicht.
      Jonathan
      • 3 Years Ago
      My fav SL is, and prbly alweighs will be, is the R107
      Scurvy
      • 3 Years Ago
      FYI, the CL was the first Mercedes to use aluminum in its structure. Granted, not as extensive as this car but it is worth noting that they have experience with the material. The package tray in the new C Class is also aluminum.
        Marcel
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Scurvy
        Actually it were racing, but street legal versions of SLs which used aluminium for it's body that were first
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Vin
      • 3 Years Ago
      Solving the wrong problems, Mercedes?
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Patrick Frawley
      • 3 Years Ago
      The laser-drilled windshield-washer outlets are pretty trick, but GM has had something like that (in a more primitive form, but still) on its trucks for decades. The washer jets are on the wiper arms. Really a good idea, surprised it hasn't caught on further.
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