Mercedes-Benz introduced members of the media to the 2013 SL550 with an awesome mash-up of clips from classic Hollywood movies showcasing Tinsel Town's long love affair with the German brand. Indeed, from the Bourne movies to Bend it like Beckham, the Benz cameo has become a part of movie lore – without having to pay for the privilege (ahem, Acura in Iron Man), as one of the Mercedes PR reps smugly remarked.

The 2013 SL550 – "The Official Car Of Beverly Hills," as Autoblog's Chris Paukert calls it in his review – should continue the tradition nicely. The roadster simply looks and feels like it belongs in Hollywood, with its polarizing and eye-catching design, its aim to allow the driver to comfortably soak up the sun and, of course, its $106K base price tag.

But looks are only skin deep. The 2013 iteration of the SL550 has a lot to live up to. Its predecessors have been among the most acclaimed roadsters in the world. With a new engine, exterior design and revamped interior, this convertible has to boast top-of-the-line comfort and driving dynamics to prove it really belongs with the stars.

Read on to see how it measures up.

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How Much?

MSRP: $105,500 - $145,800

Invoice: $98,115 - $135,594

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Key Stats

-4.7-liter bi-turbo V8 engine
-429 hp, 516 lb-ft of torque
-7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters
-16 mpg City, 24 mpg Highway
-Seats 2
-13.5 cubic feet maximum cargo capacity

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The Competition

BMW 650i Convertible (pictured), Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

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What We Like

Michael: There is a lot to love about this vehicle, but I'd like to highlight one feature I found particularly interesting -- the new FrontBass speakers. Working with acclaimed speaker manufacturer Harman-Kardon, Mercedes came up with a rather ingenious way of improving the sound quality of the car's stereo with the top down and improving passenger space: Mercedes engineers simply moved the front speakers from the door panels to the front of the vehicle near where the driver and passenger's legs go. Doing so has led to an obvious audible improvement in the system's sound, especially at high speeds when wind noise is a serious factor.

In general, driving the SL550 is a great experience. The 4.7L biturbo engine produces more than adequate power, even though it has shrunk in displacement. The car handles like a dream. The seats are as comfy as a cloud, yet provide a ton of support due to their automatic bolstering feature. Even the design feels right (though some of my colleagues certainly disagree), as it really works to distinguish it from anything else on the road.

Autoblog: You don't buy a motorcar of the SL's ilk to be parsimonious – you buy it for presence, performance and poshness, all of which it has in spades. Mercedes says the SL550 can rocket to 60 miles per hour in just 4.5 seconds – quicker than Porsche's new 911 Carrera – and we believe it. Power is ridiculously easy to come by at all rpms and the seven-speed automatic with paddleshifts is well suited to the sort of relaxed, high-speed motoring that this car engenders.

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What We Don't Like

Michael: I was a little disappointed in the brakes, which don't quite have the bite I was looking for. Coming down from high speeds, they felt a little bit numb, not really reacting as soon as my foot hit the pedal. When driving a performance car, especially on difficult roads at higher speeds (within the boundaries of the law, of course), the expectation is for the car to feel like an extension of your body. I simply don't think the brakes deliver on this. Nitpicky? Perhaps a little, but when you're paying over $100,000 you have to be.

Autoblog: The SL's nose is fussy, with a pair of eagle-eye bi-xenon cornering headlamps and a massive upright grille giving way to the obligatory long hood. We can't quite put our finger on it, but there's something aesthetically uncomfortable about the front end's proportions and multiplicity of lines. The schnoz looks particularly awkward when viewed in profile, as the grille and front fascia stand uncomfortably proud of the swept-back headlamps. We're inclined to blame toughening pedestrian crash test standards for all of this, but somehow, other automakers have done a better job.

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Bottom Line

The SL550 is comfortable, stylish and very, very fast. By the end of the drive, myself and several other journalists were hard pressed to find a reason to say that this vehicle is not worth its price tag.

With its distinct, though polarizing, design and big, fat Mercedes badge on the front, I don't think Benz will have any issue getting the Hollywood elite on board with this hot roadster. I know I'd like to see it in the movies ... and in my driveway.

AOL Autos Score:

4/5 Stars