Road Test: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550
Butter makes things taste better.
Movie popcorn, for example, would not be the same without it being drenched in the liquidy goodness. And when cooking with butter, it can complement and enhance flavours it’s being mixed with.
Just thinking about it is making me salivate.
But I’ll steer myself back on track. Driving the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 can be likened to consuming the bovine-derived substance. Its flavourful driving dynamics, delectable interior and delicious power plant are a perfect pairing for every-day driving. Needless to say, it makes somewhat souring stop-and-go traffic much more savoury.
Not to mention it was quite the complementary and complimentary vehicle in the time we gallivanted around town together.
Whether in coupe or roadster formation, the sixth generation, rear-wheel drive vehicle is looking darn good. The black-on-black drop top has curves in all the right places, muscle tone where it counts and a dazzling smile.
The front end is characterized with a long and luscious hood with two air inlets that include chrome-plated fins. Its sides sport the SL chrome plated side outlet fins and around back, there’s a vibrant rear bumper design with a black diffuser-look insert panel. Additionally, all SLs come standard with an AMG styling package, which injects even more or a sporty flair to this sexy vehicle.
There really isn’t a bad angle for a vehicle that keeps getting closer to perfection.
Inside is a similar story. Describing it in one word would be difficult, but I’d opt for classy. Life just tastes a little bit sweeter – or saltier? – when sitting behind the leather-wrapped, multi-function wheel.
The body-hugging seats combined with an ergonomic centre stack and easily decipherable technology enables the driver to get in and get going with minimal hassle.
What also isn’t a hassle is drop-ping the retractable hardtop. It takes a mere 20 seconds to go from closed to open and vice versa.
When driving topless with the windows down, there’s a fair amount of air that travels through the cabin. However, with the windows up and the electronic draft-stop engaged, it’s another story. Carrying on a conversation without having to raise your voice – unless it’s a heated debate – or eating your hair in the process isn’t necessary. The cockpit is magically quiet and serene.
And speaking of magic, for the days in which dropping the top isn’t an option, the SL offers the optional Magic Sky Control. It’s a feature that was first seen on the SLK, and with the push of a button, the panoramic roof can go from transparent in the “light” setting to opaque in the “shaded” setting. Should you want more sunlight beaming through the cabin, even on a crisp, cold day, let there be “light!” And if you have a darker interior, and want to keep it a little cooler when parked in the sun, the “shaded” feature is perfect for that.
Top up or down, the two-seater has a somewhat muted exhaust note that comes from the chrome plated twin trapezoidal exhaust pipes. I really had to press down on the accelerator to make it purr, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. While it still does have a melodic tune to it, it’s not overbearing. Normally, I’d want it to be a little more prominent so people would know the SL is coming, but in this case, I think it was just right.
Besides, the melt-in-your-mouth attributes of exhaust note coupled with the 4.6L, V8 Bi-Turbo are easily digested. Its output of 429 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque mated to a 7G-Tronic Plus 7-speed automatic transmission helped propel this vehicle forwards in a very prompt manner. And it did so effortlessly. Using the paddle shifters or just let-ting the vehicle work its way through the gears without my command is top notch.
And while working my way through the corners on sinuous roads, the SL550’s low centre of gravity and Active Body Control (ABC) system – a system that works very hard to eliminate body movement during acceleration, cornering and braking – allowed for unblemished execution of twists and turns. It also helps that its ultra lightweight body (made of aluminum) and 255/35R19 tires in the front and 285/30R19 tires gripped the dry pavement without breaking a sweat.
Above all, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 is smooth, smooth like butter! Mmm, delicious. I can’t wait for my next helping.
The base MSRP of the SL550 is $123,900.