While its “Sport Leicht” initials roughly translate to “sport lightweight” in English, the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has been anything but in recent years. The trend continues with the 2013 Mercedes SL550, which weighs in at more than 4000 pounds. But in this episode of Ignition, Motor Trend associate road test editor Carlos Lago goes over what makes the new car an overall success — even if the SL is no longer true to its name.
The model tested in this video is the “base” 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550, which produces 429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque from its twin-turbo 4.7-liter V-8. Though its body is composed mainly of aluminum, the car weighs in at a portly 4104 pounds. But that number is still reduced from the last-generation SL’s nearly-4200-pound curb weight, despite the current generation being wider and longer.
To see what the SL can do when driven at the limit, Lago takes the big Benz roadster through the usual series of tests at the track. The torquey twin-turbo V-8 proves its worth in acceleration runs, posting a 4.0-second 0-60 time and a 12.5-second quarter-mile at 114 mph. Through the figure-eight, however, the SL’s variable-rate steering wheel wasn’t confidence-inspiring enough for Lago, contributing to an overall feel that’s un-sports-car-like.
After seeing what the car can do on the track, Lago then takes the SL out on the open road, where the SL performs at its best. It offers up a luxurious ride and cool tech features like Mercedes’ Magic Sky Control polarizing sunroof and chassis-integrated subwoofers. With the top is down, the SL’s drive becomes more engaging, but its styling remains questionable for Lago. But as the episode concludes, the editor explains what makes the car good at what it does, and what makes it worthy of the SL name.
Check out Ignition Episode 15 below and hear what he has to say.