Well, my dad just replaced his '09 SL550 with the new '13 SL550... and let me tell you, there is quite a big difference, in almost all departments (for the better!)
First... the basic facts:
4.6L V8, twin-turbocharged
429 hp @ 5,250 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800 rpm
7-speed auto (with paddle shifters)
weight: ~3,947lbs (heavy... but like 1000 lbs lighter than the outgoing model)
Here is a short walk-around video featuring the exterior with the hardtop both up and down, the car on and off, and the interior both on and off. Hopefully more stuff coming soon!
This car is absolutely SEXY in person. I know there was some controversy over the looks, and I agreed when I first saw the car online, but in person (and maybe it's because of the matte finish) it is a good looking car!
The matte finish is amazing. Looks great up close and from afar. Probably my favorite part about the car.
The interior is great. Actually quite different from the outgoing model. My dad opted for the more expensive seats, and they are extremely comfortable. Heated seats, ventilated (cooled) seats, and the 'air scarf' which will warm your neck when the top is down. Plus 4 different massage options
I think the video speaks for itself considering the styling. One thing I didn't show was the top going down. It opens and closes quite quickly, and the windscreen is a nice touch (the outgoing model had a clunky manual one that you had to put on yourself....
Now onto performance
This car is FAST... for a base model, REALLY fast... And with the torque numbers, you can imagine how much pull it has. The turbos and extra torque really make this car noticeably much faster than the outgoing model!
Compared to the old model, it really feels much lighter, and the transmission is much less clunky. The old model was disastrous if you put it in manual and tried to shift yourself - the revs were all over the place and it was slow shifting. The new model is much improved, and although not as fast as my DCT, pretty quick shifting.
Probably the coolest thing about the car is that if you put it in Eco mode, set the suspension to comfort and leave it in auto, it will go fast if you step on it, but will cruise and coast like a normal Grand Tourer - PERFECT for someone like my dad. BUT... switch the suspension to sport, put it in sport mode, hit the manual button and turn off traction... you have a beast on your hands! I didn't push the car too hard because it needs to be broken in, but when at operating temperatures I pushed a bit. As said earlier, in sport mode if you just touch the accelerator you are gone. The handling is typical Mercedes though - Very electronic and a bit upredictable at times with oversteer.
I was also disappointed that they didn't equip a nicer exhaust. Again - typical Mercedes. You do get that V8 grunt and a nice shallow undertone, but the exhaust is very muffled and low key. Probably what is to be expected from a Grand-Tourer for the older generation who has a few bucks to spend. The AMG models are for the track guys and street racers (SL65 produces over 700lb/ft of torque with a V12
I haven't been able to really push the car because of break in... and I'm going back to school on the east coast on Sunday. Come winter break, I'll definitely have some more time with the car and be able to explain in more detail the performance specs. But for now, enjoy the video above, and here are a few pictures from my iPhone5 (higher quality Nikon shots coming soon