In the Westeros of the Automotive Kingdom, there are several lineages that control vast tracts of the market wilderness. And just as in Game of Thrones, the stakes for controlling these battle-scorched acres of real estate are massive and the rewards lucrative; no king wants to relinquish his crown. Porsche boasts the cold brilliance of its 911 hegemony, Ferrari wears the laurel wreath of its mid-engined V8s, Lamborghini rules with the iron fist of its feared firebreathing V12s, and Mercedes-Benz has its elegant SL lineage — the most historically hallowed line of luxury convertibles in the automotive fiefdom.
But just as with any game, power ebbs and flows, and Benz’s droptop dominance is not what it once was. Since peaking with five-figure sales in the early 2000s, the SL has steadily sank to only a couple thousand cars sold in 2011. So it’s about time Mercedes-Benz reinvigorated its line, which in nearly six decades of existence has only been updated four times. In 2013, it enters its sixth generation.
The SL line began with a wallop in 1954 with the landmark “Gullwing” SL, and quickly followed up with the roadster droptop in 1957. These are some of the most coveted automobiles on planet Earth, and its succeeding generations retained their bloodline’s elegance and stateliness. This remained until the third-gen “R107” body type — you know, the boxy one that lasted throughout most of our adolescences (from 1972 to 1989).