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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
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According to Mercedes, this is the world's safest convertible. As standard equipment, this car has active rollover bars, A-pillars made from a mix of aluminum and steel, and every active and passive safety system Mercedes has to offer.
Though neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash-tested the 2013 SL yet--frankly, we don't expect they ever will since it's a low-volume, high-priced roadster--the convertible comes with a long history of safety and a long list of crash-prevention technology.
All SL convertibles come standard with front airbags; side airbags that extend to protect the head and thorax; knee airbags; and pop-up roll bars that activate in a rollover accident. Anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control also are standard, as are active headlamps, LED daytime running lights, active headrests, wet-arm wiper blades, and Attention Assist, which monitors the driver for drowsiness and lights a coffee-cup icon on the dash when it's time for a caffeine break. Bluetooth is also a standard feature.
Among the SL's safety options are at least one--a rearview camera--that should be standard at this price point. Also on offer are parking sensors and park assist, which uses those sensors and electric power steering to angle the SL into a spot, while the driver maintains control over the brake.
Mercedes bundles a few of the latest safety technologies together in a $2,950 package. Active cruise control integrates with the braking system to detect when a collision is imminent, and to apply brakes to limit damage or to prevent it entirely. We're mixed on the utility of this kind of cruise control, and with the lane-keeping assist that comes along with it, but the blind-spot monitors that make up the trio add a valuable measure of safety.
As usual, neither safety agency has crashed an SL roadster, but all the latest safety tech is available.