New For 2014
The Mercedes-Benz SL was redesigned midway through 2012 for the 2013 model year, so no changes were made for 2014.
The SL has a long history as Mercedes’ two-seat convertible sportster, tracing its lineage back to the 190SL of the early 1960s. During all that time and right up to the present day, the SL has been more of a luxury tourer than a hard-charging sports car. That said, the modern SL is hardly wanting for power, and the AMG models are pavement burners.
The three versions of the Mercedes-Benz SL could be described as fast, faster, and fastest. The standard SL550 is motivated by a 4.6-liter V-8 that, like all SL engines, is bolstered by two turbochargers. With 429 hp, it can send the SL550 from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. The SL63 AMG features a 5.5-liter biturbo V-8; it makes 530 hp and shaves 0.3 second off the 0-to-60-mph time. The SL63 can be further fortified with the optional AMG performance package, which raises engine output to 557 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque and also raises the top speed from 155 to 186 mph. If eight cylinders are just not enough, there’s the SL65 AMG. Its hand-built V-12 engine, also turbocharged, pours out 621 hp and blasts the SL65 to 60 mph in only 3.9 seconds. A 186-mph top speed is standard here.
The AMG versions don’t just offer more power. They’re comprehensively equipped — as one would hope given their price premium (the SL63 is about 50 percent more expensive than an SL550, and the SL65 costs twice as much as the base car). Both AMGs come standard with a firmer suspension and active body control; an even more hardcore performance suspension is also available. Likewise, higher-performance brakes are standard, but carbon-ceramic stoppers are a pricey ($12,625) option. The revised exterior styling — including the grille, front air dam, side air vents, rear spoiler and diffuser — makes a performance statement, one that’s amplified by the sharp bark of the sport exhaust.
For buyers with AMG aspirations but who don’t want to spend AMG money, some of that equipment can be had on the SL550. Active body control, a sport body kit, and upgraded brakes with AMG-style nineteen-inch wheels are all available as options on the standard car. Most SL buyers will be more interested in the roadster’s luxury features. A retractable hardtop is standard and comes with a glass roof panel (which can be uncomfortably warm on sunny days); Mercedes’ Magic Sky Control (adjustable tinting for the glass panel) is available. To extend the top-down season, the SL has a power wind blocker that deploys from behind the seats; there’s also Mercedes’ Airscarf, a warm-air duct located at the base of the headrests. It works as advertised but can be uncomfortable for very short drivers and passengers.
- Bodacious power
- Plentiful luxury features
- Makes a style statement
You won’t like:
- Climbing in and out
- Lack of trunk space w/top down
- Six-figure starting price
- Bentley Continental GTC
- BMW 6 Series
- Jaguar XK
- Porsche 911 Cabrio