New for 2015The Mercedes Benz SL-Class adds a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 to the model line, creating the entry-level SL400 for thousands below the least-expensive SL550. The SL-Class remains otherwise unchanged for the 2015 model year.
Vehicle OverviewThe Mercedes Benz SL-Class Roadster is an iconic two-seater that combines the luxury of the S-Class with a sporty grand-touring nature. The SL-Class fits above the SLK-Class and below the outgoing, high-performance SLS-Class in the Mercedes-Benz lineup.
SummaryThe 2015 Mercedes Benz SL-Class roadster is a hardtop convertible that pairs a range of capable engines with a seven-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. Luxury and options abound, as the SL takes cues from the S-Class, resulting in a great grand tourer.
Engine and Transmission: Twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 – seven-speed auto
Power: 329 hp/354 lb-ft
EPA-rated fuel efficiency: 20/27 mpg
Engine and Transmission: Twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V-8 – seven-speed auto
Power: 429 hp/516 lb-ft
EPA-rated fuel efficiency: 17/24 mpg
Model: SL63 AMG
Engine and Transmission: Twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 – seven-speed auto
Power: 577 hp/664 lb-ft
EPA-rated fuel efficiency: 16/25 mpg
Model: SL65 AMG
Engine and Transmission: Twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V-12 – seven-speed auto
Power: 621 hp/738 lb-ft
EPA-rated fuel efficiency: 14/21 mpg
Notable features on the 2015 SL include a semi-active suspension with active damping, torque vectoring braking, an engine stop-start system, active body control, a power retractable hardtop (raises/lowers in 20 seconds, but must be stopped), Magic Sky Control (can make the glass roof transparent or opaque via electrical current), adaptive HID headlights, adaptive high beam assist, Attention Assist (if the driver is falling asleep system will alert the driver and suggest a break), Magic Vision Control (sprays washer fluid from the windshield wipers, eliminating vision-obscuring haze and the possibility of overspray with the top down), adaptive cruise control, blind spot assist, lane keep assist, active parking assist (can assist going into and out of parking spaces), heated/ventilated seats, Airscarf (warmed air is blown on the neck/head/shoulders), and a massaging seat function.
Also of note, we found the standard Harman Kardon audio system to be superior to the expensive Bang & Olufsen premium audio system.
The 2015 Mercedes Benz SL-Class has not been crash tested by the NHTSA or the IIHS.
What We ThinkThe iconic Mercedes Benz SL-Class roadster makes an excellent touring car, but not a good sports car. In a Driven Review of a 2013 SL63 AMG we said, “The SL63 AMG is not a track car and it’s not supposed to be. The AMG SL’s character makes further sense when you remember that Mercedes now offers the SLS AMG Roadster for those looking for a more focused (and normally-aspirated) two-seat convertible.” We preferred the steering of the SL63 to the standard SL550 because of the base car’s variable system, which would change the steering ratio in a non-linear fashion as the wheel was turned past 5-degrees. Handling was impressive and we noted, “No matter what the setup, the SL63 is not an overly communicative sports car. It’s incredibly fast and extremely capable but slightly too synthetic as it goes about its business at a very rapid pace.”
In a Driven Review of a 2013 Mercedes Benz SL550 we looked inside and said, “This is Benz's most glamorous and well-constructed interior. It's very roomy, too, feeling as spacious as a full-size luxury sedan that happens to be missing the back of its cabin. The seats are as comfortable as they are attractive, with shoulder supports that cascade down from the headrests like the collar of Cruella de Vil's puppy-fur overcoat.”
Our one complaint with the sixth generation of SL Roadsters is the styling. We said, “It lacks the visual punch of a $100,000 jewel, too closely resembles the cheaper SLK, and is saddled with disjointed front, rear, and sides that look like they were designed by three different people. That is because they were, in fact, designed by three different people.” Interestingly the SL63 gets a combined fuel economy rating of one less mpg versus the SL550, (16/25 mpg vs. 17/24 mpg), which leads us to recommend getting the AMG. With gas savings like that, who can say no to more than 100 extra horses?
- Excellent Harman Kardon audio system
- SL63 for ultimate muscle-touring-roadster
- S-Class luxury, two-seat style
You Won’t Like
- Exterior styling not getting better with each generation
- Variable steering ratio on non-AMG SLs
- Jaguar F-Type
- Aston Martin Vantage
- BMW 6 Series
- Porsche 911