2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review


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2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview

The Mercedes-Benz SL line of two-seaters has been a top choice among older well-heeled motorists who want something that mixes equal parts two-seat sports car and supple luxury cruiser. That still describes the current model, and for 2018 things mostly continue unchanged, although a reversing camera has been added as standard equipment across the lineup. It’s still handsome but not flashy, quick but not scary-fast, and luxurious but not cutting edge. It can be had in V-6, V-8 or even V-12 configurations.

The base SL450 model has a twin-turbo V-6 that makes 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, driving the rear wheels through a 9-speed automatic. It’s enough grunt to get the SL from 0-60 mph in less than five seconds. Stepping up to the SL550 gets drivers a 4.7-liter V-8 with 449hp and a 0-60 time of about 4.3 seconds. The SL63 AMG gets you a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 that makes 577 hp and scoots the SL from 0-60 in about four seconds flat and on to a top speed of 186 mph. Finally, the top dog of the SL lineup is the SL65 AMG, which gets a 6.0-liter V-12 saddled with two turbochargers. It makes a monstrous 621 hp and will get from 0-60 in less than four seconds.

The base SL450 model is rated at 20 mpg city, 28 highway, and 23 combined, while the SL550 gets 17, 25, and 20. The SL63 AMG isn’t far behind at 16, 25, and 19, but the SL65 AMG with its V-12 is predictably very thirsty at 13, 22, 16. The SL comes standard with active dampers, can be ordered with an Active Body Control system that reduces body roll, and AMG models naturally come with a sports exhaust system.

The SL seats only two, but those occupants ride in comfort and style. Leather seats are standard, and there are soft hides across the dash as well. The seats are power adjustable and have a massage feature, and other standard features include Harman Kardon stereo, and a 7.0-inch infotainment screen with controller. A Bang & Olufsen stereo is optional. Wet-arm wiper blades, LED daytime running lights, and active headlights all come standard.

The convertible top is power operated and can retract in about 30 seconds, but folds into the already modest trunk to reduce space back there from 13.5 cubic feet to just 8.5.

While the SL hasn’t been crash tested, buyers can take some comfort in the fact all models come with ample airbags and there are roll bars behind the seats that pop up in the event of a rollover. An Attention Assist, which monitors driving and suggests drivers pull over when it detects drowsy driving, also comes standard. A reversing camera is now standard even in the base SL450. Adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, active lane control and forward-collision warning are optional extras.


Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.

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