2018 Mercedes-Benz SL Class Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
September 22, 2017

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class represents the pinnacle of droptop grand touring cruisers. But what does that mean anymore?

That the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is a popular pick for mid-lifers pondering their futures may be a small coincidence.

The big, comfortable Benz has a similar predicament in the automaker’s lineup. The newest AMG GT does superlative speed more competently, the new S-Class coupes and convertibles do cruising nearly better than the SL-Class.

For now, the SL-Class is a two-door hardtop convertible with big engines and bigger price tags. Base SL450 models start at nearly $90,000 and can easily reach into six figures with a V-6. Top-of-the-line Mercedes-AMG SL65 models command more than $220,000 for V-12 power and boulevard supremacy. We rate the line at a 7.6 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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The SL range has largely carried over from last year, aside from a rearview camera made standard on base SL450 models (Eds note: They should have been standard last year, anyway.)

The SL-Class marries a roadster shape to a first-class cabin and brisk powertrains. The base model, which will be the most popular, is a twin-turbo V-6 that makes 362 hp and can sprint up to 60 mph in less than five seconds. A 9-speed automatic tries valiantly to keep it efficient, but motivating two tons of mass that quickly is hardly effortless. It’s more than enough speed for the SL’s primary goal—being a comfortable cruiser—but it’s hardly mellifluous. We also have a philosophical hurdle to clear regarding V-6 engines and six-figure price tags (See: GT-R, Nissan). The SL550 subs in a sonorous 449-hp V-8 for an astounding $20,000 more. From there the performance and prices only get sillier. The Mercedes-AMG SL63 slaps two turbos on a 5.5-liter V-8 for 577 hp and more than $150,000 to start. The SL65 pronounces your success in oil and gas exploration to the world with a twin-turbo V-12, 621 hp, and a $223,000 price tag.

The folding metal hardtop comes down to show the world the smile on your face.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7.0
Performance 8.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety N/A
Features 9.0
Fuel Economy 6.0
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