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FEATURES | 9 out of 10
nifty retractable hardtop
AIRSCARF "blows warm air across the back and neck
Kelley Blue Book
COMAND interface can be unintuitive
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class roadster is offered in four versions: SL550, SL600, SL63 AMG, and SL65 AMG (and as the SL65 AMG Black Series, not reviewed here). Each is plushly outfitted, and lavish options give all versions a customized personality fitted for the driver.
Standard equipment on all versions includes that "quick-stowing hardtop," according to Edmunds. Mercedes-Benz also fits standard 18-inch wheels; dual-zone climate control; a telescoping steering wheel; power seats; leather upholstery; DVD navigation; an AM/FM/CD/DVD changer with iPod integration, Sirius Satellite Radio and real-time traffic, Harman Kardon surround sound, and HD Radio; and Bluetooth.
All SLs include Mercedes-Benz's COMAND system, a screen-driven interface that allows access to navigation and audio functions while the driver keeps eyes on the road. Like similar systems from BMW and Audi, COMAND "can be unintuitive," Edmunds says. Mostly it's because the SL, unlike the COMAND setups in other Benzes, "uses a less intuitive circular toggle button with four directional points" instead of a mouse-like knob. "It's not great," they add, but "it's not too bad either."
Multicontour seats are optional on some models, and the AIRSCARF system, which blows warm air at neck level when the top's lowered, is available. The Benz SL's roof can also be ordered with a panoramic sunroof. Mercedes-Benz also offers a wide range of exterior paint colors and interior trims across the five-model lineup, including the "Nappa leather seats" and "wood shift knob" offered on the SL550, Kelley Blue Book reports.
Buyers will have to judge its value for themselves, but Edmunds echoes the sentiments of many reviewers when it contends the SL "can be tough to justify, since other cars like the Audi R8, Aston Martin V8 Vantage and Porsche 911 Turbo offer more performance and prestige for the same price -- or less."
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class isn't the best exotic-roadster value, but it's swimming in entertainment and luxury features-some more effective than others.