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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
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safety features 'unsurpassed in this category'
Kelley Blue Book
Three stages of traction control
The Mercedes SL roadsters have a storied safety reputation behind them. It's somewhat unclear, though, how they fare in accidents, since neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has tested the high-dollar convertibles.
Mercedes' track record for providing top-tier safety is in full evidence here though. All SL Class roadsters have dual front and side airbags, the latter of which are larger than normal to extend rollover protection in the absence of a tougher roof structure. The SL also has a driver-side knee airbag, and a pop-up roll bar that deploys automatically in the event of a rollover.
On the electronic side, the SL comes with the usual anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control. The SL 63 AMG has its own flavor of stability control, with performance programming that lets it spin its wheels a bit more in track driving.
The SL also comes with standard adaptive cruise control and parking sensors. However, the latest technology--a rearview camera, a lane-departure warning system, and blind-spot warning systems--are not available.Mercedes' TeleAid emergency telematics system, with automatic collision notification, also is standard.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL Class earns our respect for safety history and technology, but it hasn't been crash-tested.