Interior / Exterior » 8
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STYLING | 8 out of 10
grille 'evokes most of its SL forebears'
Car and Driver
aggressive new front styling
revolutionary departure from...the previous generation SL
Kelley Blue Book
AMG version won't go unnoticed by the impoverished who can only afford Porsche Boxsters
Road & Track
It hasn't been lifted, nipped or tucked since the 2009 model year, but the Mercedes-Benz SL Class still rules cougartown.
Mercedes is set to replace it with a young new model, but the current SL Class is still so very appealing. It doesn't belt out bawdy sportscar themes like the Jaguar XK, and it's anything but rakish, but the SL has timeless proportions and the same kind of minimal detail that makes Chanel suits look good a half-century later. The nose and flanks now look a little more like the E-Class and SLS AMG, thanks to a stint in the styling crisper two years ago. AMG versions wear deeper front air dams, a more pronounced grille, a hood with twin power bulges, and side and rear-end skirts for a distinct look.
Now that we've already seen the 2013 model--it's taller in front, like those new Benz machines--we can better appreciate this SL's relative athleticism. We'll miss this shape for its tidy, reserved look, one that's equally attractive with the top down, or when it's raised.The cabin saw its last update in 2009, too, but it could soldier on for years. It's a muted place to work, filled and trimmed out with wood, leather and metallic trim that's cool to the touch and warm to the eyes. There are many, many, many buttons and bright LCD readouts in the gauges, and they disrupt the quiet mood somewhat, but the overall impression in this cockpit is one of exquisite quality.
It's a little early to tell, but the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL Class has a style that we could call timeless one day.