2009 Mercedes-Benz SL Class vs. Its Competition

2009 Mercedes Benz SL Class V8
Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL spans a vast price range, with the top-of-the-line, very exclusive SL65 AMG almost twice the price of the SL550.

At the bottom, the SL550 competes against the Cadillac XLR, a vehicle that, much like the SL, straddles the line between luxury car and true sportscar.

The XLR, with its Corvette sportscar roots, arguably feels a little more entertaining to drive than the SL550, though the Cadillac has more road and wind noise and isn't nearly as refined overall.

The Jaguar XK Convertible compares in appointments to the SL, but the new XK drives more like a sportscar, with more pep than the numbers might suggest and a light, agile feel on a curvy road that the SL sorely lacks.

Likewise, the top-performance Cadillac XLR-V and Jaguar XKR match up to the SL55 AMG.

The Porsche 911 Cabriolet is also a worthy alternative to the SL-Class, offering responsive handling and track-ready performance, but it has a bumpier ride, and like the Jaguar XK, it has a soft-top arrangement and a noisier cabin.

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage and Audi R8 are two other alternatives to the AMG cars that both have more overt--some would say exotic--styling inside and out, which makes them more attractive than the AMG cars if pure horsepower isn't what drives you.

2009 Mercedes Benz SL Class V82009 Mercedes-Benz SL Class
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2009 Cadillac XLR2009 Cadillac XLR
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2008 Audi R82008 Audi R8
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2008 Jaguar XK XKR2008 Jaguar XK
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Quick Specs
The SL’s new look isn’t to everyone’s liking, but in AMG guise, it’s now more punch than paunch—and a worthy stealth Ferrari-chaser.
The eye-catching 2009 Cadillac XLR starts with the sharp-edged Corvette and makes some compromises for the sake of grand-touring luxury.
The 2008 Audi R8 looks and sounds like an exotic, but it has the day-to-day livability and comfort of a grand-touring coupe.
The 2008 Jaguar XK is the brand's best mainstream car ever, with performance equal to its German competitors and looks to beat them all.
MSRP From   
Gas Mileage   
11 MPG City / 21 MPG Hwy14 MPG City / 24 MPG Hwy13 MPG City / 20 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy
Gas V8Gas V8Gas V8Gas V8
EPA Class   
2 SeaterTwo-seaterCompactMini-Compact
Style Name   
2-Door Roadster 5.5L V82-Door Convertible Platinum2-Door Coupe Manual quattro *Ltd Avail*2-Door Coupe
Rear Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveAll-Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity   
Passenger Doors   
Body Style   
2 Door Convertible2 Door Conv2 Door Coupe2-Door Coupe
Automatic w/ODAutomatic w/ODManualAutomatic w/OD
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL Class vs. 2009 Cadillac XLR2009 Mercedes-Benz SL Class vs. 2008 Audi R82009 Mercedes-Benz SL Class vs. 2008 Jaguar XK