2022 Mercedes-Benz SL Class

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2022
The Car Connection
2022
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Senior Editor
January 12, 2022

Buying tip

For the best handling, choose either the SL 63 model or the hydraulic suspension for the SL 55.

Sportier and more practical than the car it replaces, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL is an elegant grand tourer with raucous power.

What kind of car is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL-Class? What does it compare to?

A V-8-powered 2+2 convertible, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL-Class is a sports car that puts more focus on performance than the two-seater it replaces, while still retaining the brand’s signature luxury. It competes against the BMW 8-Series, Jaguar F-Type, and Porsche 911.

Is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL-Class a good car?

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It’s a blast to drive thanks to strong V-8 power, adept handling, open-top fun, and a smooth ride. It looks great, too, though space and fuel economy suffer at the altar of power and style. We rate it a 6.2 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL-Class?

Everything, including the philosophy of what the SL should be. The 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL-Class changes from a rear-wheel-drive two-seat roadster with a hardtop to an all-wheel-drive four-seater with a soft top. For the first time, it’s developed entirely by Mercedes’ AMG performance arm, and that gives it a new and much stiffer structure. 

The new design traces the classic sports car lines of a set back cabin, a long hood, a short deck, and a wide, low stance. The wheelbase is 4.6 inches longer and the addition of the back seat and cloth top make the SL look like a mash-up of a Mercedes AMG GT roadster and a C-Class cabriolet. It’s a beautiful design that harkens back to SLs built before 1990. 

Inside, the SL integrates technology with sportiness and luxury. The digital instrument cluster offers several display themes ranging from minimalist to track car sporty, and an 11.9-inch touchscreen comes standard. The front seats blend comfort with support, but the new rear seat is like a Porsche 911’s—best for packages, not people. The package space is good because the SL also has a small trunk.

A twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 provides the power, either 469 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque in the SL 55 model or 577 hp and 590 lb-ft in the SL 63. Power flows to all four wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission. The 0-60 mph sprint reaches as low as 3.4 seconds and the top speed reaches as high as 196 mph.

A low center of gravity, a stiff new structure, and adaptive dampers help give every SL sharper moves than the last-generation model. The SL 63 goes a step further with an advanced hydraulic suspension that replaces anti-roll bars to limit lean in turns while also retaining a smooth ride. 

How much does the 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL-Class cost?

That’s yet to be determined, but expect prices starting near $100,000. 

The SL 55 comes standard with nappa leather seats with heating/cooling and massage, a heated steering wheel, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, an 11.9-inch center touchscreen, navigation, a Burmester audio system, rear-axle steering, adaptive dampers, and 20-inch alloy wheels.

It also gets plenty of standard safety features, including automatic emergency braking, a surround-view camera system, and adaptive LED headlights. The SL 63 will cost more. 

Where is the Mercedes-Benz AMG SL-Class made?

In Bremen, Germany.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz SL Class

Styling

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL-Class is sexy on the outside and inviting on the inside.

Is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL-Class a good looking car?

The new 2+2 soft top design still cuts the profile of a sports car, and the look is exceptional from the outside and attractive on the inside as well. We rate it an 8 out of 10.

The new SL comes off as a mix between a Mercedes C-Class cabriolet and an AMG GT roadster. Classic sports car proportions include the long hood and short deck with a pushed back cabin. Large 20- or 21-inch wheels and low-profile tires fill the wheel wells nicely. The AMG grille spans much of the width of the front end, flanked by gaping lower air intakes and slim headlights above. Wide and low, the car’s lines are rounded off and organic, with bulges in the hood, soft character lines along the sides, and a drooping rear end topped off by an active spoiler with five positions.

The cabin wraps sparkling technology in soft leather and bathes it in ambient lighting. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster sits within a traditional dash pod, but it offers multiple themes so drivers can choose their favorite layouts. A large, vertically oriented 11.9-inch center touchscreen dominates the center stack. It’s within easy reach and can be tilted from a standard 32-degree angle to 12 degrees to avoid glare, especially with the top down. Other design highlights of the cabin include four turbine-shaped air vents on the dash, metal Burmester speaker grilles, and beautiful two-tone leather color options.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz SL Class

Performance

The SL-Class isn’t roomy inside, but it is meticulously appointed.

With prodigious V-8 power, a strong new structure, and advanced suspension technology, the SL is fast and agile. We rate it a 9 out of 10 here, with two points for its engines, one for its handling, and another for a smooth ride.

Is the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class AWD?

The new SL comes standard with all-wheel drive with a front-axle disconnect.

How fast is the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?

The new SL is strictly an AMG model, and it only comes with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 in two states of tune. The version in the base SL 55 AMG spins out 469 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. It grunts and growls and launches the car from 0-60 mph in just 3.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 183 mph.

The SL 63 AMG puts out 577 hp and 590 lb-ft, unlocking a 0-60 mph time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 196 mph. It generates effortless power after a short pause for the turbos to spool up, and sings a deep, sonorous tune that adds to the experience.

The SL’s new aluminum-intensive structure is 18% stiffer than the outgoing version despite a wheelbase that increases 4.6 inches. Mercedes makes up for that added length with standard rear-axle steering that can turn the rear wheels up to 2.5 degrees opposite of the fronts at speeds up to 62 mph. Add in standard adaptive dampers and a quick 12.8:1 steering ratio, and the SL carves tight corners with confidence while still providing a comfortable ride even on the available 21-inch wheels. Standard on the 63 model and optional on the 55 is a new linked hydraulic suspension that replaces anti-roll bars. It works to level out body lean by pushing down on one side and pulling up on the other in turns. The result is a flatter ride and quicker reactions to steering inputs. The hydraulics are also used for the front-axle lift system that raises the nose 1.2 inches to clear curbs.

Big, strong brakes come standard, and buyers can opt for carbon-ceramic brakes for unwavering stopping power

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2022 Mercedes-Benz SL Class

Comfort & Quality

The new SL turns up its performance game.

The change to a 2+2 format gives the SL marginally more utility, but it sports coddling bucket seats and exemplary materials. We rate it a 5, adding points for the front seats and interior materials, but subtracting two points for the small, poorly shaped rear seat and small trunk.

Mercedes offers two levels of sport seats in the SL, and both have numerous power controls, enough width for larger drivers, and the support and bolstering to keep passengers snugly in place during hard driving.

The back seat is best reserved for packages to supplement the small 7.5-cubic foot trunk.

The cabin materials live up to the SL’s six-figure pricing. Soft leather upholsters the seats and other surfaces, synthetic suede covers the roof pillars, and aluminum is used for much of the trim. It’s all built to the highest standard.

The new cloth top shuts out wind and road noise almost as well has a hard top. Activated through the touchscreen, it raises or lowers in about 15 seconds at speeds up to 37 mph.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz SL Class

Safety

Mercedes offers plenty of active safety features, but they haven’t been proven in crash tests.

How safe is the SL-Class?

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL hasn’t been crash tested and, as an expensive niche sports car, we don’t expect it will be. We can’t give it a rating without crash scores.

Mercedes outfits the SL with plenty of standard and optional safety gear. Standard features include automatic emergency braking with a cross-traffic function, a surround-view camera system, adaptive LED headlights, and a driver-attention monitor. Also offered are active lane control, active blind-spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz SL Class

Features

Mercedes loads up the SL with features, as it should at six-figure prices.

Mercedes offers the SL in two models based on engine tune, SL 55 and SL 63. The SL comes well equipped and offers plenty of features, but then we’d expect lots of equipment for the expected six-figure prices. We rate it a 6 out of 10 here.

The SL 55 AMG comes standard with nappa leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats with massage and heating/cooling, a heated steering wheel, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, an 11.9-inch center touchscreen, navigation, a Burmester audio system, neck-level heaters, rear-axle steering, adaptive dampers, and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Which Mercedes-Benz SL-Class should I buy?

If you’re going to spend this much for a sports car, why not spend more for the best equipment? The SL 63 AMG adds augmented reality for navigation, a head-up display, access to the AMG Track Pace app, a linked hydraulic suspension with a 0.4-inch lower ride height, electronic rear limited-slip differential, dynamic engine mounts, and a Race mode.

How much is a fully loaded Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?

Buyers can also get AMG Night and Chrome packages with commensurate trim, an AMG Aerodynamics package, a front-axle lift system, AMG Performance seats, and carbon-ceramic brakes. 

The SL is covered by a good 5-year, 48,000-mile warranty that would earn an additional point if it included regular maintenance. We’ll update pricing when Mercedes makes it official.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz SL Class

Fuel Economy

Buy a V-8 and don’t expect good fuel economy.

Fuel economy ratings aren’t available yet, but don’t expect the V-8-powered SL to be efficient. We base our rating of 3 out of 10 on the 15 mpg city, 20 highway, 17 combined of the 2021 AMG GT coupe that uses the same engine. Expect the SL 63 model to be even less efficient.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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6.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 9
Comfort & Quality 4
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy 3
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