2008 SL-Class New Car Test Drive
The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class of two-seat roadsters has been significantly upgraded for 2007. These were wonderful cars before, and they're even more wonderful for 2007.
For 2007, all SL models get revised styling, with new front, rear, and side sheetmetal along with new interior decor.
The entry-level model, now called the SL550, gets a bigger, more powerful engine, and a new seven-speed automatic, giving it a big boost in performance and a sportier sound. The SL55 AMG gets more power as well. The steering and active suspension have been upgraded on all the 2007 models, sharpening the handling.
At the same time, these cars provide grand touring intimacy, for quiet conversation or unimpeded stereo performance. New upholstery materials give the cabins a richer appearance. Drop the top and they deliver comfortable, top-down motoring, putting the wind in your hair, and whisking your troubles away. Buffeting is well controlled, so you don't even have to put up with much wind.
Few sports cars can boast a continuous 50-year history like the Mercedes-Benz SL can. First offered as a two-seat 300SL roadster in 1957, the SL-Class brought heart-stopping good looks, fuel injection, independent front and rear suspension and disc brakes to the sports car party, and has been in the Mercedes-Benz lineup ever since, leading the applied technology in the sports car segment with things like the disappearing steel top, radar, sonar, active hydraulic suspension and composite brakes. Today we have the safest, quickest, flattest-handling and prettiest SL-Class cars in half a century.
The SL-Class comes in one body style, a two-seat roadster with a steel retractable hardtop. The SL550, SL600, SL55 AMG, and SL65 AMG deliver varying levels of performance, however, ranging from fast to faster. The SL models compete in the luxury sports car segment with the BMW 6 Series convertible, the new Jaguar XK, the Porsche 911 Turbo cabriolet, and the Aston Martin V-8 Vantage.
The 2007 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class comes in five distinct flavors, starting with the most popular model, the SL550 ($94,800) with its new 382-hp 5.5-liter V8 engine and new seven-speed automatic. The SL600 ($132,000) features a 510-hp 5.5-liter V12 engine.
Since this is the 50th anniversary of the SL, there will be a limited run of 550 50th Edition SL550s, all with brown leather interior, pewter paint, and black ash wood trim, a handful of special options made standard, special trim and matching 50th Edition luggage.
The high-performance SL55 AMG ($128,800) features a supercharged 5.5-liter V8 and special tuning by AMG. The SL65 AMG ($186,000) is powered by a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12, rated at 604 horsepower and a staggering 738 pound-feet of torque. Both AMG versions, in addition to their special front, rear, side, and interior trims, sport seats, and AMG alloy wheels, have a new dashboard information display that includes for the first time a RaceTimer feature that will track lap times, lap length, average speed, and top speed. The SL65 AMG gets an electric trunk closer, aluminum steering-wheel-mounted shift levers, a complete carbon fiber interior, and a center high-mount stop lamp in white instead of red.
The safety package leaves nothing out. All SL-Class models comes with ABS with huge disc brakes, ESP electronic stability control, traction control, ABC automatic body control suspension, front and side air bags, and an automatic deployable rollover hoop behind the seats.
Options include a comfort package, wood-and-leather trim package, AMG Sport package, hands-free communication package, bi-xenon headlamps, Distronic cruise control, Parktronic park assist, run-flat tires, the Keyless Go entry and starting system, and the Panorama roof option, all at about the same prices as the 2006 model.