2016 SL-Class New Car Test Drive
The richly luxurious Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is a two-seat grand touring sports car. The Mercedes-Benz SL400 and SL550 put the emphasis on grand touring, blending nimble road behavior with nearly effortless power. Its crisp body lines look forceful at the front end, and particularly charming with the convertible top down.
The SL-Class was most recently redesigned for 2012, but the nameplate has roots going six decades back. Four SL-Class versions are available, identified by engine.
The SL400 uses newly developed V6, a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged engine that develops 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission.
The SL550 comes with a twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8 produces 449 horsepower capable of accelerating to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.
Two AMG editions round out the lineup, delivering the kind of acceleration suggested by the racy body. The SL63 AMG offers a balanced blend of power and handling prowess. Its brawny twin-turbocharged, AMG-built V8, generating 530 horsepower, works with a wet-clutch 7-speed AMG automatic transmission. Acceleration to 60 mph takes just 4.1 seconds. A Performance Package boosts output to 557 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Up top is the SL65 AMG, packing a twin-turbo V12 good for 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet and a 7-speed automatic.
Each model stands ready to deliver relaxed luxury along with willing power, as well as nimble maneuvers when needed. Twin-turbo V8s, in particular, can provide an exceptional surge of energy. Driving one of these can become intense, but only if that's your preference. If not, you can expect relaxed cruising, surrounded by luxury.
All SL-Class models have Mercedes-Benz's COMAND infotainment system, including a 7-inch display screen, DVD changer, and Web browsing. Optional comfort features include Airscarf, which sends warm air to the driver's neck. The folding hardtop can have Magic Sky Control, which turns the roof's glass panel dark. A premium Bang & Olufsen sound system can replace the standard Harman/Kardon setup.
Changes are few for 2016, as a redesigned SL-Class is scheduled for the 2017 model year.
Four levels of power are available in the SL-Class:
SL400 ($85,050) contains the 3.0-liter V6 and comes with leather upholstery, wood trim, 12-way power seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, navigation, ambient lighting, a heated windshield, and 18-inch run-flat tires. Harman/Kardon surround sound has 10 speakers.
SL550 ($108,050) moves up to the 449-horsepower, 4.7-liter V8.
SL63 AMG ($149,700) gets the 530-horsepower, 5.5-liter V8.
SL65 AMG ($217,550) is powered by a 6.0-liter V12 engine.
Standard safety features include active headlights and LED daytime running lights. Attention Assist is standard, but a rearview camera is part of an option package. The Driver Assistance Package bundles Pre-Safe braking, adaptive radar cruise control, blind-spot assist, and lane-keeping assist. Pop-up rollbars are designed to activate in a rollover.