2020 SL 550 New Car Test Drive
The Mercedes-Benz SL might be seen as a sports car, but it's more of a small luxury roadster. It's elegant and powerful, while being gentle and nimble. Its rivals are heavy hitters, for example the iconic Porsche 911 Cabriolet, legendary Chevrolet Corvette, gorgeous Jaguar F-Type, or awesome Aston Martin DB9.
Refreshed in 2017, it's carried over unchanged for 2019.
The entry-level model is the SL450 with its twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6, making 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Next comes the SL550, sporting a twin-turbo 4.7-liter V-8 with 449 hp and 516 lb-ft. The SL65 flaunts a massive 6.0-liter twin-turbo V-12 that delivers a racecar-like 621 hp and unbelievable 738 lb-ft of torque. Finally, there is the Mercedes-AMG SL63, which backs things down a bit, but not much, to a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 making 577 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque; it uses a 7-speed automatic.
The SL-Class hasn't been crash-tested by the government or insurance industry, but it's safe to say that it's exceptional among performance cars, as it receives so many of the active safety systems in the S-Class flagship sedan. Collision Prevention Assist Plus is standard, with active brake assist. It also sports active headlamps, LED daytime running lights, and Attention Assist, which monitors the driver for drowsiness and displays a coffee-cup icon on the dash when it's time for a caffeine break.
The 2019 SL-Class hasn't been rated by the EPA, but the SL450 with the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 should get about 23 combined miles per gallon. Mileage goes down as power goes up in the other models. .
The SL450 ($89,150) uses a twin-turbo V-6, the SL550 ($113,550) a twin-turbo V-8, the AMG SL63 ($154,450) a twin-turbo V-8, and the SL65 (more than $222.000) a twin-turbo V-12.
The SL-Class comes standard with front airbags, side airbags that extend to protect the head and thorax, knee airbags, and pop-up roll bars that activate in a rollover.
Options include parking sensors and park assist, which uses sensors and electric power steering to angle the SL into a spot while the driver maintains control over the brake.
An available Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control with steering assist, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and Pre-Safe Brake, which will brake at up to 40 percent power, while sounding an alert, if traffic is stopped ahead. With the latter feature, the moment the driver touches the brake pedal 100 percent of braking power is delivered..