• 2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class

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The SL-Class is one of the most iconic namplates in Mercedes’ storied history, as it dates all the way back to the legendary 300SL that debuted in 1954. The second, third, and fourth generations debuted in 1963, 1972, and 1989, respectively, and all brought significant changes.

The fifth-gen SL launched in 2003, and Mercedes gave it a significant facelift in 2008. Finally in 2012, the sixth-generation SL debuted at the 2014 North American International Auto Show, but it quickly became evident that it needed work to help separate it from the smaller SLK. This leads us to the revised version of the SL that has launched at the 2015 LA Auto Show, in preparation for the the 2016 model year in the U.S.

The new SL sports highly revised front and rear fascias with new headlights, taillights, and an all-new hood. The top is also reworked, allowing the power-folding hardtop to open and close at speed up to 40 kph, or 25 mph. The interior also sees some improvements, though not as drastic as the exterior. Fit and finish are said to be improved and the steering wheel has been updated.

The SL model range is getting revisions itself. The entry-level model has moved from the SL400 to the SL450, thanks to a revised V-6 engine with more power. The V-8 engine carries over from last year, keeping its SL550 designation. The same is true for the two AMG variants, the V-8-powered SL63 and the V-12-powerd SL65.

So let’s take a look at the refreshed SL-Class.

Updated 12/04/2015: Mercedes dropped a very interesting commercial for its latest SL. Hit play to watch it and let us know what do you think about it!

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.

  • 2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    362 @ 5500
  • Torque @ RPM:
    369 @ 1800
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
    85000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class High Resolution Exterior
- image 655991
2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class High Resolution Exterior
- image 655993
2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class High Resolution Exterior
- image 655995

The SL-Class has certainly benefited from the changes. The car looks much more premium in comparison to the smaller and less expensive SLK-Class. Now the two can be more easily told apart, helping customer seeking an exclusive, ultra-premium coupe feel better about their SL purchase.

The rear is classic Mercedes, though it does depart from the previous SL’s design.

The front clip has much more character to its design than before, with large air inlets under the new LED headlights, chrome or carbon fiber accents, and the new hood with its power dome. The rear is classic Mercedes, though it does depart from the previous SL’s design. The LED taillights and rear deck lid are more rounded, with sharp angles added to the mix down below, all thanks to the exhaust tips and chrome brightwork.

A bevy of new wheel options are available, including 10-spoke and five-spoke designs sized at 19 inches. Opting for the AMG package will make available six additional wheel designs. Two new colors are added to the pallet, and include Brilliant Blue and Selenite Grey Magno.

The two-piece hardtop roof operates at the push of a button while the car is moving. The top includes the option of Mercedes’ Magic Sky Control – the glass roof that changes from clear to opaque in seconds. Another “magic” feature that carries over from the previous car is Mercedes’ Magic Vision Control. Basically, it’s an innovated way to clean the windshield. Water hoses are incorporated into the wiper arms and spray cleaning solution onto the glass just in front of the blade. This happens in both directions. Best of all, the system keeps water from spraying inside the cabin when the top is retracted.

More over, the entire body shell is made of aluminum, helping lighten the car by roughly 220 pounds.

Interior

2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class High Resolution Interior
- image 656032

Speaking of the cabin, the SL has undergone only slight changes. Mercedes says gaps between panels have grown smaller, making the interior feel more premium. A new three-spoke steering wheel offers a slight change over the previous unit. The gauge cluster still features the two-tube design for the speedometer and tachometer The gauges, however, have been updated. A center-mounted TFT display offers vitals on the car, along with trim and mileage information.

Mercedes says gaps between panels have grown smaller, making the interior feel more premium.

The leather seats can now be had in saddle brown, made from nappa leather and Exclusive nappa leather. The interior also has nighttime mood lighting with the choice of three, driver-selectable colors. They are solar red, polar blue, and polar white. The center console has been updated with two USB ports.

Connectivity has been improved with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Included third-party apps include Stitcher Radio and Spotify, in addition to SiriusXM radio. Mercedes’ Command Online system now includes live traffic updates.

The cargo area has been updated with an electronically controlled “boot separator.” Basically, the separator acts by itself to correctly partition off the truck space for cargo or the folding hard top. The truck as now has a hands-free opening operation. Like several Ford products, the owner can kick under the rear bumper and the truck lid will open.

Drivetrain

2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 656054

The big news under the newly shaped hood is the twin-turbocharged V-6 now has 34 more horsepower, pushing its total output to 362 horses. Torque comes in at 369 pound-feet. The engine is backed by a new nine-speed automatic transmission called the 9G-TRONIC. Because of these changes, the V-6 version of the SL is now called the SL450.

The big news under the newly shaped hood is the twin-turbocharged V-6 now has 34 more horsepower

The SL550’s 4.7-liter, twin-turbo V-8 carries over unchanged, making 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The new nine-speed automatic is found here as well, giving the car two more forward gears over its previous gearbox.

Both of the AMG models carry over unchanged. The SL63 and its 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 still makes 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque while the SL65 and its massive 6.0-liter, twin-turbo V-12 makes 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. The seven-speed Speedshift automatic transmission carries over for these models, though it does have slight modifications to make it quicker shifting.

The Mercedes SL isn’t just a straight-line machine. Its Dynamic Select fuction gives the driver five presets that change the behavior of the engine and transmission, along with the suspension and steering systems. Coming optional is the SL’s Active Body Control. The system reduces body roll in corners by quickly adjusting the suspension to make the car lean into the turn. The system also works to lower the car at higher speeds and raise the car (at the driver’s request) for entering steep driveways and such.

Drivetrain Specifications

SL 450 SL 500 SL 63 SL 65
Number of cylinders/arrangement V-6 V-8 V-8 V-12
Displacement (cc) 2,996 4,663 5,461 5,980
Rated Output 362 HP @ 5,500-6,000 RPM 449 HP @ 5,250 RPM 577 HP @ 5,500 RPM 621 HP @ 5,500 RPM
Rated torque 369 LB-FT @ 1,800-4,500 RPM 516 LB-FT @ 1,800-3,500 RPM 664 LB-FT @ 2,250-3,750 RPM 738 LB-FT @ 2,300-4,300 RPM
Combined fuel consumption from (l/100 km) 7.7 9.0 9.8 11.9
Combined CO2 emissions from (g/km) 175 205 229 279
Acceleration 0-60 mph (s) 4.9 4.3 4.1 4.0
Top speed (mph) 155 155 155 155

Safety

2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class High Resolution Exterior
- image 656030

The 2017 Mercedes SL has a host of active and passive safety system designed to keep the two occupants protected. Coming standard is Active Brake Assist that autonomously brakes the car in the event the driver doesn’t brake in time. Optional systems include the Driver Assistance Package, which includes Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, Active Brake Assist, Blind Spot Assist, and both Pre-Safe and Pre-Safe Plus systems.

Prices

Mercedes has yet to announce pricing for the 2017 SL-Class, but we suspect the MSRP of each SL variant will remain relatively unchanged. Expect some increase, but not much. The current 2016 SL-Class starts at $85,050 for the SL400 and increases to a whopping $217,550 for the AMG SL65.

Competition

Porsche 911 Cabriolet

2013 Porsche 911 Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
- image 427335

The SL-Class has a rather wide array of competition due to its wide range of powertrain options, but the Porsche 911 Cabriolet lineup seems to match it well. The 911 Cabriolet’s powertrain lineup ranges from the Carerra’s 3.4-liter H-6 that develops 350 horses and 287 pound-feet of torque to the Turbo S’ 560 horses and 516 pound-feet of twist. This may all change by the time the new SL-Class debuts, as the 991.2 Porsche 911 is set to debut in the next few years.

The 2015 911 Cabriolet also matches the SL-Class pretty well in pricing, as its base Carerra model checks in at $96,200 for the 2015 model year, while the 2015 Turbo S model bases at $194,600.

Read more about the Porsche 911 Cabriolet here.

2016 Jaguar F-Type Convertible

2013 Jaguar F-Type Roadster High Resolution Exterior
- image 492842

The Jaguar F-Type Convertible lineup is another possible competitor to the SL-Class, and it is set for some serious drivetrain updates heading into 2016. For the new model year, the F-Type Convertible gains new S AWD and R AWD variants that include a 350-horse, supercharged V-6 and a 550-horsepower, supercharged V-8, respectively, mated to a new all-wheel-drive system. The rest of the F-Type Convertible lineup remains unchanged, except that the base model is also now available with a six-speed manual.

There are no mentions of pricing yet, but expect a mild uptick in the base model and a decent hike in the S and R variants to compensate for their AWD systems.

Read more about the Jaguar F-Type Convertible here.

Conclusion

2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class High Resolution Exterior
- image 656013

The key improvement Mercedes has made to the SL-Class should help revive interest in the car, especially with the increased power in the V-6 model, the new nine-speed transmission in the non-AMG versions, and the upgraded exterior looks. The new aluminum body shell helps add rigidity and cut weight – two things that help a sports car move. With that, performance should slightly increase across the model range.

  • Leave it
    • Very Expensive
    • Few changes with interior
    • Tons of competition to fend off

Updated History

Updated 11/18/2015: Mercedes unveiled the 2017 SL-Class at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Updated 11/13/2015: The first official images of the new Mercedes SL-Class surfaced online, meaning that an official debut should happen anytime now. Stay tuned for the official details!

Updated 11/11/2015: Mercedes dropped a first teaser image of the facelift SL-Class and confirmed an official debut will be made next week at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Updated 10/21/2015: The new Mercedes SL was caught testing on the road sporting very little camouflage. Rumors suggest the model will be unveiled next month at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Updated 03/03/2015: Based on the recent spy shots we created a rendering for the future Mercedes SL-Class facelift. Check it out and let us know what do you think.

Spy Shots

July 10, 2015: - Mercedes SL spied inside and out

2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class Exterior Spyshots
- image 636724
2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class Exterior Spyshots
- image 636726
2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class Exterior Spyshots
- image 636730

March 16, 2015 - Mercedes SL reveals its interior

2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class Exterior Spyshots
- image 621480
2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class Exterior Spyshots
- image 621483
2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class Interior Spyshots
- image 621478
Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read full bio
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