Dated design with exclusive features inside and out

The Mercedes-Benz SL Grand Edition is a special-edition version of the company’s familiar and fairly old SL roadster. Based on the sixth-generation SL, upgraded most recently for the 2017 model year, the Grand Edition is probably the last hurrah for the dated roadster, which should be replaced by 2021. Described as an "especially exclusive" Mercedes-Benz, the Grand Edition is indeed a more bespoke version of the SL, but upgrades are limited to special color and trim on the outside and a new leather upholstery inside the cabin. The Grand Edition also rides on a sportier suspension, but it features the same engines as the standard model. Let’s find out more about it in the review below.

Updated 03/20/2019: We’ve updated this review with fresh images of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz SL Grand Edition that were taken during the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Check them out in the gallery at the bottom of this page!

What Makes the 2019 Mercedes SL Grand Edition Special?

  • exclusive Graphite Grey exterior
  • high-gloss chrome trim
  • matte silver inserts
  • "Grand Edition" badges
  • AMG wheels
  • Designo upholstery
  • Diamond quilting
  • Sports steering wheel
  • Standard engines
  • Sportier suspension
2020 Mercedes-Benz SL Grand Edition Exterior
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The Graphite Grey paint is exclusive to the Grand Edition, so you can't order it on the regular SL

Although it’s pretty old and lacks the luster of a modern premium car, I must admit that the SL still looks cool in certain configurations and colors. Mercedes-Benz is well aware of that, and I’m pretty sure it’s exactly why it decided to offer the Grand Edition in Graphite Grey. I rarely say this about a grey color, but this Graphite hue looks stunning and enhances the SL’s muscular and organic lines. It’s a bit similar to Obsidian Black metallic, but it has strong metallic flakes and a slightly lighter hue.

This color is exclusive to the Grand Edition, so you can’t order it on the regular SL or even the AMG version. You could probably select it from the Designo options list, but I’m pretty sure it will cost you a pretty penny.

But the Grand Edition isn’t only about a special paint on the outside. In the front, Mercedes-Benz combines this dark paint with high-gloss chrome and matte silver trim. The side vents have chrome trim, the lower bumper features a matte silver line, while the grille combines both. The effect is interesting, to say the least. While the chrome stands out and shines in sunlight, the matte silver adds a more restrained, classy vibe.

2020 Mercedes-Benz SL Grand Edition Exterior
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The AMG wheels match the body with black design and chrome accents

The same combination of chrome and matte silver highlights the car’s profile, especially on the side skirts and the front fender vents. The latter also includes "SL Grand Edition" badges with "Grand Edition" lettering in gold. The wheels are also unique to this model, and while this isn’t something new, the big news is that Mercedes-Benz went with a set of AMG rollers. They measure 19 inches in the front and 20 inches in the rear and have a cool finish that matches the rest of the body. The background is high-gloss black, while the rim lip and the ten spokes have a high-sheen finish.

The rear end remains identical to the standard model, so there are no extra features to talk about here.

While the SL’s exterior is still somewhat appealing, the cabin looks really dated compared to other roadsters, especially the brand-new BMW Z4. There’s not much Mercedes-Benz can do improve it unless it redesigns an interior from scratch. The center stack is too crowded, the infotainment display way too small for 2018, while the instrument cluster is of the old-style analog variety.

2020 Mercedes-Benz SL Grand Edition Interior
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The Tundra Brown Pearl leather upholstery comes from the bespoke Designo division

However, Mercedes managed to give the Grand Edition a special vibe by adding a Tundra Brown Pearl leather upholstery from the Designo division. This otherwise expensive option has a metallic surface that matches the exterior and draws attention to the seats and the dashboard. There’s also diamond quilting in Golden Olive Pearl on the seats and the door panels, which is yet another custom feature from Designo.

The steering wheel is wrapped in the same Tundra Brown Pearl leather, but the grip areas are made from perforated black Nappa leather for enhanced grip. The gold piping on the seat bolsters, and the gold "Grand Edition" lettering on the headrests further set this special-edition SL apart from the standard model.

When it comes to tech and features, you get the standard stuff, based on what trim you go for. Mercedes-Benz offers this package for both the SL450 and SL550.

2020 Mercedes-Benz SL Grand Edition Exterior
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The V-6 and V-8 engines are identical to the ones in the standard SL models

This also means that you get the standard engines under the hood. Go with the SL450 and power comes from a 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of twist. That’s enough to give the new BMW Z4, which comes with a 3.0-liter inline-six that delivers 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, a run for its money. However, while the Z4 M40i sprints to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, the SL450 needs an extra second at 4.9 clicks.

Move up to the SL550, and the V-6 is swapped for a 4.7-liter V-8. This mill delivers 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, more than any version of the Z4 can generate as of this writing. However, the SL550 is still notably slower than the Bimmer to 60 mph with a 4.3-second benchmark. If you want more oomph, you’ll have to go with the AMG SL63 version and forget about the Grand Edition upgrades.

2020 Mercedes-Benz SL Grand Edition drivetrain specifications

Mercedes-Benz SL 450 Mercedes-Benz SL 550
Number of cylinders/arrangement V-6 V-8
Displacement (cc) 2,996 4,663
Rated output (hp) 362 449
Rated torque (lb-ft) 369 516
Acceleration 0-60 mph (s) 4.9 4.3
Top speed (mph) (electronically limited) 155 155

While there’s no extra power to enjoy, the Grand Edition does include a sportier suspension setup. It’s not as dynamic as the AMG model, but it lowers the car by 0.4 inches and has firmer springs for enhanced stability and a sportier ride.

No word on pricing yet, but the Grand Edition should add at least $5,000 to the price of the SL450 and SL550. The base model starts from $89,150, while the SL550 comes in at $113,550. The special-edition roadster will arrive in U.S. dealerships in 2020.

Further Reading

2017 Mercedes Benz SL-Class High Resolution Exterior
- image 656039

Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.

2015 Mercedes-Benz SL 417 Mille Miglia Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 617657

Read our full review on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL 417 Mille Miglia Edition.

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