LOS ANGELES — The 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster debuted at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show today with refreshed styling and a new nine-speed automatic transmission. Sales are slated to begin in the spring of 2016.
Visually, the new SL is instantly recognizable as something new. The lower air inlets are lower, bigger and set farther apart. The grille opening is larger and flatter, giving the SL a stately, more pronounced look. On the inside, Mercedes has left well enough alone, adding little more than a new steering wheel, a larger infotainment screen and slightly redesigned seats.
Engine options for the SL range from six to 12 cylinders, while all models get standard all-wheel drive. At the bottom is the SL450 with its 362-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 and a claimed 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds. Next up is the SL550, which packs a 449-hp V8. Two AMG models are available: the Mercedes-AMG SL63 and Mercedes-AMG SL65. The former boasts a 5.5-liter, 577-hp twin-turbo V8, while the latter carries on the grand tradition of strapping a couple of turbochargers to a 6.0-liter V12. That one makes 621 hp and 738 pound-feet of torque.
AMG models carry on with the AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed automatic transmission. Standard SLs feature Mercedes' new 9G-tronic nine-speed automatic. This new transmission pairs with an updated Dynamic Select mode that alters not just the transmission's behavior, but also helps fine-tune the behavior of the car itself.
Active Body Control (ABC) now includes a more dynamic "curve tilting" function to reduce the feeling of lean one encounters when turning. Don't worry, as there are still two sport modes (Sport and Sport Plus) for those who want to feel the road. The suspension can also raise the vehicle 2 inches for travel on rough roads.
Not just content with more power, more gears and better looks, Mercedes made the SL a little more usable in climates with erratic weather; the convertible top can now be opened or closed at up to 25 mph and has an automatic trunk separator. Handy, as the last one required you to put that down manually, which involved getting out of the car.
Edmunds says: The Mercedes-Benz SL has always been a beautifully built roadster that is also outstanding to drive. Now it has the looks to match.