2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review
- Smooth ride and comfortable seats
- Effortless acceleration
- Folding hardtop still allows for decent cargo space
- Not as agile as similarly priced luxury convertibles
- Dated technology features
- A new Grand Edition model debuts
- 2020 likely marks the last year of this SL generation
- Part of the sixth SL generation that was introduced in 2013
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class continues the lineage of one of the most iconic touring roadsters ever. It's been eight years since the SL received a full redesign, though, and its age is showing in the face of fresher competitors. To its credit, the SL remains an excellent luxury convertible that delivers high levels of refinement.
Inside, the SL is very much a last-generation Mercedes, lacking the latest MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system and maintaining the dated interior design. It's a functional cockpit, no doubt, but it's missing a lot of the latest tech features and the visual sophistication of current stablemates. If you don't need the latest and greatest features, though, this SL still has the comfort and performance you'd expect.
There are strong rumors that this may be the last year for this Mercedes-Benz SL generation since some poorly disguised test mules have been spotted in Europe. If that's the case, you may want to wait and see what the next SL has in store for us. Otherwise, the newer rivals from BMW and Porsche should easily satisfy.
The sixth-generation Mercedes-Benz SL has been on sale since the 2013 model year. That's a long time, but Mercedes' consistent updates have kept it from growing overly stale. It's not the fastest or most athletic convertible around, but it is comfortable and practical thanks to a smooth ride, excellent seats and a large trunk. If you're looking for a handsome, understated and comfortable convertible, the SL is worth a look.
How does the SL-Class drive?
We tested the SL 550. Its turbocharged V8 delivers plenty of easy low-end torque. In testing, the SL 550 covered 0-60 mph in an impressive 4.4 seconds. That's not as quick as some rivals, but it doesn't feel any slower on the street.
Driving in the city or passing on the highway feels effortless. Just dip your right foot a little and the SL's V8 emits a warm burble as you're thrust forward with an almost effortless grace. The transmission shifts smoothly and always seems to be in the right gear. And, hey, if you want to make a show of it, the SL is more than willing to light up the rear tires.
Around turns, the SL is capable but feels softer and more imprecise than other sports cars, including the Mercedes-AMG GT. It trades that extra performance for more on-road comfort.
How comfortable is the SL-Class?
The SL's ride quality is excellent. You feel the road surface, but it's well damped and never harsh. The seats help too. The shape is excellent, striking a great balance between comfort and support. Heated, ventilated and massaging seats are standard, and all three work well. There's even a trick setting you can turn on that automatically increases the thickness of the side bolsters during cornering to help keep you from sliding around in the seat.
The climate control works well too. It runs on the cool side, though that's better than not blowing cold enough. The vents are well placed for even air distribution, and the standard Airscarf (a warm-air vent just underneath the headrest) keeps your neck toasty when the top's down. The SL is fairly quiet on the road too, though it's not as quiet as we expect from a convertible with a retractable hardtop.
How’s the interior?
The current SL debuted in 2013, making it one of the oldest vehicles in Mercedes' portfolio. That's not to say it feels totally dated, just from a different era. The SL uses Mercedes' old control system, including the outgoing COMAND infotainment system. Though functions such as seat adjustments for lumbar and bolstering are linked to the system, there are buttons for almost all radio and climate control settings — a plus since we find physical controls easier to use.
Despite its low-slung design, the SL is relatively spacious inside. The cabin is wide and offers a good amount of head and elbow room. It's easy to find a comfortable driving position without much fussing. The low-placed windows mean visibility isn't an issue. The SL's rear window is larger than those on most other convertibles too.
How’s the tech?
This is where the SL really shows its age. It uses last-generation Mercedes-Benz tech, including the infotainment and navigation system. Both lack the features and refinement you'll find in more modern systems, including those in the competition. The SL does come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, but the lack of a touchscreen means they're not as easy to use. We also found the sound quality of the Harman Kardon audio system to be subpar compared to systems in other cars at this price point.
The SL is available with plenty of driver aids, including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring. Most are not included as standard equipment, and, as with the infotainment, they don't feel as refined as the aids in new models.
How’s the storage?
With the top up, the SL's 13.5-cubic-foot trunk is larger than almost anything else in the class. It drops to 8.5 cubic feet with the hardtop lowered, but that's still twice the space of the Lexus LC convertible. The trunk is wide enough for a golf bag and deep enough to fit small luggage.
In the cabin, there's a shelf behind the seat that's good for a couple of soft bags and a hidden bin that's perfect for a purse. The center console and door pockets aren't massive, but they're large enough to be useful for sunglasses or other small items. There's no ideal location to put a smartphone, however.
How economical is the SL-Class?
The SL is available with two engines. The SL 450 uses a turbocharged V6 that gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg combined. Go with the V8-powered SL 550 and the estimate drops to 20 mpg combined. That's actually pretty good for a V8-powered luxury convertible. We observed an impressive 26.1 mpg from our SL 500 test car on our 115-mile test route.
Is the SL-Class a good value?
The SL doesn't feel cheap or overly dated even though it's one of the oldest vehicles in Mercedes' lineup. Some of the buttons and knobs don't have the same premium feel as the ones in newer Mercedes models, but the soft leather and handsome wood trim that adorn nearly every surface make it easy to forgive some of that dated switchgear. Value is decent as the SL 550 includes features such as heated, ventilated and massaging seats, LED lighting, and keyless entry and ignition as standard equipment.
The SL includes a four-year/50,000-mile basic, drivetrain and rust warranty, which is pretty standard for the class. And while we like that Mercedes also includes four years/50,000 miles of roadside assistance, some automakers now include scheduled maintenance.
If you're aiming to stand out or turn heads, you may want to look elsewhere. That's not to say the SL is boring or bland. We like the understated design, and it's handsome without being flashy. Sure, it's been on sale for so long that it doesn't catch your eye like it used to, but it doesn't seem dated either. The exhaust note is killer too, but even that is relatively tame.
The SL is enjoyable to drive, but there are faster and more athletic cars at this price. Where the SL really shines is day-to-day driving or long highway cruises. It's comfortable for hours behind the wheel, and the fat torque curve means giggle-inducing acceleration only takes a small push from your right foot.
Which SL-Class does Edmunds recommend?
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class models
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL is a two-seat convertible with a power-folding hardtop that's available in three trim levels based on engine size and output. The base SL 450 is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (362 horsepower, 369 lb-ft of torque) and sends power to the rear wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission. The SL 550 ups the power with a turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 (449 hp, 516 lb-ft).
Sponsored cars related to the SL-Class
Trending topics in reviews
- sound system
Most helpful consumer reviews
No sound from rear speakers when tuned into XM Satellite radio, only works with CD’s. I never had this problem with S and GLS models!!
You have no surround system, all you hear is the front speakers when the top is down. It needs front to back fader control that all S and GLS classes cars have!!!!
Looks, feel, and comfort!!!!! I could not ask for more. Lives up to the integrity of the Mercedes Legend.
No longer will new sculptural, classically-styled Model 550 SL Roadsters grace our highways and by-ways! Get one while you can!
2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class video
NOTE: This video is about the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, but since the 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is part of the same generation, our earlier analysis still applies.
It's been four years since Mercedes-Benz redesigned the iconic SL roadster, so the company picked the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show to roll out a mid-cycle refresh. The 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL now sports a front fascia that pulls some inspiration from the high-performance AMG GT, with a wider grille, larger air inlets and slightly modified headlights. Inside, the changes are subtle: a new steering wheel, larger infotainment screen and remodeled seats.
[MUSIC PLAYING] ALISTAIR WEAVER: This is Alistair Weaver for Edmunds. Now, consider this for a moment. When is a Mazda Miata not a Mazda Miata? Well, the answer is when it's carrying a Fiat badge, and dubbed a 124. Fiat did a deal with Mazda to use the platform of the wonderful MX5. And to re-clothe it with a bit of Italian flare, which they've done, sort of. Looks are obviously subjective, but to our eyes, it lacks the sort of simple beautiful elegance we might have expected of our Italian cousins. These lights, for example, feel a little bit clumsy. We don't even like it as much as we do the MX5. The Fiat, though, has a very different engine, a 1.4 liter turbo, developing 160 horsepower. It places the two liter naturally aspirated version in the Mazda. That engine's mated to either a six speed manual or like this model, a six speed automatic gearbox. Fiat says they've changed the door casing and played with the instruments. Though to be honest, that's probably no notable change. The rest of the cabin is pure MX5, not that that's necessarily a bad thing. The quality is good, and we like the simplicity of the design, and some of the features like these built-in speakers in the headrest. The only thing we would say, though, is whether the modernist vibe of the aesthetics is at odds with the retro feel of the Fiat's exterior. The 124 is expected to hit US showrooms next summer, priced from around $25,000, bringing it in line with the little Mazda. Which you choose, of course, will come down to personal choice. Me? I'd go with the MX5. But isn't it great that we've now got so many little affordable roadsters on the market?
Features & Specs
|SL 450 2dr Convertible|
3.0L 6cyl Turbo 9A
|MPG||20 city / 28 hwy|
|Transmission||9-speed shiftable automatic|
|Horsepower||362 hp @ 5500 rpm|
|SL 550 2dr Convertible|
4.7L 8cyl Turbo 9A
|MPG||17 city / 25 hwy|
|Transmission||9-speed shiftable automatic|
|Horsepower||449 hp @ 5500 rpm|
Example Price Checker™
Our experts’ favorite SL-Class safety features:
- Magic Vision Control
- Keeps the windshield clean by spraying water directly from the wiper, minimizing overspray and maximizing windshield-washer fluid coverage.
- Attention Assist
- Warns you if the car detects irregular driving behavior, such as erratic steering inputs, commonly caused by drowsy driving.
- Pop-Up Roll Bars
- Detects an impending rollover and deploys a pair of roll bars behind the occupants' heads, helping minimize injury.
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class vs. the competition
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class vs. BMW 8 Series
A year after the revival of the BMW 8 Series, the lineup has filled in nicely. There's now a six-cylinder 840i that serves as an entry-level trim to rival the SL 450, at least in regard to price. The newer 8 Series handily beats the SL when it comes to features and technology. It has a slightly smaller trunk than the Benz, but the rear seats fold flat to allow greater cargo capacity.
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class vs. Jaguar F-Type
The Jaguar F-Type is biased more toward performance and driver engagement, as opposed to the SL's touring luxury. As a result, the Jaguar isn't as spacious or comfortable as the Benz, but it does tend to turn more heads. The F-Type also offers a much more accessible entry-level four-cylinder model. The Jag's smaller trunk limits space for weekend getaway luggage.
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class vs. Porsche 911
For those looking to push performance past luxury touring, the Porsche 911 is a legitimate sports car. At the same time, it's surprisingly comfortable, well-mannered for daily commuting and its interior is appointed with quality materials. The main drawbacks are price (especially with options) and the lack of cargo space.
Is the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class a good car?
What's new in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?
According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class:
- A new Grand Edition model debuts
- 2020 likely marks the last year of this SL generation
- Part of the sixth SL generation that was introduced in 2013
Is the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class reliable?
Is the 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class a good car?
How much should I pay for a 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?
The least-expensive 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is the 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL 450 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 9A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $91,000.
Other versions include:
- SL 450 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 9A) which starts at $91,000
- SL 550 2dr Convertible (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 9A) which starts at $114,700
What are the different models of Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?
More about the 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is offered in the following submodels: SL-Class Convertible. Available styles include SL 450 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 9A), and SL 550 2dr Convertible (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 9A).
What do people think of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2020 SL-Class 4.3 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2020 SL-Class.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2020 SL-Class featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
What's a good price for a New 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?
2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL 550 2dr Convertible (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 9A)
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL 550 2dr Convertible (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 9A) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $115,695. The average price paid for a new 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL 550 2dr Convertible (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 9A) is trending $11,683 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.
Edmunds members save an average of $11,683 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $104,012.
The average savings for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL 550 2dr Convertible (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 9A) is 10.1% below the MSRP.Available Inventory:
We are showing 2 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL 550 2dr Convertible (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 9A) vehicle(s) available in the Ashburn area.
Which 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Classes are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class for sale near. There are currently 2 new 2020 SL-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $119,895 and mileage as low as 0 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.
Can't find a new 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
Find a new Mercedes-Benz for sale - 9 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $24,028.
Why trust Edmunds?
Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.
Should I lease or buy a 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.
Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials