2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review

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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Effortless acceleration
  • impeccably trimmed and relatively spacious interior
  • retractable glass-roof hardtop
  • standard features galore
  • relaxed ride
  • capable handling.
  • Bulbous styling may be a turn-off to some.

Though its styling may be an acquired taste, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class roadster provides a beautifully executed blend of luxury, technology and performance.

Vehicle overview

You simply can't drive a 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class without being amazed by both the depth and breadth of its skill set. The SL's slick three-piece retractable hardtop offers both the comfort and security of a coupe and the wind-in-your-hair motoring experience of a convertible. Four different engines are available, giving you a range of horsepower from 329 to 621. Then there's the exquisitely detailed cabin and long list of standard features and options. In pretty much every respect, this is a spell-bindingly excellent car.

The biggest news in the SL-Class lineup this year is the introduction of the new SL400 variant that has a V6 engine under that rather prominent hood. A V6? Blasphemy! But with still-respectable acceleration and an as-new MSRP $20,000 below its siblings' six-figure price tags, this new entry-level model promises to open up the possibility of SL ownership to more buyers than ever before. For those with more substantial budgets and more aggressive driving habits, of course, the SL550, and high-performance SL AMG and SL 65 AMG models return largely unchanged.

Expectedly, this elite luxury roadster realm is filled with appealing alternatives. If you want something with sportier handling, the 2015 Audi R8, 2015 Jaguar F-Type and 2015 Porsche 911 would all be better choices. And at the price of the SL 65 AMG, perhaps you'd find the exotic 2015 Bentley Continental GT more appealing. But overall we think it's a very good thing to be an SL driver, and Mercedes' iconic luxury roadster has arguably never been more appealing.

2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class models

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is a two-seat, retractable-hardtop convertible that's now offered in four trims: SL400, SL550, SL AMG and SL 65 AMG.

The new entry-level SL400's list of standard features includes 18-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, adaptive xenon headlights, automatic high-beam control, front and rear foglights, LED daytime running lights, automatic wipers and a see-through power-folding hardtop. Inside you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, perforated leather upholstery, 12-way active multicontour power-adjustable seats, heated seats, memory settings, a power-operated wind blocker panel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and cruise control. Technology features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Mercedes' COMAND electronics interface and mbrace telematics systems, a navigation system and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio and USB/iPod interface.

The most notable option on the SL400 is a Premium package that bundles a rearview camera, an automatic parallel parking system, ventilated seats with massage, the AirScarf neck-area heating system, keyless entry and ignition and a power trunk closer. The SL550 includes all of the above, and adds a more powerful V8 engine and front and rear parking sensors.

Both the SL400 and SL550 are also available with a Sport Wheel option package that includes 19-inch alloy wheels, larger front brakes with painted calipers and drilled rear brake discs, plus a sport steering wheel accented with perforated leather trim and silver shift paddles.

The high-performance SL AMG features an even more powerful V8 engine, a limited-slip rear differential, 19-inch alloy wheels, Active Body Control suspension with more aggressive tuning, upgraded brakes and a higher top-speed limiter. The cabin gets illuminated door sills, upgraded leather upholstery and an AMG Performance Media system that can display G-forces and other related information.

A Driver Assistance option package that includes adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot warning system and active lane-keeping assist is available on the SL400, SL550 and SL AMG.

The top-of-the-line SL 65 AMG gets a V12 engine, 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels, the contents of the Driver Assistance option package, a panoramic roof with a Magic Sky feature that darkens the tint at the touch of a button, soft-closing doors, a night-vision infrared camera system, a split-view front entertainment system and a premium 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system. Both the AMG models can also be optioned with an exterior Carbon Fiber Trim package that includes a carbon-fiber front airdam, mirror covers and rear spoiler. The AMG High-Contrast Styling package includes distinctive 19-inch front and 20-inch rear alloy wheels, a gloss black hardtop and rear spoiler, black chrome exhaust tips, a performance steering wheel and unique interior trim. Carbon-ceramic high-performance brakes are also available.

Stand-alone options include 19-inch alloy wheels, upgraded designo leather upholstery and interior trim, plus many of the features found on the two AMG models.

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2015 Highlights

For 2015, Mercedes' SL lineup adds a new, more affordable V6-powered SL400 model. On the audio front, the standard Harman Kardon system drops to 11 speakers instead of 14, and the six-disc CD changer has been dropped. The SL AMG model's Performance package has also been eliminated, but its limited-slip rear differential, power boost and top speed increase are now standard.

Performance & mpg

The new 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL400 is propelled by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. The SL550 gets a turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 engine that puts out 429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive.

Naturally, EPA estimated fuel-economy varies by engine. A standard automatic engine stop-start system helps the SL400 earn a respectable EPA estimated fuel-economy rating of 23 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway), while Mercedes-Benz claims acceleration to 60 mph should take about 5.1 seconds.

The SL550's numbers are a still decent 20 mpg combined (18/25), and in Edmunds testing, the SL550 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds.

Powering the SL AMG is a turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 that pumps out 577 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a specialized seven-speed automatic with quicker shifts than the standard version. The EPA rates the SL at 19 mpg combined, while Mercedes conservatively projects a 4.1-second sprint to 60 mph.

Finally, the SL 65 AMG comes fitted with a turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 that's rated at an impressive 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque, mated to the same specialized seven-speed automatic transmission. In Edmunds testing, the SL 65 AMG sprinted to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds. EPA fuel economy ratings drop to 17 mpg combined.

Safety

Standard safety features on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class include antilock brakes with automatic brake drying, stability and traction control, head- and thorax-protecting side airbags and knee airbags. Also standard are roll bars that automatically deploy, a PreSafe system that can tighten the seatbelts, adjust the seats and roll up the windows if a collision or rollover is deemed imminent, and Attention Assist, a feature that monitors a number of variables and will sound a warning if it detects signs that the driver may be becoming drowsy.

A rearview camera (optional on the SL400) and mbrace2 safety telematics are also standard, the latter of which includes automatic collision notification, an SOS button, stolen vehicle location, alarm notification and remote door lock/unlock.

The main safety option on SL models is the Driver Assistance package (standard on the SL 65 AMG) that includes adaptive cruise control with pre-collision braking, plus active lane-keeping assist and active blind-spot assist, both of which can automatically intervene if sensors detect a potentially dangerous situation.

In Edmunds brake testing, the SL550 came to a stop from 60 mph in 114 feet, which is a bit long for such an expensive performance car with summer tires. The SL 65 was better, with a stopping distance of 108 feet.

Driving

While the long list of techno-gadgetry and top-quality materials go a long way to bolstering the Mercedes SL-Class' "yes, you can have it all" image, driving this luxury roadster seals the deal.

While we have yet to drive the new SL400 model, we can say its SL550 sibling is among the most accomplished sports cars on the road, with an abundance of acceleration, powerful brakes and exemplary handling capabilities, especially when fitted with the available Active Body Control suspension option that all but eliminates body roll. Perhaps more remarkable is the fact that in normal everyday motoring, the SL's smooth ride and sophisticated transmission give it an air of relaxed refinement that is decidedly uncommon in cars with this much performance potential, even the mightiest SL 65 AMG which earned an Edmunds "A" rating.

Those seeking to make a substantial impression on passers-by will likely find themselves lusting for one of the two AMG models, by virtue of their sexier stance and more muscular engines. With these, however, it's mostly style points or bragging rights, as the SL550 offers all the power and handling anyone could realistically ever take advantage of in a street car.

Interior

Of course, the big problem with having everything (or nearly everything) is where to put it. In this regard, the 2015 Mercedes SL-Class is a model of efficient use of space.

For example, Mercedes designers and engineers have managed to pack the passenger cabin with an enormous amount of technology without making the cockpit look overly cluttered. Accessing most of these features is done via the COMAND system's console-mounted knob, which calls up menus on the 7-inch center display. Worthy of special mention are unique features like the optional SplitView central display that allows the driver and passenger to see their own unique content like the nav system's map and a DVD movie simultaneously.

In more practical terms, head- and legroom are abundant, and the 12-way power-adjustable seats offer a particularly large amount of fore-and-aft travel which, combined with the power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, makes it easy for a wide range of individuals to find an ideal driving position. The sun-reflective perforated leather upholstery offers heating, ventilation and a massage function that makes the SL an excellent road-trip machine. Add the power mesh wind blocker that rises from behind the seats and the AirScarf neck-level heating system and it becomes possible to enjoy open-air motoring in conditions where owners of lesser convertibles feel compelled to put the top up.

When it comes to loading up for a trip to the golf course or a romantic weekend getaway, the trunk offers 10.2 cubic feet of storage with the roof up and 7.2 cubic feet with it folded down (there's also a significant amount of storage behind the seats). Accessing the trunk is made easier by a hands-free power opener that can be activated by waving a foot under the rear bumper.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
PURE SUBLIME ELEGANCE
Matt,05/02/2019
SL 550 2dr Convertible (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 7A)
This is my dream car. I love that its fast as lightning , beautiful to look at and the way it handles, but does it all in an effortless, professional way. It is so packed with luxury but is still a masculine car. do we really like to get punished in a Porsche just because we want to drive in a sports car? Maybe getting soft in my 40's but I like a quiet, smooth, UN-jarring ride mixed with massive power and agility. I'm not competing on a race track. anyone saying this SL is anything less than totally sophisticated understated and beautiful is maybe upset that they don't own it. Update: excellent reliability still just as beautiful as the day I bought it.
5 out of 5 stars
A classic Benz
William Ferguson,10/01/2019
SL 400 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7A)
Styling is subjective but I think it’s gorgeous. Twin turbo V-6 has plenty of power and gets 30+ mpg on highway. Love the massaging seats and other luxury features. Ride is firm, even in Comfort mode, but not punishing. I bought an off-lease car with 30k miles for less than half of list price. Like all Mercedes products, maintenance costs are high. This car has a very high “wow” factor.
5 out of 5 stars
Live in your car, love what you drive!!!
Flo Bullock,12/01/2019
SL 400 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7A)
Best car I have ever owned. It's solid, feels super safe. It' a fun drive! The trunk is deceiving. It fits more than you can imagine. Haven't had any problems with it other than a couple of minor things that were covered. It's almost 5 years old.
5 out of 5 stars
Wonderful
John Bailen,05/22/2020
SL 400 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7A)
Replaced my Jaguar XK with a SL 400. Big step up in sophistication. Tech is far superior in the SL. Great rear drive handling. Mine has a CD player (Edmunds review says it shouldn’t). Also, the top is a two piece, not three, which limits the stylists in the size of the quarter windows. After eight months I remain very pleased with my SL. The shift points on the transmission are sometimes odd. Maybe Mercedes should consider providing ZF units as do many of their competitors. Still enjoying my SL. It recently required a repair to the retractable hardtop. It is a hydraulic system. It had a leak in one of the lines. A not inexpensive repair. Maybe a little early for that type of repair with only 34,000 miles.

More about the 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview

The Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is offered in the following submodels: SL-Class SL 65 AMG, SL-Class Convertible, SL-Class SL 63 AMG. Available styles include SL 400 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7A), SL 550 2dr Convertible (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 7A), SL 63 AMG 2dr Convertible (5.5L 8cyl Turbo 7A), and SL 65 AMG 2dr Convertible (6.0L 12cyl Turbo 7A). Pre-owned Mercedes-Benz SL-Class models are available with a 3.0 L-liter gas engine or a 4.7 L-liter gas engine or a 5.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 557 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 7-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?

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Which used 2015 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) 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned 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 Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.

Can't find a used 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

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Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 8 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $24,054.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz SL-Class for sale - 1 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $9,910.

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Should I lease or buy a 2015 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
Check out Mercedes-Benz SL-Class lease specials