The 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL has one of the most glorious heritages of any new vehicle. It's the direct lineal descendent of Mercedes' legendary 300SL Gullwing supercar from the 1950s and the 300SL convertible roadster that followed it. In fact that big roadster first appeared for the 1957 model year, making this the 60th anniversary of the SL two-seat drop-top. Cars don't get much more glamorous than the SL.
The styling has been significantly overhauled for 2017 with Mercedes' current themes and details adapted to the body shell first introduced for the 2013 model year. Often criticized as somewhat awkward-appearing, the revisions visually pull weight out of the car's nose and make it appear smoother and more sophisticated. New lower bodywork along the flanks and rockers add some voluptuousness to the look too. By any reasonable aesthetic standard, this is a significantly better-looking car than before.
But it's no smaller. This is a big, heavy roadster that densely packs in almost every piece of technology that Mercedes can imagine, including a retractable hardtop roof that folds back with the push of a single button. It's not a sports car in any meaningful way, but a spectacular touring machine that's powerful in any trim level and gloriously well mannered even when pushed harder than most of its owners will ever push. It's a luxury machine where the greatest luxury is its overwhelming competence.
Mercedes offers the SL in four varieties ranging from the new SL450 powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 rated at 362 horsepower, through the popular SL550 with its twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 coming in at 449 horsepower, and up into the more powerful, AMG-tuned SL models. That's the AMG SL 63 with a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 walloping out 577 horsepower and the slightly berserk AMG SL 65 with a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 knocking out an astonishing 621 horsepower.
The SL450 and SL550 both use a new nine-speed automatic transmission. The AMG models are fitted with a higher-capacity, seven-speed automatic gearbox. Though Mercedes offers its 4Matic all-wheel-drive system as an option in its sedans and SUVs, the two-seaters still use rear-wheel drive. Mercedes' Active Body Control system that hydraulically corrects for body roll under most circumstance is available on all SL models.
Fuel economy isn't usually a primary concern for buyers in this rarefied air, but the SL carries EPA fuel economy ratings ranging from the SL450's not shabby 23 mpg combined (20 city/28 highway) to the AMG SL 65's hungrier 16 mpg combined (13 city/22 highway).
Even with high-end cars like the SL, it pays to be a smart shopper. And that means using the tools available here on Edmunds to find the right car at a great dealer.
Is the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 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.
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How do people like the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 SL-Class 4 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 2017 SL-Class.
Review There are lots of choices in today's marketplace for the person wanting a two seat sports roadster. I ordered my SL 450 on the day that the dealer was allowed to enter orders for the 2017 model year. The homework prior to selecting the SL 450 was many months of soul searching for the right car, and in the end my list of wants played a role in my final selection. I nixed many models and brands because of over budget price and worthiness to be classified as a luxury roadster. My final decision was made on a budgeted amount I was willing to spend, overall styling, interior comfort, entry/exit, technology features, available options, ride quality, how well the engine was matched to the transmission, safety features, trunk space, outward visibility, and industry magazine articles. I have owned 1981 and 2001 Corvette's so I had that American experience behind me and fulfilled that past teenage desire to someday own a Corvette. As part of my research, I also considered and drove the Corvette Z51, the Jaguar F-Type, the Porsche Cayman S, and the Audi TT. They all had entry/exit issues and trunk space issues, and only the Corvette passed the interior comfort, technology, and ride quality test. The final decision became easy because the Sl 450 met my expectations in a luxury Roadster based on the 2016 model year, and automotive journal comments about the 2017 which I found to be accurate. The motor transmission match-up is an absolute joy, and the motor has plenty of torque to make the driver feel that he/she is not being held back by torque lag. I bought the Brilliant Blue, with the Designo Sand interior and Black Ash Trim, and it is a beautiful classic look. It has every option except for the Automatic Body Control and the Upgrade Sound System. The improvements over the 2016 SL 400 made it easy to wait for the 2017 model year. If you want a car that gets lots of looks and thumbs-up, this car pretty much does that. There is enough trunk space with the top closed to satisfy a week trip worth of luggage. With the top down, and the windows/wind screen up, you can easily carry on a conversation at interstate speeds. I own a GL 550, so moving from one to the other is very easy because the controls are very similar. I had concerns about the small video screen, but it has not been an issue. The only thing I had issues with was learning how to pre-set stations for the radio, its awkward and more complicated than it should be, but great to use once the up-to 100 pre-sets are programmed. I would not spend the additional $20,000.00 for the SL 550 unless you have a personal need to have that emblem on your car. The more I drive this car, the more I want to drive this car.
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What options are available on the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?