2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
- Interior is a model of luxury and refinement
- Effortless acceleration
- Excellent handling doesn't come at the expense of comfort
- Folding hardtop still allows for decent cargo space
- AMG models aren't as agile as similarly priced exotics
2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class pricingin Ashburn, VA
Which SL-Class does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating8.1 / 10
On the heels of a major update last year, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class roadster maintains its top position in the luxury convertible segment. Of course, all four engine options provide prodigious power, and the SL-Class' adaptive suspension soaks up the bumps and provides excellent agility when the road gets twisty. But it's the integration of these sporty attributes with a plush and quiet cabin, in addition to a few choice luxury features, that makes the SL-Class the gold standard for luxury convertibles.
The SL-Class' power-retractable hardtop comes with a glass roof, which can be further optioned with an electrochromic feature that uses an electric current to adjust its opacity for when you want the view without the exposure to the elements. Alternately, Mercedes' Airscarf system blows warm air from the base of the headrest to keep necks warm on those top-down drives when you want just a little exposure. And a power-retractable wind deflector mitigates buffeting when top-down cruising at highway speeds for conversations and minimal hair-tussling.
There are sportier convertibles available. If that's what you want, look no further than Mercedes' own AMG GT, perhaps. But for an expert balance of both luxury and sport, there's nothing better than the SL-Class.
2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class configurations
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is a two-seat convertible with a power-folding hardtop and is available in four trim levels. The base SL 450 is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (362 horsepower, 369 pound-feet) 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). The AMG SL 63 comes with a bigger turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 (577 hp, 664 lb-ft), a seven-speed automatic and special performance hardware and styling elements. Finally, the AMG SL 65 tops the group with its turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 (621 hp, 738 lb-ft) and the seven-speed automatic.
Standard features for the SL 450 include 19-inch wheels, a power windblocker, LED headlights and running lights, automatic high beams, headlight washers, automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning and mitigation, keyless entry and ignition, selectable drive modes and an adaptive suspension.
Inside, you get dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable steering wheel, sun-reflecting leather upholstery, power-adjustable heated seats, a navigation system, voice controls, Mercedes' Mbrace emergency communications, the COMAND infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two USB ports, and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with a six-CD changer and satellite and HD radio.
The SL 550 adds AMG-branded 19-inch wheels, a power trunklid with hands-free activation, an automated parking system, the Airscarf neck-level heater, and ventilated seats with active side bolsters and massage functions.
The AMG SL 63 receives a high-performance drive and suspension settings, Active Body Control (which mitigates body roll while cornering), upgraded brakes, a limited-slip differential, unique AMG gauges and other AMG-themed aesthetic flourishes, a dashtop analog clock made by International Watch Co., upgraded leather upholstery, and a simulated-suede headliner.
At the top of the SL food chain is the AMG SL 65, which gets staggered-diameter wheels (19-inch front, 20-inch rear), adaptive LED headlights, the Magic Sky Control electrochromic dimming roof, soft-closing doors, adaptive cruise control, rear collision mitigation, blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, and a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Most of the fancier trims' premium features are optional on lesser models. All SLs are eligible for a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and many interior upholstery and trim upgrades. AMG models can be outfitted with carbon-ceramic brakes and carbon-fiber exterior trim.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG (turbo 5.5L V8 | 7-speed automatic | RWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current SL-Class has received some revisions but our findings remain applicable to this year's SL-Class.
Noise & vibration6.0
Ease of use7.5
Getting in/getting out7.5
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
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 the effects.
Sponsored cars related to the SL-Class
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has one of the most glorious heritages of any new vehicle. It's the direct lineal descendant 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 the 2018 model the 61st anniversary of the SL two-seat drop-top. Cars don't get much more glamorous than the SL-Class.
The SL's styling was significantly overhauled last year. Often criticized as somewhat awkward-looking, 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 it's a spectacular touring machine that's powerful in any trim level and gloriously well-mannered even when pushed harder than most owners will ever push. It's a luxury machine where the greatest luxury is its overwhelming competence.
Mercedes offers the SL-Class in four varieties, starting with the SL 450 powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with 362 horsepower. Next up is the popular SL 550 with its twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 coming in at 449 hp, followed by the more powerful, AMG-tuned SL models. That's the AMG SL 63 with a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 walloping out 577 hp and the slightly berserk AMG SL 65 with a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 knocking out an astonishing 621 hp.
The SL 450 and SL 550 both use a nine-speed automatic transmission, while 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-Class carries EPA fuel economy ratings ranging from the SL 450'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 such as the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, 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.
2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview
The 2018 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 550 2dr Convertible (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 9A), SL 450 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 9A), SL 63 AMG 2dr Convertible (5.5L 8cyl Turbo 7A), and SL 65 AMG 2dr Convertible (6.0L 12cyl Turbo 7A).
What do people think of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2018 SL-Class 4.5 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 2018 SL-Class.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2018 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.
Which 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Classes are available in my area?
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Should I lease or buy a 2018 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