2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review

Pros & Cons

  • 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
List Price Range
$68,881 - $85,933

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Which SL-Class does Edmunds recommend?

There's no bad pick. Can't decide? The SL 550 represents an ideal middle ground. It's got the boffo V8 power you likely expect from this class of car but is more affordable than the AMG versions. Add the Driver Assistance package for its additional advanced safety features.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

8.1 / 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 models

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.

Trim tested

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.

Driving

8.5
The SL-Class has slightly synthetic handling but extremely capable. Midcorner bumps don't throw it off too badly. It's equal parts boulevardier and sports car, depending on your whims. Expect mega-power, surprising grip, powerful brakes and good manners.

Acceleration

9.0
The V8 has tremendous power. It accelerated to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds in our testing. Huge reserves of thrust at any rpm.

Braking

8.0
These carbon-ceramic brakes have terrific stopping power and lots of heat capacity. Modulation is a bit touchy at light pedal pressure when cold. The pedal is firm. Sixty mph to zero in 108 feet with very little nosedive or drama.

Steering

7.0
The appropriately quick steering develops some feel in harder driving. The buildup of effort is reasonably intuitive. Overall, the steering doesn't draw attention to itself, for better or worse.

Handling

8.0
The SL-Class is composed thanks to the Active Body Control system. It is sure-footed on winding roads and has heaps of grip. This is a heavy car that works surprisingly well at speed.

Drivability

8.0
Departures from a standstill are graceful every time. Upshifts are smooth, but slowing down can sometimes be jerky due to transmission downshifting. The manual mode could be more responsive.

Comfort

8.0
It is nearly as comfortable as it is fast, and that's no small feat. High refinement levels and very versatile seats make this roadster easily capable of long trips. There's more noise originating from the low-profile tires than you might expect.

Seat comfort

8.5
The SL-Class has highly configurable seats that offer heating, cooling and massage. They even blow warm air on your neck. Lateral support could be better given this car's grip.

Ride comfort

8.0
The ride is not obtrusive, but it is punctuated by tire noise. It's on the appropriately firm side but not harsh, and it doesn't come unglued on rough surfaces.

Noise & vibration

6.0
Road noise is this car's black mark. The short-sidewall tires smack loudly against pavement and can thrum at times, depending on the road texture. The convertible top creaks occasionally. Levels of wind and engine noise are minimal.

Interior

8.0
The well-laid-out cabin offers a surprising amount of room as well as very easy entry and exit. The convertible top earns high marks for its quick, quiet and low-effort stowage. It does, however, compromise the cargo area.

Ease of use

7.5
The cabin is intuitively laid out. The climate control knobs for temperature are big. The buttons for other functions are small.

Getting in/getting out

7.5
A low stepover and a reasonable sill width facilitate getting in and out of the SL-Class gracefully.

Visibility

7.5
There is reasonably good visibility considering the high rear deck and moderately wide rear pillars. The beltline and cowl are not too obtrusive, which facilitates the forward view.

Quality

8.0
The cabin design is handsome rather than adventurous. Aside from the artistic touches on the seats, the cabin shows restraint. Build quality is outstanding, and although the cabin controls are all parts-bin pieces, they work well.

Utility

6.0
The trunk is compromised by the need to stow the roof — there's a deployable shelf to separate out your cargo. Otherwise, it's a large trunk and there's enough cabin storage to be practical. The bonus space behind the seats helps a lot.

Technology

Even in standard guise, the SL-Class comes with a Harman Kardon surround-sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Most advanced driver aids are available.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall8.1 / 10
Driving8.5
Comfort8.0
Interior8.0
Utility6.0

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Liked It So Much, We Bought It!
Josephus,03/21/2018
SL 450 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 9A)
After owning/leasing 2 V8 SLs and 1 AMG SLK we stepped "down" to the new SL450 Twin Turbo V6. Not quite up to V8 performance levels but, surprisingly, close! According to Car & Driver's instrumented tests, and in contrast to Mercedes' typical conservative performance estimates, they say this car turns 0-60 in 4.5 seconds and breaks 107 MPH in the standing quarter mile. And, we don't doubt those stats for a minute! This car out handles our previous SLs and the AMG, and is amazingly close in virtually all other regards. We do miss the sound of the V8 engines, however, equipped with exactly the same options (the V8 excepted) our new 450 $tickered over $18,400 under the SL. And for that kind of savings, I'll sacrifice the V8 rumble for the nor-quite-as-exciting, V6 burbble. So far, we're delighted with our choice!
Sexy red ride
Nancy,07/27/2018
SL 550 2dr Convertible (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 9A)
A good test drive with the top up and down to feel the difference
Terrific car!
NJSmolen,08/16/2019
SL 450 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 9A)
Met all expectations and then some!
Senior citizen loves this car
Joe Kenworthy,08/08/2020
SL 450 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 9A)
One must learn where the front end is and be very careful when navigating even minor dips in the road.

Features & Specs

MPG
16 city / 25 hwy
Seats 2
7-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
577 hp @ 5500 rpm
MPG
17 city / 25 hwy
Seats 2
9-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
449 hp @ 5250 rpm
MPG
13 city / 22 hwy
Seats 2
7-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
621 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
20 city / 28 hwy
Seats 2
9-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
362 hp @ 5500 rpm
See all Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the SL-Class models:

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.

More about the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview

The Used 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 63 AMG 2dr Convertible (5.5L 8cyl Turbo 7A), SL 550 2dr Convertible (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 9A), SL 65 AMG 2dr Convertible (6.0L 12cyl Turbo 7A), and SL 450 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 9A).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL 550 is priced between $74,687 and$85,933 with odometer readings between 3321 and26925 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL 450 is priced between $68,881 and$68,881 with odometer readings between 22976 and22976 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2018 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) 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2018 SL-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $68,881 and mileage as low as 3321 miles. 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 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.

Can't find a used 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz SL-Class for sale - 1 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $14,411.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 12 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $9,280.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz SL-Class for sale - 9 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $16,510.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz for sale - 3 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $23,880.

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
Check out Mercedes-Benz SL-Class lease specials