Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Convertible (2012 -) Driving & Performance

Review by Parkers on
Last Updated: 04 Apr 2017
4
Sporty, elegant and stylish, the Mercedes-Benz SL has a lot of appeal. Then again, there are hardly any shrinking violets in this sector.

4.5 out of 5

Performance

Two petrol engines are available: a 435bhp 4.7-litre V8 in the SL500 and a 306bhp 3.5-litre V6 in the SL350. The V8 gets from zero to 62mph in 4.6 seconds and it has a top speed of 155mph. It’s blisteringly quick, which is handy on the open road but also very useful around town, and gives you the confidence to overtake without a drama. The lower powered SL350 gets from zero to 62mph in 5.9 seconds and it has a top speed of 155mph.

Even though it is 1.3 seconds slower to 62mph than the V8 version, there is more than enough power on tap for everyday driving. Both engines are mated to a seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox with paddleshifts behind the steering wheel.

3.5 out of 5

Handling

The Porsche 911 is still top of the class and the BMW 6 Series is very good too, but the Mercedes-Benz SL is getting closer. This sixth generation feels much sharper, especially when you switch the car from comfort mode to sport, and much more agile. That's thanks to a substantial drop in weight and a 57mm increase in track. When cornering there is not enough feedback from the steering to let you know what the front wheels are doing, which is a little disappointing.

With that in mind you never really feel at one with car and the SL does feel somewhat wallowy in corners. Two suspension set-ups are offered on the SL. There’s a semi-active adjustable damping system or the active suspension system called ABC - Active Body Control - that’s available as an optional extra. The SL feels fairly nimble but if handling is your priority then you’ll go for the Porsche 911.