Starting at $111,050
Car and Driver
8.5/10 C/D RATING
Select a year
- Highs Powerful twin-turbo V-8 engine, slinky exterior styling, high-end interior.
- Lows More of a grand tourer than a sports car, the tiny rear seat is essentially unusable, princely price tag.
- Verdict It looks great and goes like hell, but the SL-class lacks the focus of established sports car rivals.
It might look the part of a racy sports car, but the 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL-class is really more of a grand touring car with a fashion-forward wardrobe. Handling is sharp enough to be entertaining, but the SL’s party piece is its thundering V-8 powertrain. However, before that storm rolls in, Mercedes offers a rear-wheel-drive SL43 that's powered by a 375-hp turbocharged four-cylinder. Moving up to the SL55 and SL63 models unlocks all-wheel drive and a meaningful power increase from a twin-turbo V-8 engine. Those SLs are offered in two strengths, the 469 horsepower SL55 and the 577 horsepower SL63. The SL’s cabin has enough space for two adults and includes plenty of luxury and tech features, including a cool 11.9-inch infotainment display that can adjust its position to better meet the driver’s line of sight. Although Mercedes-AMG refers to the SL as a roadster, it does have two small rear seats. But the back seat is better used as a place for your tote bag or your shopping, as legroom is severely limited; with the convertible top in place, so is headroom.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What's New for 2023?
For its second model year, the new generation SL-class roadster gains a new gray fabric roof option as well as available two-tone white and black leather upholstery. Mercedes has also added an SL43 model to serve as the entry-level SL-class. The SL43 has 375 horsepower, the lowest of the SL range, but that's accommodated by a dramatic drop in starting price. Otherwise, the SL55 and SL63 roll into 2023 without any significant changes.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
A host of luxury features come standard on all SL models, including massaging seats, a head-up display, and a Burmester stereo system. We'd go with the more expensive SL63 to unlock the twin-turbo V-8's maximum power figure. Both the SL55 and SL63 are offered in either Touring or Performance specifications, with the latter coming with a front axle lift feature (to help it clear speed bumps) and darkened exterior trim.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
With the exception of the entry-level SL43, which comes with a 375-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, the SL models are powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 borrowed from the GT sports car. In the SL55 the engine makes a stout 469 horsepower but upgrading to the SL63 boosts that figure to a thundering 577 ponies. A nine-speed automatic is the only transmission, and an all-wheel-drive system and four-wheel steering are standard on SL55 and SL63, while the SL43 is rear-wheel drive only. The top powertrains allow the revived SL-class to take on convertible versions of the BMW 8-series and the Lexus LC—both of which are offered with powerful V-8 engines—as well as more sporting rivals, such as the Porsche 911. During our initial test drive, we found the SL to be a touch off from its new, sportier mission. The car offers several adjustable drive modes, which makes it hard to dial in just the right amount of agility and comfort, giving the impression that it's not quite focused enough on one or the other. Acceleration is prompt, especially with the more powerful version of the V-8 on board, and the SL63 hit 60 mph in just 3.0 seconds in our testing. We haven't tested the entry-level SL43 this year, but Mercedes says it's good for about 4.8 seconds to 60 mph with a top speed of 170 mph.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The SL earned an EPA rating of 14 and 21 mpg for city and highway driving for both the SL55 and SL63 models. Both V-8–powered versions of the BMW 8-series and the Lexus LC are rated at 25 mpg highway, which best the SL by a few mpg. We'll update this space when the SL43 receives its EPA estimate. We're still waiting for our chance to put the new SL-class through our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, to evaluate its real-world mpg. For more information about the SL's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The SL-class remains solely a two-door convertible. But rather than last generation's complicated folding hardtop, a fabric roof has been used on the new model to save weight and maximize cargo space. Still, don't expect an expansive trunk. A pair of small rear seats provide a place to park an occasional passenger, but that area is better suited to cargo than people. The interior is plenty luxurious and Mercedes's novel Airscarf feature, which gently blows warm air on the driver and front passenger's neck during cold weather drives, is standard.
Infotainment and Connectivity
All SL models come with Mercedes's new MBUX infotainment system, complete with the system's "Hey Mercedes" virtual assistant, and a large 11.9-inch touchscreen infotainment display that can be adjusted for viewing angle depending on a driver's preference. A 12.3-inch digital gauge display is also standard. Navigation and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included as well. All SLs come with a Burmester stereo system, but the SL63 can be optioned with an upgraded surround-sound version.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
A host of driver-assistance features will be offered, but it's unclear which will be standard and which will be optional. For more information about the SL's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features are likely to include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with a lane-centering feature
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mercedes-AMG's standard warranty package is the least special thing about its cars and covers a basic four-year/50,000-mile period with no frills or extras. Both the 8-series and the LC offer significant complimentary scheduled maintenance programs, which may make those cars more attractive to those who seek to lease.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2022 Mercedes-AMG SL63
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 2+2-passenger, 2-door convertible
Base/As Tested: $180,450/$204,885
Options: Exterior Carbon Fiber package, $5300; Burmester 3-D surround-sound stereo, $4500; AMG cross-spoke black wheels, $3300;Monza Grey Magno paint, $3250;AMG Aerodynamics package, $2850;Driver Assistance package with active safety equipment (distance assist, steering assist, lane-change assist, emergency-stop assist, speed-limit assist, brake assist with cross-traffic function, evasive steering assist, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, route-based speed adaptation), $1950; Performance trim line (front-axle lift system, surround-view camera, active LED headlights, head-up display), $1800; AMG Night package, $1300; microfiber headliner, $1600
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 243 in3, 3982 cm3
Power: 577 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 590 lb-ft @ 2500rpm
Suspension, F/R: multilink/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 15.4-inch vented, cross-drilled disc; 14.2-inch vented, cross-drilled disc
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
F: 275/35ZR21 (103Y) M01A
R: 305/30ZR21 (104Y) M02A
Wheelbase: 106.3 in
Length: 185.2 in
Width: 75.4 in
Height: 53.5 in
Curb Weight: 4305 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.0 sec
100 mph: 7.1 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.2 sec @ 125 mph
130 mph: 12.2 sec
150 mph: 17.5 sec
170 mph: 25.6 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.2 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 3.9 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.6 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.9 sec
Top Speed (mfr's claim): 196 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 150 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 297 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 1.04 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 18 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 16/14/21 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs
What's My Car Worth?
Car and Driver values are calculated from the same Black Book® data dealers use to appraise vehicles.
See what you can save on car insurance.
Auto Loans & Financing
Our finance experts answer any questions you may have about financing a vehicle.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below