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2011 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

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2011 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review

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The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has always offered buyers impressive levels of performance, luxury and comfort, and that won't change for 2011. With its excellent retractable hard top, the vehicle continues to effectively blend coupe-like driving with the roof in place and open-air motoring with the panels politely stowed beneath the rear trunk deck. Those craving a little more exclusivity can look forward to sampling the new SL550 Night Edition. With the automaker planning to produce just 100 examples of the special edition, it's the ultimate version of the SL550.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is still an attention-grabber. If you like catching more than a few admiring glances while you drive through town, this is the car to have, top up or down. With solid performance to match and world-class driving dynamics, this is the luxury roadster defined.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Mercedes-Benz isn't giving these cars away. Even base models command an MSRP of thousands of dollars more than their closest competitors. Unless you live in a price-is-no-object world, this may not be the car for you.

What's New for 2011

The SL550 Night Edition wears matte-black paint, darker headlights and tail lamps, special 19-inch AMG wheels and painted brake calipers. Inside, chrome accents, premium black leather and unique "arrow" stitching differentiate the model from the more mundane SL-Class offerings. All versions also have an advanced tire-pressure-monitoring system, HD Radio and Sirius Traffic.

Driving the SL-Class
Driving Impressions

The SL-Class provides an amazingly sharp driving experience. Steering, braking and handling are all beautifully exact and up to the task of handling both aggressive driving and emergency maneuvers. That's...

... thanks to plenty of engineering and an unseen arsenal of computer driving aids, capable of altering nearly every vehicle parameter in real time. Active Body Control actually works to level the vehicle in sharp turns and can deploy an integrated rollover protection system in the event of an imminent rollover. With 382 horsepower in base trim, the SL-Class is both powerful and refined.

Retractable Hardtop
The retractable hardtop works flawlessly and, when in place, offers a cabin that is as handsomely appointed inside as any Mercedes coupe.

Panorama Glass Panel Top
The available panorama glass panel top puts a unique twist on the retractable hardtop design.

2011 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Details
Interior

The cabin offers all of the high-quality materials and technological wizardry you would expect from a vehicle of this caliber. Nearly everything inside is automated in one form or another and can be custom tailored to fit your every preference. Be warned that systems like the Comand interface are more than a little complicated and may take some time to master, though. Despite the fact that the folding hard top stows behind the seats, there's still plenty of room in the trunk for cargo. Even with the top folded, there's seven cubic feet of space on hand.

Exterior

The 2011 SL-Class has a classic aesthetic, thanks to proportions borrowed from the hallowed halls of historical automotive design. With its long nose, short trunk deck and rearward-mounted passenger cabin, the vehicle pays homage to some of the most beautiful sports coupes and convertibles ever created. Unlike many retractable hard-top vehicles, the 2011 SL-Class looks as beautiful with its top in place as it does with it stowed. Even with additions like the SLS AMG, the SL-Class remains one of the most attractive vehicles in the Silver Arrow family.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even in base trim, the SL-Class comes loaded with plenty of standard gear. Buyers will find dual-zone climate control, an illuminated keyless entry fob, hard-drive-based navigation, Bluetooth hands-free phone and an excellent harman/kardon 510-watt sound system. In addition, every SL-Class comes with a number of standard safety features, including an automatic rollover protection system and frontal and side-impact air bags.

Optional Equipment

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz SL550 is available with an optional Trim Package that includes Nappa leather and wood accents throughout the cabin. A Premium Package includes keyless start, excellent ventilated seats and an electronic trunk closer. Other options include a Wheel Package, automatic cruise control and Parktronic park assist.

Under the Hood

The SL550's 5.5-liter V8 is the best choice for mere mortals, offering more than acceptable power at a (relatively) good price. Speed freaks, thrill seekers and millionaires will no doubt opt for the supercharged SL63 AMG or the twin-turbo SL65 AMG, both of which offer big horsepower figures but with a significant difference in low-end torque.

5.5-liter V8
382 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
391 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800-4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/22

6.3-liter V8 Supercharged
518 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
465 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19

6.0-liter V12 Twin-Turbo
604 horsepower @ 4800 rpm
738 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2000-4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/18

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2011 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 147 Ratings for the 2003 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Acquired this 2004 SL55 used with 35k. Now at 62k

By on Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Hand built SL55 is relieble as Lindberg's Spirt"

Cons: "When it's time to sell - you can't"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

Beauty and Beast

"I am in agony! It's time to sell my SL55 and I CAN"T DO IT!!! After 28,000 miles of pure joy, love, pampering and 150 MPH ecstasy, (with minimal outpouring of cash) - it's like living with a Las Vegas show girl for the price of a box of candy bars. SURE - YOU GOTTA TIP!!! But GUYS, you own a car you don't want to get out of - not even to go in the house to sleep. Single? Then, take the ladies for a drive - BINGO!!!! You don't even have to ..... and they're calling YOU! T_H_E_Y_____L_O_V_E_____T_H_I_S_____C_A_R!!!!! It's like the closest they'll ever get to a pumpkin carriage - and midnight never comes!!! Repairs? Well I've "gone naked" for 2 years now - NO WARRANTY! So far - expenses normally covered by warranty total $180! That's it $180 - for 2 YEARS!! For a crankshaft sensor that I picked up on line for $50. Worked perfect! Put it in myself - no biggie - the video "how to" was on the internet. Like changing a spark plug - it was so easy. Oh yeah - one other thing - the rear motor mount started to sag creating a slight vibration at 1800 RPM during acceleration until it warmed up. The car had to go on the rack to replace it - $130 - all in. THAT'S IT - 2 years and she still drives like a NEW car. BUT I MAINTAIN HER BY THE BOOK and always at the dealership. IT MATTERS MORE THAN YOU KNOW! I buy my tires at Costco because they have a transferable mileage warranty and I go thru a set every 12k - they warranty for 20k. The other great news - this car was so successful for MB there is now a very competitive after market for consumables and short life parts - means you can maintain your $150,000 vehicle for the same bucks as a guy with a $50,000 Whatever. THAT'S IT - FORGET ABOUT IT. I'M NOT SELLING. Sorry."

10 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Beauty and Beast

Just overall awsome

By on Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "There is no equal for performance and quality"

Cons: "Probably too fast for me"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Out of the SL line up this is the performer. With AMG designed 6.2 Liter engine and 7300 red line there is no turbo lag. The ABC keeps it cornering flat and stable. The electronic controls are seamless so using them to alter the driving experience from comfort to track is amazing. Then there is the sound of that V8 which is without any vibration throughout the whole rev range. The reliability has been excellent, more so considering the level of performance."

26 people out of 36 found this review helpful

Very difficult to imagine ever giving it up.

By on Friday, June 5, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "The amazing roof. Perfect coupe, perfect roadster."

Cons: "Have to leave it at home when I need four seats."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car leaves nothing to be desired in comfort, driving fun or convenience. It checks every box, well -- with the sole exception of seating beyond two. But who wants to drive a car with more than two perfect seats on those trips when one can avoid it. With the Pano roof, it is light and bright inside even when the roof is up. Isolation and rigidity are as good as with a fixed roof Mercedes sedan. You can take it through a car wash. But when the roof comes down, everything about the car can be more fully appreciated, augmented by beautiful music of the 32 valve tamed beast of an engine. I love everything about my SL550. I am spoiled for other cars, for life."

23 people out of 30 found this review helpful

SL500 Review

By on Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
Not Rated

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"SL500 performance and ride are second to none. Highway cruising is relaxing and acceleration is beautiful in passing lane. In town the car does not disappoint you in stop and start environment, easily one of the best performing autos available."

15 people out of 24 found this review helpful

I am old, but I am FAST!

By on Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive and handles great."

Cons: "To powerful for strong take offs."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

My 2005 SL65 AMG & 600 Coup

"I have owned a lot of exotics. This is the only one that is everyday driving friendly. Actually I have to laugh as it only has 11,600 miles on it. I have several cars and drive a BMW 750LI most of the time. I plan to drive it a lot more this year. Mine has built in radar detector which I just love. It is sporty, fast, and fun to drive in any conditions. Not driving it is a sin as the turbo needs action. I kept it at my Lake Home for a couple of years and due to not driving had a $6K turbo repair. I now keep it here and drive it 20 to 30 miles a week. New ones are around $220K. If you can get a low mileage older one...Grab it, enjoy it, and never look back."

11 people out of 25 found this review helpful

My 2005 SL65 AMG & 600 Coup

Fun car but hugely expensive to maintain

By on Monday, April 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Good looking car and fun to drive"

Cons: "Extremely expensive to maintain. Many problems."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Great looking car and fun to drive, particularly in the summer with the roof down. However, in four years of ownership (from 30k miles to 75k miles) I've had around $15k in repairs. A set of shock absorbers will set you back $7.5k - although fortunately I only had to get the rear ones done for a mere $4k. Various problems with the ABC system have cost me around $6k. Three problems with the electical/computer system another $3k. Various other issues bring the total up to $15k. I will not be buying another Mercedes and do not recommend this car unless you have money to throw away."

52 people out of 60 found this review helpful

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