2017 Mercedes-Benz SL: Roadster reimagined

By Matt DeLorenzo on November 18, 2015 9:24 AM

A striking new face and upgraded drivetrains highlight the remake of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL, which made its world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The reimagined roadster features a much more aggressive front end thanks to a new grille that sports diamond shaped elements, LED lighting and more prominent power domes on the hood.

In addition to the new look, the SL lineup has upgraded drivetrains to include more power and a new 9-speed automatic transmission on the SL450 and SL550 versions. Replacing the SL400 in the lineup, the new SL450 badge reflects a 33 horsepower bump in output. Equipped with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 mated to a 9-speed transmission, this newest edition to lineup makes 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, enabling 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.9 seconds. The SL550's 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 is carried over with 449 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, but thanks to the new 9-speed, knocks 0.2 off its 0-60 time, clocking in at 4.3 seconds.

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AMG Muscle

The top of the SL pecking order is shared by a pair of AMG-tuned models, the AMG SL63, with a 577 horsepower 5.5-liter twin turbo V12 producing 664 lb-ft of torque and the AMG SL65 with a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 making 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. Both are backed by AMG's Speedshift MCT 7-speed gearboxes and accelerate to 60 mph in 4.1 and 4.0 seconds, respectively. 

In addition to the styling enhancements and powertrain tweaks, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL retains its retractable hardtop, which is capable of being raised or lowered at speeds up to 25 mph. A new feature is the trunk separator, which automatically deploys when the top is raised or lowered. Also, the folded roof can be tipped up 25 degrees in the trunk to facilitate loading and unloading cargo beneath the stowed top.

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Choice of suspensions and drive modes

Buyers of the SL450 and SL550 can opt for the standard steel spring suspension with variable rate dampers or the ABC (Active Body Control) active suspension. The former is equipped with five drive modes, ECO, which includes a low drag sailing function while coasting, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and an individual setting that allows the driver to customize suspension, steering and throttle inputs. The optional ABC setup includes a new curve function that allows the body to lean up to 2.65 degrees into corners, reducing the effects of lateral g-forces and improving ride comfort. Those models also have five drive modes, Curve, which activates the leaning function, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual.

Both AMG models come with ABC standard along with a new standard rear differential lock. In addition to providing comfort, sport, race and individual modes, the suspension is tuned for tauter and more responsive handling than the standard SL models. The electro-mechanical steering system is specifically tuned to match the sports suspension.

There is a bespoke, handcrafted quality to the interior of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL thanks to extensive use of high quality Nappa leather on the seats, doors panels and dash. A new saddle brown color has been added to the choices and in keeping with the sporty nature of the SL, the three-spoke steering wheel has a race car inspired flat bottom.

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL is expected next spring, with pricing announced closer to the on-sale date.

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