2012 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review

By KBB.com Editors

KBB Expert Rating: 7.9

The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has long offered outstanding performance, style, luxury and comfort. Those attributes will only get better for the 2012 SL-Class. With its excellent retractable hard top, which automatically opens or closes in just 16 seconds, the 2012 SL-Class provides both quiet coupe-like driving and open-air motoring. This makes the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL Class is one of the most versatile convertibles on the market.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class still has a knack for turning heads. The 2012 SL-Class remains a classic choice for well-to-do consumers who wish to flaunt their wealth by driving a world-class convertible tourer.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class isn't cheap by any means. Even the base 2012 SL-Class commands a price that's thousands of dollars more than its closest competitors.

What's New for 2012

With Mercedes' flagship SL-Class nearing the end of its current (and famously long) model generation, changes are minimal for 2012. The only change is the discontinuation of V12-powered models.

Driving the SL-Class
Driving Impressions

While it's far from a lightweight sports car, the SL-Class provides an enjoyably sharp driving experience. Steering, braking and handling are all beautifully precise and up to the task of...

... handling both aggressive driving and emergency maneuvers. That's thanks largely to the impressive level of engineering that went into the chassis and suspension, but also due to the unseen arsenal of computer driving aids. Active Body Control 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 standard 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.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Details

The cabin of the 2012 SL-Class offers all of the high-quality materials and technological wizardry we've come to expect from a top-level Mercedes vehicle. Nearly everything inside is automated in one form or another and can often be customized to fit the driver's preference. That said, some of the systems, particularly the COMAND interface, can be counter-intuitive and time-consuming to learn. With the folding hard top open, the trunk offers seven cubic feet of cargo space.


The 2012 SL-Class has a classic sports car aesthetic, thanks to proportions borrowed from the hallowed halls of historical automotive design. The SL pays tribute to many of the most beautiful sports coupes and convertibles ever created, thanks to its long nose and short trunk deck. Unlike many retractable hard-top vehicles, the 2012 SL-Class looks as beautiful with its top in place as it does with it stowed. The 2012 Mercedes-Benz 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 and an excellent 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 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL550 is available with a trim package that includes leather and wood accents throughout the cabin. Another option 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 standard 2012 SL550's 382-horsepower 5.5-liter V8 provides more than enough power and fun for nearly any driver. Speed freaks, thrill seekers and millionaires will no doubt opt for the supercharged SL63 AMG, which offers 518 horsepower thanks to its 6.2 liters of roaring, AMG-tuned V8 power.

5.5-liter V8
382 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
391 lb-ft of torque @ 2,800-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/22

6.2-liter V8 Supercharged
518 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
465 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19

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