2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

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2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review


KBB Expert Rating: 7.1

Driving a Mercedes-Benz SL-Class doesn't just mean you've made it. It means you want the world to know you've made it. As classic a status symbol as a Rolex watch or Fendi bag, Mercedes-Benz nonetheless lowers the bar for this kind of symbolism with the introduction of the SL400 for the 2015 model year. With a twin-turbo V6 engine, it gives up very little in performance compared to its V8 siblings, but costs more than $20,000 less. However, when even the "cheap" one is still nearly $85,000 to start, you're in rarefied air. Other cars like the Jaguar XK, Porsche 911 and BMW 6 Series all offer performance, panache and luxury for similar prices, yet none can match the prestige of this classic Mercedes-Benz.

You'll Like This Car If...

If the $85,000 base price of a 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL400 doesn't scare you off, you'll love the power, cutting- edge technology, impeccable craftsmanship and prestige of owning one of the most iconic Mercedes-Benz 2-seaters ever built. What else do you need?

You May Not Like This Car If...

As beautiful and prestigious as the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is, you'll get more performance out of a Porsche 911 or the new Jaguar F-Type. Neither can match the raw horsepower of the SL65 AMG and its V12 engine, but they're much better driver's cars overall.

What's New for 2015

The new-for-2015 Mercedes-Benz SL400 adds a twin-turbocharged V6 to the SL-Class mix, along with a significantly reduced base price. On the other end of the spectrum, the SL65 AMG gets a new 7-speed automatic transmission to go with its 621-horsepower twin-turbo V12 engine.

Driving the SL-Class
Driving Impressions

Despite offering up to 621 horsepower in the SL65 AMG model, the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is designed more as a grand touring machine than a pure sports car, albeit one that...

... can go extremely fast if need be. Put another way, you won't get the razor-sharp reflexes of a Porsche 911 or Jaguar F-Type. However, a Porsche 911 and Jaguar F-Type don't offer the kind of no-limits luxury that you'll find in an SL-Class roadster. Besides, even with its emphasis on comfort, the SL is still an engaging driving experience when a twisty road calls. The SL's Active Body Control system – available on the SL400 and SL550, standard on AMG models – virtually eliminates body roll, enhancing handling. The brakes are very good as well, and can be upgraded to outstanding with the $13,000 carbon-ceramic setup available on AMG models.

Not that Mercedes-Benz buyers are necessarily bargain shopping, but there's no question that a less expensive Mercedes-Benz SL is a good thing. The 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL400's twin-turbo V6 engine offers plenty of horsepower for nearly 5-second acceleration to 60 mph, at a price that's $20,000 less than the V8 model.

Goofy name aside, the Magic Sky Control is one of the coolest things we've seen. At the touch of a button, the panorama roof panel on the SL's hard convertible top goes from opaque to transparent, giving you all the joys of sunshine on your shoulder, but without messing your hair.

2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Details

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is the rare 2-seat roadster tall adults can enjoy. Even with the hardtop roof in place, 6-footers can enjoy plenty of head- and legroom. The top-notch materials and exacting construction exceed even the high expectations of cars wearing the Mercedes-Benz 3-pointed star. The audio system is, of course, amazing, and on the practical side, there's even plenty of storage space, with 13.5 cubic feet of trunk space with the top up. Turn on the Magic Sky Control, and you can go on a weekend trip and enjoy an open-top experience, without luggage in the foot-well.


The 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL doesn't have a rear seat, meaning it's 10 inches shorter than the 4-passenger BMW 6 Series convertible. Yet despite its modern style, the SL is conscious of its heritage, offering a long roof and short trunk lid that speaks to the power under the hood. The grille, with its centrally mounted star, calls back to the original Gullwing from the 1950s, while the contoured sheet metal, bright bi-xenon headlights with LED accents and fender-filling 18-inch wheels are solidly in the 21st century. With the hardtop convertible, the SL looks elegant with its top up or down.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

You'd expect even the $85,000 base-model Mercedes-Benz SL400 to be generously equipped, and you'd be right. Leather upholstery is standard, as are heated 16-way power seats with memory, and a power wind-blocker to help minimize wind-mussed hair. Also standard is Mercedes-Benz's COMAND system with navigation, Bluetooth and satellite radio running through the harman/kardon audio system. The V8 models offer additional standard equipment, such as Mercedes' Airscarf neck-level heating system, driver-selectable adaptive suspension and a hands-free system to open the trunk. The SL63 and SL65 AMG models feature AMG styling adornments along with their powerful engines and high-performance enhancements.

Optional Equipment

There's the aforementioned Magic Sky Control, for starters. You can also add a premium Bang & Olufsen audio system if the standard one won’t suffice. One very cool feature is the Splitview center screen, which allows the driver to see navigation instructions, and the passenger to watch a movie, all on the same screen at the same time. There are also upgrades to the wood-and-leather interior trim, not to mention a Driver Assist Package that bundles blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and radar-based cruise control. If that's still not enough, there are the Designo-commissioned upgrades.

Under the Hood

Things kick off at "powerful" and go up from there. The 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 in the SL400 puts out 329 horsepower, while the twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8 in the SL550 adds 100 to that. Step up to the SL63 AMG, and you're looking at a 530-horsepower twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 engine, or 557 horsepower if you opt for the Performance Package. Still not enough? Okay, then how does a handcrafted 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 putting out 621 horsepower sound? If that's still not enough, try a nuclear power plant...or a Dodge Challenger Hellcat. All SL-Class models use a 7-speed automatic transmission to route power to the rear wheels, and every SL includes a start/stop function to improve fuel economy. The SL65 still tallies up a gas-guzzler tax, though.

3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6
329 horsepower @ 5,250-6,000 rpm
354 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg

4.7-liter twin-turbocharged V8
429 horsepower @ 5,250 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg

5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8
5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8
530 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
590 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 mpg

5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (with Performance Package)
557 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
664 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250-3,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A

6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12
621 horsepower @ 4,800-5,400 rpm
738 lb-ft of torque @ 2,300-4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/21 mpg

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

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