The 2019 Mercedes-Benz SL is something of an icon when it comes to driving with dignity. It remarkably blends technology with some of the most elegant luxuries in the segment. True, it's starting to show it's age, but it's going gracefully. This is likely the last year before Mercedes overhauls the SL into something refined, but it's still one of the best right now.
Though it seems to be another conventional car at first glance, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz SL has some of the most impressive features inside. The roof is one example of neat technology as it minimizes wind noise as long as the power-folding door is closed. You can also access an overhead glass panel that can be dimmed electronically if you want a happy medium between top-up and top-down driving. There are optional bolster seats, but they're gimmicky at best. The Airscarf system is nice, on the other hand, as it pushes warm hair below the headrests.
Buyers get great latitude in their engine choices, and the sophisticated suspension delivers surprising grace over rough roads. You can have plenty of fun behind the wheel, even if the weight on paper says otherwise.
Even though it can get hustling, the SL is not precisely a sporty vehicle. It is capable and comfortable, but it's not a sports leader.
What's New for 2019?
Mercedes-Benz released the sixth generation of SL six years ago, and it remains unchanged this year. In fact, there are fewer choices to go around because you can't get the AMG SL 65 trim anymore.
A two-seat convertible, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz SL has a great balance between prestige, price, and power.
Buyers of this segment want speed, and that's what they'll find in the SL 550. It's much less expensive than the AMG trim, and it comes with smoother ride quality. It is worth getting the Driver Assistance package, though, for the extra safety features.
There are three trims for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz SL.
The base SL comes with a 3.0L turbo V6 engine capable of generating 362 horses and 369 pound-feet to the rear wheels via nine-speed auto. The SL 550 gets a 4.7L turbo V8 engine good for 449 horses and 516 pound-feet. Finally, the AMG SL 63 has a 5.5L turbo V8 engine good for 577 horses and 664 pound-feet coupled with a dual-clutch seven-speed.
The base trim sits on 19-inch wheels, sports both LED headlights and running lights, makes use of a power windblocker, automatically wipes away rain, and has a panoramic sunroof. Also, you get keyless ignition and entry, forward collision warning and mitigation, and parking sensors in the front and rear.
In the cabin, you'll have access to two-zone automatic climate control, a navigation system, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and heated seats with power adjustment options. Also, you get the COMAND infotainment system, which uses Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to integrate smartphones, and a premium Harman Kardon sound system with HS and satellite radio.
Going up to the SL 550 gets you larger AMG-branded wheels, the Airscarf neck heater mentioned above, an automated parking system, and a power trunk lid with the option for hands-free activation.
Finally, the uppermost trim is the AMG SL 63, which focuses more on performance and improved stability. Here, you get the Active Body Control system, upgraded brakes, high-performance suspension settings, a limited-slip differential, and a host of other exclusive AMG-themed flourishes. One favorite, in particular, is the International Watch Co. dashtop analog clock.
As with other Mercedes-Benz lines, most of the standard features that come on the upper trims are available as select options for the lower trims. Across the board, each SL is eligible for a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as trim upgrades and improved leather upholstery. AMG models, in particular, have access to carbon-fiber exterior accents and carbon-ceramic brakes.
The handling on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz SL is somewhat synthetic, but it can take care of itself. Hitting the bumps on the corner turns doesn't cause too much upset. It's part sports car and part luxury cruiser, depending on what you want. Expect good manners all around in the form of powerful brakes, secure grip, and high power.
That power is all thanks to the V8 underneath the hood. It gets you moving to 60 miles per hour in just 4.2 seconds. Proper amounts of thrust exist at all rpm levels.
The carbon-ceramic brakes can handle plenty of heat and deliver terrific power. When it's cold outside, it can be difficult to modulate the brakes in a parking lot. It takes 108 feet to stop from 60 miles per hour using the firm pedal, and there's hardly any nosedive.
There's good steering that develops buildup as you speed up, and it's a linear resistance. It doesn't really draw any attention to itself, which can be seen as both a good and a bad thing.
With the help of the Active Body Control system, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz SL has good composure even on winding roads. The tires have good grip, and the car works well at higher speeds despite its large mass.
Every time you press the gas pedal, the SL responds with grace. The upshifts are smooth, but the downshifts are a somewhat different story. Likewise, it would be nice if the manual mode responded better.
SL 450: 20 city / 28 hwy
SL 550: 17 city / 25 hwy
AMG SL 63: 15 city / 23 hwy
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Total Dealer Cost - Rebate and Incentive + Taxes / Licensing Fees = True Dealer Cost. (You can get rebates and incentives here.)
Note: All Mercedes-Benz SL-Class MSRP, invoice and dealer cost dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.
A note about rebates: Most rebates are subtracted from the "on the road" figure. In most cases, you can have the rebate if you are arranging your own financing or you are paying cash. If you decide to use the manufacturer’s low interest financing, you do not usually get the rebate. Ask your dealer for details.