Famous for its gullwing doors, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL of the 1950s became an instant classic, and today perfect examples cost serious collectors over $1 million. Nearly 70 years later, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL remains one of the world’s most prestigious and desirable luxury convertibles.
365bet足球网站Few cars have stood for wealth and sophistication for so long. Now in its sixth generation, the Mercedes SL is as much a global symbol of success as it ever was. And its performance has never been more impressive. With as much as 449 horsepower, it’s incredibly quick and fun to drive, but this two-seater is also refined, understated, and comfortable enough to be enjoyed every day. It competes with the BMW 8-Series convertible and the new Lexus LC convertible, which will reach dealers this summer.
Built in Germany, the 2020 Mercedes SL is a convertible with a power-retractable hardtop. Mercedes went to this roof design over 20 years ago because it offers coupe-like weather protection and security when the top is up, as well as a quieter interior. Push a button and the roof folds away into the trunk in seconds. There is a drawback, however: When the top is down, it takes up over half of the SL’s 13.5 cubic feet of trunk space, leaving just enough for a couple of overnight bags or a light grocery run. To avoid this problem, its main competitors have traditional folding soft tops. Every SL is also a two-seater, while its top rivals offer small back seats.
Two versions of the SL are available: the SL 450 and the SL 550, like our test car. High-performance AMG versions of the SL are no longer available. Pricing starts at $91,995, including a $995 destination fee. The more powerful SL 550 has a base price of $115,695. With options, our test vehicle cost $123,345.
With its twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6, which makes 362 hp, Mercedes says the SL 450 accelerates to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. That’s a serious thrill ride. Most buyers will find it to be more than quick enough.
365bet足球网站For those who want more, however, the 2020 Mercedes SL 550 is ready to dish it out. It features a sophisticated all-aluminum double overhead cam twin-turbocharged V8 under its long aluminum hood. A masterpiece of power and refinement, the large 4.7-liter engine makes 449 hp and delivers 516 lb-ft of torque at just 1,800 rpm. That’s a ton. Worried about turbo lag? Don’t be. There isn’t any. The SL550’s acceleration is not only intoxicating, it’s addictive. Mercedes say it hits 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. Both models also use a smooth and responsive nine-speed automatic transmission, which can be manually controlled with paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Both models are also rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is not available.
Around town, the Mercedes SL 550 is part luxury car, part cruising vessel, and part sports car365bet足球网站. Drive it with a relaxed gait and it’s luxurious, refined, and sophisticated. Its interior is quiet and its ride is so comfortable it’s a pleasure to drive, either every day or across the state.
But there’s another side to the SL: one that likes to party. Not only is it neck-snapping quick, but it also handles well and is fun to drive on a twisty country two-lane. It isn’t exactly a light, tossable sports car — after all, it weighs over 4,000 lbs — but its overall performance will get your adrenaline flowing. The Mercedes Dynamic Select system allows you to choose among four modes, including Sport and Sport+, to tune the SL’s dynamics for the driving environment as well as your mood. They can quicken its throttle response, firm up its suspension, retune its stability control, and increase the V8’s exhaust sound. Still, we spent most of our time driving the Benz in Comfort mode, which is a wonderful balance of refinement and response.
Despite its awesome horsepower, the 2020 Mercedes SL is surprisingly fuel-efficient. The EPA rates the SL 450 at 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, while the SL550 is rated 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. That’s not bad considering their power and performance. We averaged 23.5 mpg during a week of lead-footed mixed driving around Los Angeles, which included a 300-mile road trip. When in the city, we did utilize the engine’s start/stop technology, which shuts off the engine at idle to save fuel. It’s smooth enough not to be a bother.
Buyers looking for more efficiency in this class should check out the BMW 8-Series convertible. It not only gets better mileage than the Benz, but both the 840i and M850i offer all-wheel drive, which is unique in this class.
365bet足球网站Considering its six-figure price, it’s no surprise that the SL 550’s list of standard features goes on and on. Highlights include power seats with heat, ventilation, and massage; a power wind blocker; parking sensors; a Harman Kardon sound system; Apple Carplay and Android Auto; navigation; LED headlamps and taillights; and the Mercedes Pre-Safe system, which prepares the car to better protect its occupants in split seconds before a collision. Pop-up roll bars are also standard and deploy when needed in the blink of any eye.
Unfortunately, Mercedes does make you pay up for its full suite of safety systems. Our test car was equipped with the $2,250 Driver Assistance Package, which adds Pre-Safe Plus with rear-end collision protection, adaptive cruise control with speed-limit recognition, a lane-departure warning with active steering assistance, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring with a cross-traffic alert. That’s quite a lot for the money, but should this package really an extra-cost option on such an expensive car?
You sit low in the 2020 Mercedes SL, and look out over simple analog instruments and its extremely long hood. The seats are firm but comfortable, and they remain so after three hours behind the wheel. Its shifter is a stubby little thing crafted from aluminum and covered in leather. You push a button to put it in Park, which is odd. At first glance, its wide center console seems to take up valuable people space, but there’s a surprising amount of room to stretch out.
365bet足球网站Build quality is extremely high, and everything is assembled precisely with impressive materials. But Mercedes hasn’t redesigned the SL’s interior for a number of years and its age is showing. Its infotainment screen is tiny by modern standards, especially for this class, and the entire cabin just feels a bit dated. That said, its ergonomics are spot on. All the controls are easy to find and understand. We were also impressed by the calm of its interior with the top down. With the wind blocker in place, there isn’t any buffeting. Even at over 100 mph, holding a conversation is possible without shouting.
Our favorite feature is the SL’s Airscarf ventilated headrests. Drop the top on a cool night, and Airscarf blows warm air on the nape of your neck and shoulders through vents in its seats, just below the headrests. Turn it on, along with the Mercedes’ heated seats, which have three settings, and you could drive this Benz through a frigid winter day at 100 mph with its top down and never get so much as a chill. Another clever feature is a button on the console that allows you to raise and lower all four of the SL’s windows at the same time. Pretty cool.
Despite the SL’s two-seat interior, storage isn’t an issue. There’s a large console bin, well-sized door pockets, a sizable shelf behind the seats, and two cavernous covered bins. All the bins are even felt-lined, along with its glovebox. The 2020 Mercedes SL also has three sizable cupholders: two ahead of its shifter and one in the rear of its center console.
Mercedes updated the look of the SL in 2017, giving its familiar lines a mild refresh. Its sixth generation was introduced in 2012, and the majority of the roadster’s exterior design, including its retractable roof, has been around since 2001. It may be a little gray around the temples, but it’s aging well. It remains attractive from every angle, and it still looks expensive and premium, but fresh or cutting-edge or even modern it is not.
That understated nature of the SL is appreciated by many of its buyers. It doesn’t draw attention like other cars that cost this much. It doesn’t shout for attention. People don’t stop and stare when one drives by. They don’t ask you about it at gas stations. Teenagers don’t take pictures of it with their phones. It’s unmistakably special, there’s no missing it in traffic against the backdrop of humdrum sedans365bet足球网站 and boxy SUVs, but it flies under the radar.
If you’re looking for a premium convertible, we highly recommend the 2020 Mercedes-Benz SL. It offers a unique and compelling mix of power, performance, comfort, and style, just as the model has since the mid-1950s. It’s a timeless combination many have tried to replicate but haven’t managed to duplicate.
365bet足球网站We also recommend buyers take advantage of Mercedes’ European Delivery Program. It allows you to enjoy your new SL in the Old Country before it’s shipped to the United States. Remember, there are still no speed limits on some portions of Germany’s Autobahn and the Benz has a top speed of 155 mph. You can put the top down and spend a week racing the clouds. Sounds like the trip of a lifetime.