Mercedes SL review (2002-2011)

The amazing SL coupe-convertible remains a first-rate GT, particularly since the latest round of revisions.

Mercedes-Benz SL
Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

The amazing SL coupe-convertible remains a first-rate GT, particularly since the latest round of revisions. You'll be hard-pushed to spot the redesigned front section and new rear lights, but then Mercedes was wise not to spoil such a well-balanced shape. The big changes happened underneath. Out went old V6 and V8 engines, replaced with much more efficient units; the SL 350's 272bhp V6 is 11 per cent more powerful, while the 388bhp SL 500's V8 is over 25 per cent faster in the 0-62mph dash. Either is available with an enhanced version of the standard seven-speed auto gearbox, called 7G-Trionic Sport, which introduces F1-style paddle shifts and 30 per cent faster gearchanges. And once again heading the range is the awesome SL 600, with a V12 biturbo engine. With 517bhp, it zaps to 60mph in just 4.5 seconds. Astounding.

It's even better to drive, too. 'ABC' active suspension, fitted to SL 500 and SL 600 models, offers body movements that are reduced by 60 per cent during 'spirited' driving. The steering is also more direct and the braking systems of V6 and V8 models have been uprated in consideration of their additional power. In any guise, the SL is something of a revelation to drive, only enhanced by all the mechanical changes. Quick yet effortless, comfortable yet involving. The interior is roomy for two as well and the roof a work of art - particularly if you choose the optional glass setup. It's also practical, feels as if it's hewn from solid and turns heads without ever appearing brash. A supercar in all but name, it's not cheap, but you'll know exactly why it's not when you see one, never mind drive one.

Engines, performance and drive

0

MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

0

Interior, design and technology

0

Practicality, comfort and boot space

0

Reliability and Safety

0

Most Popular

EU demands speed limiters on all new cars from next week: know the rules and how they work
speed limiters
News

EU demands speed limiters on all new cars from next week: know the rules and how they work

Car industry body calls for UK government to adopt the new measures, but we’ll probably get them anyway…
29 Jun 2022
New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range
New MG 4 2023
News

New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range

The all-electric MG 4 hatchback rivals the Volkswagen ID.3 and introduces MG’s new MSP electric platform
28 Jun 2022
New Toyota Corolla prototype review
Toyota Corolla prototype - front
Road tests

New Toyota Corolla prototype review

We try out the updated Toyota Corolla hybrid ahead of its official arrival
30 Jun 2022