When your history goes back before the 1900s to the creation of the automobile, you can rest assured that you’re a car brand that knows a thing or two about performance. Anybody can make a sports car, but Mercedes-Benz is unrivaled at blending that performance with a luxurious driving experience.. Each Mercedes-Benz sports car offers options that allow you to choose whether you want more performance or more luxury. Whichever option you choose, there will be plenty of both to go around. Let’s take a look at the best Mercedes-Benz sports cars offered today.
Though not a true sports car, the SL-Class epitomizes Mercedes-Benz’s entire line, blending a powerful, driver-focused sports car with with executive-car luxury amenities. The SL-Class ranks No. 6 out of 14 in our list of Luxury Sports Cars. It earns that rating thanks to tremendous handling and segment-leading passenger room (for a two-seater). The SL has a series of potent engines, from a twin-turbocharged V6 up to a twin-turbo V12 in the ridiculously fast AMG SL65. A seven-speed automatic transmission keeps the shifts smooth in all of the engine variants. Overall, the SL is less sporty (outside of the AMG trims) and is more of a traditional touring car than an out-and-out sports car. The ride is smooth and the Active Body Control does a good job at diminishing body roll.
Unlike other roadsters, the interior is constructed with materials of the highest quality, down to the stitching of the plush dashboard. The racing-inspired seats are adjustable in both headroom and legroom, which is rare for a two-seater. The Airscarf heated seats provide comfort for those days where it might be cool, but you still want the top down. The hard-top convertible even has good trunk space, which is also rare for a convertible sports car.
The SLK is a value-priced sports car. With a starting price around $47,000, the SLK is our eighth ranked Luxury Sports Car and tenth ranked Luxury Convertible. For 2016, the SLK receives a more powerful base engine. The SLK300 replaces the underpowered SLK250. The SLK300 has 40 more horsepower than the SLK250. At 241 horsepower, this isn’t a speed demon, but is competitive with others in the segment. For those thrill seekers, there are more potent engines available too, including a 301-horsepower V6 and a 415-horsepower AMG-inspired V8. Amping up the power in the SLK greatly increases the price and can take it north of $70,000. Critics found the SLK’s V6 engine was the best suited and offered quick acceleration and sports-car like performance. For this model year, the manual transmission isn’t available, leaving only a seven-speed automatic transmission which comes with optional paddle shifters. However, critics noted the transmission was slow to respond and frequently affected the SLK’s performance.
Similar to the SL-Class, the SLK focuses on ride comfort and interior quality. Aluminum and wood accents coordinate well with the rest of the high-end interior. Critics rave at the quiet cabin of the SLK with the top up and even with the top down. Thanks to slick aerodynamics, this convertible allows passengers to have conversations and also sit in comfort and luxury.
Even though the E-Class resides atop our Luxury Midsize Cars rankings, we still consider the E-Class a sports car in what it brings to the table. The E-Class offers numerous engine options including a diesel and an AMG-powered V8. There’s even a convertible option which comes with a critically acclaimed bi-turbo V6 engine. The E-Class’s V6 engine is well-powered and puts out 329 horsepower. The V8 version of the E550 coupe and cabriolet makes 402 horsepower. A seven-speed automatic transmission is the only available option, although paddle shifters are an option for those who wish to overtake the sluggish shifting. The V6 E-class has a fuel economy rating of 20/29 mpg city/highway while the diesel version gets 42 mpg on the highway. The lackluster feel of the steering holds this rear-wheel drive back when it comes to comparisons to other true sports cars. For real sports-car performance, opt for the AMG E63 which boasts athletic handling with a high-performance engine and braking package.
Wood and chrome accents highlight a luxurious interior. The E-Class leads the way with interior comfort and high-quality materials. Similar to the SL-Class, the E-Class focuses on overall comfort than other true-sports cars. For this reason, the E-Class is hard to compare against other similar sports cars like the Cadillac CTS and Audi A6. The E-Class can seat up to five passengers, but in Coupe and Cabriolet, the E-Class seats four passengers. All passengers will enjoy a big cabin that is focused on legroom and headroom. Trunk space is average to below average for the segment.
Without a doubt, the AMG GT-S is the sportiest, most aggressive vehicle offered by Mercedes-Benz. Every detail of the sculpted AMG GT-S indicate it’s built for performance, including staggered tire sizes in the front versus the back. This sports coupe has 19-inch high-performance tires in the front and 20-inch tires in the back. The rear-wheel drive GT-S has a 503-horsepower 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine. The growling exhaust shows the GT-S’s aggressive nature as does the 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds. A carbon-fiber driveshaft connects the seven-speed AMG transmission to the powerful engine. Performance-wise the GT-S will be compared to the Audi R8. While the R8 looks more aggressive, the GT-S has a subtly, sporty look.
Chiseled is how some critics refer to the GT-S’s appearance. And inside, the GT-S shows off true-sports car looks with a cockpit-like instrument cluster. A thick steering wheel adds confidence to the driver and the race-inspired AMG seats are deep. The seats are firm yet supportive, with several adjustments and contours available. Nappa leather accents add to the impressive and supple touchpoints found throughout the GT-S. Carbon-fiber accents compliment the sports car’s overall vibe, which blends performance with luxury.