2009 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

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2009 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review

Note: This review was created when the 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class was new.

Auto writers agree the Mercedes Benz SL550 and SL600 hard-top roadsters are all-around great cars. Not only are they sexy and luxurious, they perform remarkably well too. However, many also note the SL is not so much a sports car as it is a car with sporty pretensions. Still, many assert that it's worth every bit of its expensive price tag.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful 510-hp V12 engine option
  • Comfortable handling dynamics
  • Automatic convertible hard-top
  • Luxurious interior fit and finish
  • Competitors offer stealthier sports performance
  • Brakes receive mixed reviews
  • COMAND infotainment system complicates controls

Research & Ratings

Currently, the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has a score of 8.7 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 46 pieces of research and data.




Critics' Rating: 9.3
Performance: 8.8
Interior: 8.6
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2009 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview

For 2009, Mercedes-Benz refreshed the SL550 and SL600's exterior design to look more aggressive. Combined with its powerful V8 and V12 engines and luxurious interior accommodations, the '09 SL is a real winner. In fact, New Car Test Drive writes: "The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has matured in every way over its six generations, quicker and faster on the one hand, more beautiful and more luxurious on the other, to the point where it lacks absolutely nothing, from its array of powerful V8 and V12 engines to its powerful stereo to its active suspension system to those all-day bucket seats. It is a marvel of automotive technology, featuring a folding steel convertible top."

And though some test drivers note that it can't match the performance dynamics of sportier competitors like the Porsche 911 Carrera, it does come close. Even so, performance isn't what the SL is all about. Instead, the SL favors comfortable sports cruising and sheer exclusivity over mind-numbing performance.

This review covers the SL550 and SL600. Mercedes-Benz, however, also offers two high-performance trims -- the SL63 AMG and SL65 AMG.

  • "What few faults the SL-Class had in the past seem to have been addressed by Mercedes-Benz for 2009. The result is a more aggressively styled and significantly better driving sports car. And oh -- it still has that nifty retractable hardtop." -- Edmunds
  • "It's hard to call a vehicle priced at or above $100,000 a good value, particularly one that can only accommodate two people. The SL-Class, though, makes as compelling a case as any. These convertibles are fresh looking, solidly built, impeccably finished, and a pleasure to drive." -- Consumer Guide
  • "For those with the money ... this is a superior sports car." -- Boston Globe
  • "In the world of premium and exotic roadsters, only a handful of vehicles offer the exclusivity, performance and overall reliability of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL.  ... Price may be the SL's only Achilles' heel, with the lowest-priced SL starting tens of thousands of dollars higher than a BMW 650i or Jaguar XK." -- Kelley Blue Book

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