2017 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL has a comfortable and luxe interior, a supple ride, and powerful engine performance. However, it ranks near the back of the luxury sports car segment because of its high ownership costs.

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable ride
  • Roomy seating space
  • Powerful V6, V8, and V12 engines
  • Steep ownership costs

New for 2017

  • Redesigned exterior
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available
  • New nine-speed automatic transmission
  • SL450 model (previously the SL400) received more horsepower




Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 8.9
Interior: 8.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 3.2
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview

Is the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL a Good Used Car?

The 2017 Mercedes SL convertible isn’t a top pick if you’re shopping for a used luxury sports car. The SL’s ownership costs are among the highest in the segment, as are its steep asking prices on the used car market. The SL also isn’t as fun to drive as some of its sporty class rivals, like the Porsche 911, Jaguar F-Type, and Chevrolet Corvette. On the other hand, it’s more expensive than comfort-oriented alternatives, like the smaller Mercedes SLC. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re likely to be happier with other options in this class.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 30 Mercedes SL reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL?

You can expect to pay between $65,000 and $157,000 for a used 2017 SL. These figures are based on listings for the 2017 Mercedes SL on our site. The average price is $92,200. Prices will vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL Cost to Own?

The SL’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be $48,600 – or around $9,700 per year. That’s much higher than average for the luxury sports car class.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New SL?

The 2018 Mercedes SL starts at $88,200, but the price can exceed $222,000 in the top trim levels. You can save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used 2017 SL, especially if you want a base model with few options. You won’t miss out on any features by sticking with a used model, either, as there were no major changes for the 2018 model year.

Read about the new Mercedes-Benz SL »

For a less expensive new convertible in the Mercedes-Benz family, consider the 2018 Mercedes SLC, which starts at just $48,400. The smaller SLC mirrors the SL’s handsome interior, long list of safety features, and popular in-car tech (like Apple CarPlay). Both also provide a smooth ride and have power-folding hardtops, which offer a bit more security than fabric soft tops. The SLC gets higher fuel economy, and it’s typically much cheaper to buy and maintain.

Other options in this class include the sportier 2018 Porsche Boxster and Jaguar F-Type convertibles, which start at $59,000 and $63,850, respectively. Neither are as comfortable on rough pavement, but both will give you sports car thrills for significantly less money.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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Which Model Year of the Mercedes-Benz SL Is Best?

The sixth-generation Mercedes SL debuted for the 2013 model year and remains on sale. There have been few updates to the SL over this generation, but the most substantial changes arrived in 2017. They include a redesigned exterior, a new nine-speed automatic transmission, a boost of 20 horsepower for the SL450 model (previously known as the SL400), and the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can save money by shopping for 2013 to 2016 models. They have comparable performance to the newer models, but you’ll have to do without the updates.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 SL »

How Reliable Is the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL?

The 2017 SL has a predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power, which is good for the automotive industry.

Read more about SL reliability »

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL Recalls

As of this writing, there is one recall for the 2017 Mercedes SL. Certain models have incorrect control unit software, which could affect air bag deployment in a crash. If applicable, make sure this recall has been addressed before you buy a used SL.

See more information on Mercedes-Benz SL safety recalls »

Which Used Mercedes-Benz SL Model Is Right for Me?

The 2017 Mercedes SL roadster is available in four trims: SL450, SL550, AMG SL63, and AMG SL65. The base model SL450 comes standard with a 362-horsepower engine, a 7-inch infotainment screen, a navigation system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, USB ports, satellite radio, a CD player, forward collision warning, adaptive headlights, a drowsiness monitor, leather upholstery, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, remote keyless entry, an adaptive suspension, a power-retractable hardtop, rain-sensing wipers, and 19-inch alloy wheels.

The SL550 adds a 449-horsepower engine, a rearview camera, parallel park assist, ventilated seats with massage functions, a neck-level heating vent (Airscarf), proximity keyless entry, and an electronic trunk closer. Many of these features are add-ons in the SL450.

The AMG SL63 trim adds a 577-horsepower engine and Mercedes’ Active Body Control system (a higher-tech adaptive suspension). Lastly, the AMG SL65 adds a 621-horsepower engine, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, a Bang and Olufsen stereo, and soft-close doors. As before, these features were optional in the lower trim levels when the vehicle debuted.

See 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL trims and specs »

What Does Mercedes-Benz's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Mercedes-Benz offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Mercedes-Benz certified pre-owned vehicles come with the balance of the original four-year/50,000-mile new-car warranty, plus an additional one-year/unlimited-mileage warranty. This warranty can be renewed for a fee. If the new-car warranty has expired, you’ll receive the one-year warranty with unlimited mileage. Every Mercedes-Benz CPO vehicle must pass a 165-point inspection.

If you’re unsatisfied with your CPO vehicle, Mercedes’ Exchange Privilege program allows you to exchange it for another CPO vehicle of equal or lesser value within seven days or 500 miles. Additional benefits like towing and 24-hour roadside assistance may be available, so read the Mercedes-Benz warranty page carefully.

Among luxury car manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz’s CPO program is about average. It’s better than BMW’s but not as robust as Jaguar’s or Lexus’, according to our analysis.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the SL?

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has published crash test results for the 2017 SL convertible.

However, the SL does offer many advanced safety features. Each SL comes standard with forward collision warning with brake assist, adaptive pivoting headlights, and a driver drowsiness monitor. Available features include a rearview camera, parking sensors and hands-free parallel park assist, adaptive cruise control with steering assist, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL or 2017 BMW 6 Series?

The 2017 BMW 6 Series has a similar appeal to the SL. These German cruisers put an emphasis on ride comfort, quality cabin materials, and muscular engine performance. Both also offer a wide variety of active safety features, as well as user-friendly tech like Apple CarPlay. There are a few differences, though. The SL is a two-seat hardtop convertible, while the 6 Series is offered as a four-seat soft-top convertible. Ultimately, it’s the four-seat BMW that makes more sense for families – and financially. The 6 Series has lower projected ownership costs over time, and used models are typically less expensive to buy.

Which Is Better: 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL or 2017 Porsche 911?

The 2017 Porsche 911 is a different flavor than the calm and collected SL. It’s far more fun to drive on twisting back roads, thanks to its sharp handling and potent six-cylinder engines. It’s available in a wider variety of configurations, including all-wheel-drive models, manual transmission models, and two types of convertibles – those with a folding soft top and those with a retractable “targa” hardtop. It also has four seats, but the back seats are admittedly quite small. The trunk is tight as well. At the end of the day, the 911 is the superior sports car. Just note that, like the SL, used 911s can be pricey to buy and maintain.

Compare the SL, 6 Series, and 911 »

2017 SL Performance

How Does the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL Drive?

The 2017 SL roadster has four twin-turbocharged engines to choose from. These include a V6 with 362 horsepower (SL450), a V8 with 449 horsepower (SL550), a V8 with 577 horsepower (AMG SL63), and a V12 with 621 horsepower (AMG SL65). A nine-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard; a seven-speed automatic is available.

A V6 engine may not sound as exotic as a V8 or V12, but it’s plenty powerful and more than capable of surging the SL up to speed with confidence. The dash from zero to 60 mph takes just under 5 seconds, and the nine-speed transmission does a fine job of up- and downshifting when needed. In day-to-day driving, the SL550’s V8 doesn’t seem that much quicker than the SL450’s V6. The top-level AMG models surely blast the SL up to speed with breakneck pace, but you do pay for that performance at the gas pump.

The Mercedes SL feels stable and well-balanced around corners, but it’s more of a grand tourer – a high-speed highway cruiser – than a sports car. The SL packs an adaptive suspension that can quickly adjust its shock absorbers, allowing the car to ride smoothly over rough roads. The available Active Body Control system softens the ride even further. It’s classified as a fully active suspension, and it uses sensors to track the car’s motions and actively counteract bumps and dips.

Does the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL Get Good Gas Mileage?

The SL450 returns 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which is about average for the luxury sports car segment. The SL550 and SL63 models get 17/25 mpg and 16/25 mpg, respectively. The SL65 manages a poor 13 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.

Read more about SL performance »

2017 SL Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 SL Seat?

The Mercedes-Benz SL has two seats. Despite its sleek roadster styling, even tall passengers can fit comfortably. The seats are cozy and well-bolstered, and they provide great support for longer road trips. Leather upholstery and heated seats are standard; ventilated and massaging seats are available. The SL’s power-retractable hardtop can raise or lower in about 20 seconds, and it operates at driving speeds below 25 mph. All in all, the SL’s cabin is a nice place to be, and it’s trimmed in high-quality materials. It just doesn’t feel as modern as some of its convertible siblings, like the 2017 Mercedes S-Class cabriolet. It’s pretty, just not jaw-dropping.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL?

The Mercedes SL doesn’t have full LATCH equipment for attaching child car seats, so it’s not a great option if you regularly plan to transport a young child. A forward- or rear-facing child seat may still be used, but you should refer to the owner’s manual for installation instructions (they can vary depending on the child’s weight).

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL Features

The 2017 SL comes packed with high-tech features. Standard features include a 7-inch display screen, a navigation system, Bluetooth, USB ports, satellite radio, and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which integrate your phone’s apps and functions with the car’s infotainment system. There’s a simple array of buttons and knobs on the dashboard that manage the SL’s audio and climate controls. Mercedes’ COMAND infotainment system does takes some time to get acquainted with, though. The on-screen menus are controlled using a rotary knob on the center console. Overall, it’s not the most user-friendly system out there.

See 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL specs »

Read more about SL interior »

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL Dimensions

Mercedes-Benz SL Cargo Space

The Mercedes SL has 13.5 cubic feet of trunk space with its convertible top upright. That’s just enough room for a golf bag or two smaller carry-on bags. However, this space shrinks to just 8.5 cubic feet when the convertible top is stowed.

2017 SL Length and Weight

The Mercedes SL is 15.2 feet long. It has a curb weight of between 3,826 and 4,211 pounds, depending on the trim level.

Where Was the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL Built?

The 2017 Mercedes SL was built in Germany.

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