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2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL places in the bottom third of our luxury sports car rankings. This roadster boasts a supple ride and an upscale cabin, but many class rivals are more exciting from behind the wheel.

Pros & Cons

  • Premium interior with comfortable seats
  • Generous cargo space
  • Strong engines
  • Cushioned ride
  • Some rivals have more intuitive infotainment systems
  • Less engaging ride than the competition

7.0

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 9.0
Interior: 8.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 2.9
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview

Is the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL a Good Used Car?

Yes, the Mercedes SL is a good used luxury sports car. However, most competitors have lower prices and better performance.

The 2018 SL has some strengths:

  • Some of the most comfortable seats in the class
  • Top-notch interior materials
  • Powerful engine lineup
  • Relaxed ride

It also has a few weaknesses:

  • High list prices
  • Handling less athletic than many classmates'
  • Small infotainment display
Why You Can Trust Us

To give you a complete overview of the 2018 SL – and make your car-shopping experience easier – we analyzed 33 Mercedes-Benz SL reviews alongside performance specs, interior dimensions, and more.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our crew has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we do not accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an external company manages the ads on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL?

Based on listings for the 2018 Mercedes SL on our site, the average list price is $90,700. Prices range from $70,000 to $133,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL Cost to Own?

At the time of writing, there is no official ownership cost information for the 2018 SL.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New SL?

For 2019, Mercedes discontinued the high-performance Mercedes-AMG SL 65 trim. With a starting price of $89,150, the 2019 SL is an otherwise similar vehicle to the 2018. You may want to consider sticking with the 2018 SL to save some money.

Read about the new Mercedes-Benz SL »

The 2018 SL is part of a generation that debuted for the 2013 model year. There were only minor changes between the 2013 to 2015 model years, including the introduction of a new base SL 400 trim for 2015.

The 2017 SL received a redesigned exterior, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, an SL 450 trim to replace the SL 400, and a nine-speed automatic transmission. The 2018 SL gained a standard rearview camera. We recommend the 2017 SL because it has just as many features as the 2018, but likely at a lower price.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 SL »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL?

The 2018 Mercedes SL has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about SL reliability »

2018 Mercedes-Benz SL Recalls

At the time of writing, there are no recalls for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL.

See more information on Mercedes-Benz SL safety recalls »

Which Used Mercedes SL Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL comes in four trims: SL 450, SL 550, AMG SL 63, and AMG SL 65. The base SL 450 should suit most shoppers. It comes with a powerful engine as well as many technology, safety, and comfort features, including navigation and driver drowsiness monitoring.

When the SL was new, it also had many available packages and add-on items, so you may even find a base model with more than the standard features. Some of these additional features include massaging seats, a hands-free power trunk lid, and Mercedes' Airscarf neck warmer.

  • Mercedes-Benz SL 450: In addition to its 362-horsepower V6 engine and nine-speed automatic transmission, the SL 450 trim comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable seats, a rearview camera, and driver drowsiness monitoring. This trim's COMAND infotainment system features a 7-inch display screen, a nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. A power-retractable hardtop with a built-in panoramic roof is standard.
  • Mercedes-Benz SL 550: The SL 550 trim comes with a 449-horsepower V8, ventilated front seats, the Airscarf neck warmer, parallel and perpendicular park assist, and a hands-free power trunk lid.
  • Mercedes-AMG SL 63: The SL 63 has a 577-horsepower V8 and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Beyond those powertrain upgrades, it adds styling and performance enhancements as well as massaging seats and upgraded leather upholstery.
  • Mercedes-AMG SL 65: The top-of-the-line AMG SL 65 comes with almost every feature you can get in the SL, as well as a 621-horsepower V12 and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

See 2018 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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has crash tested on the 2018 SL.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • driver drowsiness monitoring
  • Mercedes' Pre-Safe (prepares the vehicle for an imminent collision)

Available advanced safety features:

  • front and rear parking sensors
  • parallel and perpendicular park assist
  • blind spot monitoring
  • lane keep assist
  • Pre-Safe Plus (gets the vehicle ready for a rear collision)

See SL safety scores »

2018 Mercedes-Benz SL Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL or 2018 BMW 6 Series?

The 2018 BMW 6 Series is a luxury large car and a fine alternative to the SL. Like the SL, the 6 Series features a potent engine lineup and plenty of technology. The BMW comes in both sedan and convertible body styles, seats up to four people, and has more trunk space than the SL. You'll also find its infotainment system to be more user-friendly. That said, while both models' performance lean more towards comfort, the SL has better agility on curvy roads. These cars are close in our rankings, so your decision comes down to personal preference.

Which Is Better: 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL or 2018 Porsche 911?

The 2018 Porsche 911 places a stronger emphasis on athleticism than the SL. The Porsche has a more engaging ride than the SL, and it has a standard manual transmission and available all-wheel drive, neither of which are available in the Mercedes. Plus, the Porsche has over a dozen trim options, with even more engine choices than the SL. The 911 comes in three body styles (hardtop coupe, convertible, and Targa), and it has an opulent cabin with lots of standard and available features. Still, the SL costs a lot less and gives you more cargo space. If you want nimbler handling and don't mind spending more for it, go for the 911. Otherwise, stick with the SL.

Compare the SL, 6 Series, and 911 »

2018 SL Performance

How Does the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL Drive?

Each trim comes with its own respective engine. The base engine has plenty of power, but shoppers looking for super-car-like acceleration should consider one of the high-level AMG models. 

The base SL delivers a fairly engaging ride, with nimble handling and well-weighted steering. However, this Mercedes is more of a cruiser than a corner carver, and many of the SL's rivals can outmaneuver it on the track.

  • Base engine: 362-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (SL 450)
  • Available engines:
    • 449-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 (SL 550)
    • 577-horsepower twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 (AMG SL 63)
    • 621-horsepower twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 (AMG SL 65)
  • Drivetrain: rear-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard nine-speed automatic; available seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Does the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2018 SL has decent gas mileage for a luxury sports car.

  • SL 450: 20/28 mpg city/highway
  • SL 550: 17/25 mpg
  • AMG SL 63: 16/25 mpg
  • AMG SL 65: 13/22 mpg

Read more about SL performance »

2018 SL Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 SL Seat?

The 2018 SL seats two people. This convertible has ample head- and legroom, and its seats offer plenty of comfort and support. The interior features premium materials throughout, including standard leather upholstery. You may also find a model with luxurious extras like ventilated and massaging seats.

Standard seating features:

  • leather upholstery
  • heated seats
  • power-adjustable seats

Available seating features:

  • upgraded leather upholstery
  • ventilated seats
  • massaging seats
  • Mercedes' Airscarf neck warmer
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL?

There are no LATCH car-seat connectors in the 2018 SL. We do not recommend installing child seats in the front seat.

2018 Mercedes-Benz SL Features

The SL's standard COMAND infotainment system isn't as easy to use as what you'll find in some competitors. Reviewers claim that the 7-inch screen is small, and the system requires too many steps to get to your desired menu option. As a result, it may take a while to master.

  • Standard infotainment features: the COMAND infotainment system, a 7-inch display, satellite radio, Bluetooth, two USB ports, a nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto
  • Available infotainment features: 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system and a Wi-Fi hot spot
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Other available features: Magic Sky Control (electronically adjusts the tint for the panoramic center roof panel)

See 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL specs »

Read more about SL interior »

2018 Mercedes-Benz SL Dimensions

Mercedes-Benz SL Cargo Space

There's 13.5 cubic feet of trunk space in the 2018 SL, which is a lot for a luxury sports car. Putting the top down reduces cargo space to 8.5 cubic feet. A hands-free power trunk lid is available.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Mercedes-Benz SL Length and Weight
  • Length: about 15 feet, 2 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,825 to 4,222 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SL Built?

Mercedes built the 2018 SL in Germany.

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