Mercedes-Benz updates its SL-Class with an aluminum body and new styling, along with a standard adaptive suspension that makes for a very comfortable ride.
Mercedes-Benz gave the SL-Class a redesign for the 2017 model year, offering it as the SL550 and SL450, along with new AMG performance variants.
As a large, luxury roadster, the SL-Class faces few competitors. And unlike less expensive convertibles, it shows a Mercedes-Benz emphasis on luxury in materials and technology.
The SL-Class' retractable hard top can be operated at up to 25 mph.
Technologies such as Air Scarf, which blows warm air from the seat headrests, contribute to this car's level of comfort.
The adaptive suspension features Comfort and Sport settings, although even the latter retains considerable softness.
The SL550 uses a twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V-8, shown here, producing 449 horsepower. The twin-turbocharged 3-liter V-6 in the SL450 makes 362 horsepower.
LED headlights come standard, and Mercedes-Benz gives the SL-Class a pin-cushion grille.
Aluminum body panels reduce weight, such that Mercedes-Benz claims a 220-pound reduction over the use of steel.
Optional Curve Control tilts the entire car into a turn, so that passengers are pressed into their seats rather than being pushed up against the side bolsters by inertial force.
A limited-slip differential ensures power to both rear wheels during cornering.
Hood vents look good while helping to cool the engine.
As is standard with Mercedes-Benz cars, the seat controls are conveniently placed on the doors.
Mercedes-Benz retains the plastic switchgear for climate control and infotainment functions, marring the look of the dashboard.
The electric power steering offers good heft, and a natural feel.
The drive mode button sits near the drive selector, while a simple dial for selecting onscreen content sits to the right.
Drive modes include Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. Curve, shown here, is available when the Curve Control feature is present. Otherwise, the SL-Class gets an Eco mode.
The Individual drive mode lets you customize engine, steering, traction control and suspension settings.
The Curve preset puts the engine in Eco mode, and emphasizes comfort.
The navigation system works reasonably well, but is a bit behind systems from BMW and Audi.
Mercedes-Benz has made its infotainment interface somewhat confusing, as here it shows a rotational menu for selecting satellite radio stations.
Unlike the rotational menus, the system also shows these drop-down menus, a different control paradigm.
Mercedes-Benz makes a Bang & Olufsen audio system optionally available in the SL-Class.