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2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550 emphasizes luxury, style (pictures)

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.

Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne Cunningham
2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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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.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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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.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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The SL-Class' retractable hard top can be operated at up to 25 mph.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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Technologies such as Air Scarf, which blows warm air from the seat headrests, contribute to this car's level of comfort.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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The adaptive suspension features Comfort and Sport settings, although even the latter retains considerable softness.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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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.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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LED headlights come standard, and Mercedes-Benz gives the SL-Class a pin-cushion grille.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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Aluminum body panels reduce weight, such that Mercedes-Benz claims a 220-pound reduction over the use of steel.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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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.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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A limited-slip differential ensures power to both rear wheels during cornering.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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Hood vents look good while helping to cool the engine.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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As is standard with Mercedes-Benz cars, the seat controls are conveniently placed on the doors.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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Mercedes-Benz retains the plastic switchgear for climate control and infotainment functions, marring the look of the dashboard.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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The electric power steering offers good heft, and a natural feel.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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The drive mode button sits near the drive selector, while a simple dial for selecting onscreen content sits to the right.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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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.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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The Individual drive mode lets you customize engine, steering, traction control and suspension settings.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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The Curve preset puts the engine in Eco mode, and emphasizes comfort.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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The navigation system works reasonably well, but is a bit behind systems from BMW and Audi.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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Mercedes-Benz has made its infotainment interface somewhat confusing, as here it shows a rotational menu for selecting satellite radio stations.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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Unlike the rotational menus, the system also shows these drop-down menus, a different control paradigm.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL550
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Mercedes-Benz makes a Bang & Olufsen audio system optionally available in the SL-Class.

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