The SL is a stylish and luxurious two-seat convertible with a folding metal roof. It’s very practical for this type of car, so it’s easy to live with every day. But it’s at its best on a long journey, taking the scenic route to somewhere sunny.
The Mercedes SL – with its clever folding roof – is a great choice if you want a stylish and sporty convertible with a genuinely luxurious feel. We have a range of used Mercedes-Benz SL Class cars for sale that are available to purchase or finance.
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Thinking of buying a used Mercedes-Benz SL Class?
The style of the car
The Mercedes SL is a large two-door convertible that looks sleek and powerful. Unlike most other convertibles, it has a folding metal roof that makes the interior quieter, and improves safety and security. The interior looks good, too, and it’s very user-friendly. AMG models have a sportier, more aggressive look.
How it drives
The SL is a type of car known as ‘grand tourer’, or GT. That means it’s designed for travelling very long distances at motorway speeds, while keeping the passengers as comfortable and relaxed as possible. It’s very good at just about every other type of journey, too. The steering is light, all models have an automatic gearbox and the view out is excellent. It’s quite a wide, long car but it has parking sensors and cameras, so manoeuvring is easy. Two petrol engines are available, badged SL400 and SL63. The SL400 is a fast car by most standards, but not compared to the much more powerful SL63.
The SL is a large convertible with two doors and two seats. It’s extremely spacious and comfortable. The interior is very quiet with the roof up. A pop-up windbreak behind the seats keeps the interior sheltered when the roof is lowered. The doors open wide, so access is easy. There are storage spaces for cups, bottles and phones. The boot is very big for this type of car. With the roof up, there’s space for a couple of large suitcases. There’s less space with the roof lowered, but still enough for some big soft bags. Every SL comes with a lot of equipment including heated and massaging leather seats, sat nav and adaptive cruise control. There’s also a glass sunroof, so you get a view of the sky even with the roof up. On some cars it can be turned opaque at the touch of a button.
Running costs and reliability
The SL is competitively priced against rivals and comes better equipped than all of them. Fuel economy is pretty good for this type of car, too. According to official figures, the SL400 will return around 35mpg, while the high performance SL63 returns 23mpg. But both are in the top tax band and high insurance groups. Servicing costs are reasonable and reliability is excellent. The SL hasn’t been given a rating by safety organisation Euro NCAP, but it comes with a very good standard of high-tech safety features. These include a roll-over bar that pops up automatically to protect passengers if the car turns upside down, as well as systems that warns a driver who is tired or distracted.
How it compares with similar cars
The SL’s main rivals are the BMW 6 Series Convertible and Porsche 911 Cabriolet. Both have child-size back seats but less boot space. The 911 is more fun to drive on a bendy road than the SL, but the SL is easier to live with every day. For most people, though, the choice will come down to which car’s styling and brand they prefer.
Mercedes-Benz SL Class common questions
Mercedes has a long-established reputation for building high-quality, reliable cars, even when they’re as complex as the SL. It has no real issues and should be hassle-free.
The SL is surprisingly economical for this type of car, but all models are in the top tax band and high insurance groups. Servicing costs are reasonable considering how complex a car the SL is.
There’s a lot of space in the SL’s two seats. The boot is very big for a convertible, too. The metal roof makes the interior quieter than in similar cars with a fabric roof.
The SL has fewer seats but a bigger boot than rivals like the BMW 6 Series Convertible and Porsche 911 Cabriolet. The 911 is more fun to drive, but the SL is easier to live with.