The 2024 Mercedes-AMG SL-class blends luxury and performance in a head-turning open-top package. The current-generation SL leans more heavily toward the performance side of the spectrum but still threads the luxury needle well enough to appeal to its traditional clientele. The latest SL also made a departure from the recent past by expanding its cockpit from a strictly two-seat configuration to a two-plus-two. The rear seats, though, are far more suitable for stowing a briefcase or handbag than for transporting even pint-sized humans. The glitzy interior features a large central touchscreen, the angle of which can be adjusted to reduce sun glare. The SL is capped by a power soft top that, when lowered, eats up less trunk space than the previous model’s retractable hardtop. Mercedes-AMG offers a trio of powertrains, starting with a turbocharged four-cylinder in the SL43, stepping up to a powerful V-8 in the SL55 and graduating to a stonker of a V-8 in the SL63.
What’s New for 2024?
The SL powers into 2024 largely unchanged, although buyers seeking something extra-special have new choices. Mercedes-AMG is bringing its Manufaktur specialty program to the SL, which offers non-standard paint colors and two special nappa leather upholstery choices. Kicking off the program is the SL63 Manufaktur Big Sur, which is decked out in Orange Flame Metallic with a Mystic Red and Black nappa leather interior highlighted with orange contrast stitching.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
A host of luxury features come standard on all SL models, including massaging seats, a head-up display, and a Burmester stereo system. We’d go with the more expensive SL63 to unlock the twin-turbo V-8’s maximum power. Both the SL55 and SL63 are offered in either Touring or Performance specifications, with the latter coming with a front axle lift feature (to help it clear speed bumps) and darkened exterior trim.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Except for the entry-level SL43, which comes with a 375-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, the SL models are powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 borrowed from the GT sports car. In the SL55 the engine makes a stout 469 horsepower but upgrading to the SL63 boosts that figure to a thundering 577 ponies. A nine-speed automatic is the only transmission, and an all-wheel-drive system and four-wheel steering are standard on the SL55 and SL63, while the SL43 is rear-wheel drive only. The top powertrains allow the revived SL-class to take on convertible versions of the BMW 8-series and Lexus LC—both of which are offered with powerful V-8 engines—as well as more sporting rivals, such as the Porsche 911. That said, we put the SL63 on the track during our Lightning Lap competition, where it proved shockingly capable. Back in the real world, drivers may find the SL has more selectable drive modes than is necessary, giving the impression that the car hasn’t quite found its focus. Acceleration is right-now responsive; in our testing, the SL63 roared to 60 mph in just 3.0 seconds accompanied by a baritone exhaust burble. We haven’t tested the SL55 or the entry-level SL43, but Mercedes says even the four-cylinder version is good for about 4.8 seconds to 60 mph with a top speed of 170 mph.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The SL55 earned an EPA rating of 14 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, while the more powerful SL63’s estimates are 1 mpg lower in both measures. The V-8–powered version of the BMW 8-series convertible bests the SL by a few mpg, as does the Lexus LC with its available V-8 engine. The SL43 estimates are considerably better at 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. We’re still waiting for our chance to put the new SL-class through our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, to evaluate its real-world mpg. For more information about the SL’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The driver and passenger sit deep inside the SL with the base of the windows up around shoulder level. Most surfaces are wrapped in leather with contrast stitching, and the turbine-like air vents add a stylish note. The instrumentation is screen-based, and a large, portrait-style center touchscreen operates most functions. We don’t love the over-reliance on fussy touch controls, which are used even for audio volume and to lower or raise the top. The seats incorporate heating, cooling, and massage functions, as well as vents at the base of the headrest (Mercedes’s Airscarf) that can blow warm air on the occupants’ neck during cold weather. The tiny rear seats with upright backrests are too small for human cargo but make for a handy place to toss a briefcase or bag—especially since the trunk is quite small.
Infotainment and Connectivity
All SL models come with Mercedes’s latest MBUX infotainment system, complete with the system’s “Hey Mercedes” virtual assistant and a large 11.9-inch touchscreen infotainment display that can be adjusted for viewing angle depending on a driver’s preference. A 12.3-inch digital gauge display is also standard. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on hand as well, and the navigation system includes available augmented reality. All SLs come with a Burmester stereo system, but the SL63 can be optioned with an upgraded surround-sound version.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
A host of driver-assistance features are standard, including automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring. But Mercedes-AMG makes you pay extra for others, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. For more information about the SL’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features are likely to include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with a lane-centering feature
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mercedes-AMG’s standard warranty package is the least special thing about its cars and covers a basic four-year/50,000-mile period with no frills or extras. Both the 8-series and the LC offer significant complimentary scheduled maintenance programs, which may make those cars more attractive to those who seek to lease.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2022 Mercedes-AMG SL63
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 2+2-passenger, 2-door convertible
Base/As Tested: $180,450/$204,885
Options: Exterior Carbon Fiber package, $5300; Burmester 3-D surround-sound stereo, $4500; AMG cross-spoke black wheels, $3300; Monza Grey Magno paint, $3250; AMG Aerodynamics package, $2850; Driver Assistance package with active safety equipment (distance assist, steering assist, lane-change assist, emergency-stop assist, speed-limit assist, brake assist with cross-traffic function, evasive steering assist, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, route-based speed adaptation), $1950; Performance trim line (front-axle lift system, surround-view camera, active LED headlights, head-up display), $1800; AMG Night package, $1300; microfiber headliner, $1600
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 243 in3, 3982 cm3
Power: 577 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 590 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
Suspension, F/R: multilink/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 15.4-inch vented, cross-drilled disc; 14.2-inch vented, cross-drilled disc
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
F: 275/35ZR21 (103Y) M01A
R: 305/30ZR21 (104Y) M02A
Wheelbase: 106.3 in
Length: 185.2 in
Width: 75.4 in
Height: 53.5 in
Curb Weight: 4305 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.0 sec
100 mph: 7.1 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.2 sec @ 125 mph
130 mph: 12.2 sec
150 mph: 17.5 sec
170 mph: 25.6 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.2 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 3.9 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.6 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.9 sec
Top Speed (mfr’s claim): 196 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 150 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 297 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 1.04 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 18 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 16/14/21 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs