The SL was once the flagship car for Mercedes, but now everyone seems to overlook it.
Let's be honest: The Mercedes AMG GT is a hype machine. When people first heard that Mercedes was building a proper 911-fighter, there was some skepticism. The SLS was a very cool car, but couldn't really be taken seriously against the Porsche. The AMG GT was a massive improvement over the SLS and the new hardcore GT R just proves even more that Mercedes is really ready to take on Stuttgart. But with all the hype around the AMG GT many people have forgotten another car.
Long before the AMG GT, or even the SLS for that matter, Mercedes had the SL. SL stands for Sportlich-Leicht, or Sport-Lightweight. The SL designation was first given to the 300 SL and was then moved to the SL-Series that we know today in 1963. The SL has come a long way since its early beginnings. What was once a lightweight roadster has slowly become a heavy, luxury cruiser. The SL reached a low point in 2012 with the sixth generation. The SL dropped a bit of weight over the previous generation, but new safety features all but nullified the weight savings. The biggest issue was the exterior. The SL wasn't the prettiest car in its fifth generation, but the sixth gen was downright ugly.
Luckily the 2017 SL has received a much-needed facelift. The SL's front end now looks much more like the S-Class coupe, which we believe is one of the best looking cars on the market. However, now that the S-Class Coupe also comes as a convertible, one must ask, "Why does Mercedes still make the SL?" The S-Class convertible is perfect for the individual who wants a Rolls-Royce Dawn but doesn't want to spend $300,000. If you just want something sporty with a drop top, the SLC is perfect. If you need two more seats, the C-Class convertible offers them. The AMG GT will soon get a convertible version as well, so if you are a speed freak, Mercedes has you covered.
We really had to rack our brains to think of the ideal SL customer. Here goes. The SL would be perfect for someone who has a lot of money and thinks that the SLC and C-Class are a bit too "entry-level." An SL buyer would look at the S-Class convertible and say they wanted something a little sportier. This person is probably slightly older, so the luxury of the S-Class may make them start to feel their age. The SL customer wants to feel youthful but wouldn't be able to crouch down to get in the GT. This customer would also feel a bit silly with the GT's loud exhaust. After narrowing down the options, the only car left would be the Mercedes SL, unless they're willing to wait for the Lexus LC.
The only decision at that point would be to decide how silly they wanted the SL to be. The standard SL400 comes with a 363-horsepower twin-turbo V6, a fine engine for a pint-sized grand tourer. The SL550 gets a 4.7-liter V8 with 449 horsepower, which will likely add some smoothness to the powertrain. If you wanted to be silly you could opt for the SL63 or SL65 AMG with 557 horsepower and 621 horsepower, respectively. The SL65 is not much faster than the SL63, but some people can't live without a V12. In a race, the AMG GT is much faster, but if you want to be extremely comfortable when blowing past young people in VW Golfs, then the SL is the Mercedes you shouldn't overlook.