Top Tuned Mercedes SLs


From yacht-inspired body kits to significant boosts in power, there's no shortage of aftermarket programs for the benchmark Benz roadster.

The Mercedes-Benz SL is the default choice for those with the means and the desire for a luxury roadster. But there will always be those looking for that extra touch. Fortunately for them there is no shortage of aftermarket firms that will gladly retrofit a client's SL. Whether it's a boost in performance or a slick new body kit, tuners from across the globe can be found willing and able to make the top-end Mercedes even more desirable. What follows is a selection of some of the best on the market today.

Most tuners focus on upgrading the SL's performance, but Graf Weckerle is all about adding luxury, which it did in abundance when employing a yachting-inspired theme on the SL-Class. Upgrades include custom-machined forged alloys finished in white enamel with chrome detailing measuring 20 inches across and fitted to a lowered suspension. Inside the open cockpit is decked out in custom blue leather with contrasting white piping and top-stitching, while the emblems are crafted from white gold. An ECU remap and stainless steel exhaust are available to upgrade the six-cylinder SL350 or the eight-cylinder SL500.

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Wheelsandmore delivered a refined program for the SL500 R231 roadster, the most striking feature of which is the finish to the bodywork thanks to an aluminum-silver-gray film that gives the SL roadster a stealth-like appearance. The tuner also added the maximum possible wheel sizes for the 6Sporz2 rim. The 20-inch alloys are available in nearly every color and surface finish combination imaginable. A fully-adjustable lowered suspension module named LowMaXX has been fitted, which shuts down at 44 mph to preserve comfort and safety. Optimizing the ECU has improved performance of the SL, providing an additional 70 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque, giving it figures of 505 hp and 590 lb-ft.

MEC Design is renowned for its aftermarket programs for top-end Mercs, and its work on the benchmark SL-Class is no different. Starting with the exterior, the German tuner awarded the roadster AMG-inspired bumpers, the front receiving integrated LEDs. An electronic suspension riding on new wheels lowers the ride height to a ground-hugging 55 mm, and a new variable quad-pipe exhaust system features two different sound levels, the relatively quieter "Daytona" setting and an "Earthquake" mode that announces the car's presence from even further away. The project sits on a set of MEC's own 20-inch 3-piece forged alloy MecxtremeI wheels finished in bright silver.

No stranger to uber-powerful Benzes, Brabus installed a PowerXtra module to the SL's 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 with plug-and-play capability for added power. Along with an auxiliary water-to-air intercooler and a stainless steel sport exhaust system, output was been increased from 435 to 520 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a 0-62 mph time of 4.4 seconds. Exterior upgrades include more dramatically-styled front fenders complete with side air vents, a new rear spoiler and side skirts. Wheels can be had in 18, 19 or 20 inches in three different designs. A custom interior includes scuff plates with a backlit Brabus logo, carbon fiber or fine wood trim and special Brabus upholstery shop leather and Alcantara.

Prior Design came up with a hard-nosed widebody kit for the SL-Class dubbed the Black Edition V2. Designed for the R230, it's aerodynamically optimized and made of Dura-Flex FRP (a composite made of a polymer matrix reinforced with carbon fibers) including a new front bumper with add-on spoiler and special winglets that generate downforce while sending cool air to the engine and brakes. A revised front fascia comprises of a new black mesh grille and ventilated hood, wider front and rear fenders connected by a pair of skirts give the SL more muscle, while an upgraded rear bumper with integrated diffuser aims to keep the bulky back end firmly fixed to the road at high speeds.