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Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review: Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Overall verdict
Another brilliant iteration of the classic Mercedes - but the appeal of the looks will take time...


Breadth of ability, quality, technology


The front end looks are an acquired taste


What is it?

Despite Mercedes’ famous SL line now being more than six decades old, the latest model, all-new last year, is a very worthy continuation of the respected line. It fully respects the heritage of the firm’s GT series, keeping up the tradition of effortless waft with relatively low-key visual impact.

The recipe is traditional and simple: two seats, folding metal hard-top, front–engined and rear-wheel drive. The big news for this version is that it’s all-new, and boasts an aluminium-intensive construction, correspondingly lighter weight and more efficient engines. Even though there’s generally more kit, the 306bhp, V6 SL 350 manages a generational weight loss of 140kg. Which means the new SL is both faster and more efficient than the car it replaces.

Styling-wise, it’s more evolution than revolution: it’s still handsome and muscular, without being caricature, though the new headlights have caused some furrowed brows. Expect the shock of the new to fade with time.

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
SL 500 Grand Edition 2dr 9G-Tronic
4.3s 230g/km 28.0 455 £87,330
The cheapest
SL 400 Grand Edition 2dr 9G-Tronic
4.9s 197g/km 32.8 367 £78,630
The greenest
SL 400 Grand Edition 2dr 9G-Tronic
4.9s 197g/km 32.8 367 £78,630