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2024 Mercedes-AMG SL-Class on Everyman Driver

The 2024 Mercedes-AMG SL-class is a luxurious and high-performance convertible that stands out with its striking open-top design. While it emphasizes performance, it still maintains a touch of luxury that appeals to its traditional customer base. This latest model offers a notable departure from its predecessors by introducing rear seats, albeit small and more suitable for stowing items than passengers.

Inside, the interior is elegantly designed, featuring a sizable central touchscreen that can be adjusted to reduce glare. The power soft top is more space-efficient when lowered compared to the previous retractable hardtop.

Mercedes-AMG provides a range of powertrains, starting with a turbocharged four-cylinder in the SL43, followed by a potent V-8 in the SL55, and culminating in the impressive SL63 with a thunderous V-8 engine.

All SL models come generously equipped with luxury features, including massaging seats, a head-up display, and a Burmester stereo system. Opting for the SL63 unlocks the twin-turbo V-8’s maximum power and offers the choice between Touring and Performance specifications, with the latter featuring a front axle lift for navigating speed bumps and darkened exterior trim.

The SL models are primarily powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine, producing 469 horsepower in the SL55 and a commanding 577 horsepower in the SL63. All models use a nine-speed automatic transmission. The SL55 and SL63 come with standard all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering, while the SL43 is rear-wheel drive only. This lineup positions the SL-class to compete with convertible versions of the BMW 8-series, Lexus LC, and sportier rivals like the Porsche 911.

The SL’s acceleration is impressively responsive, with the SL63 reaching 60 mph in just 3.0 seconds in testing. While the SL55 and SL43 haven’t been tested, Mercedes estimates a 4.8-second 0-60 mph time for the four-cylinder SL43, with a top speed of 170 mph.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the SL55 achieves an EPA rating of 14 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, while the SL63’s estimates are slightly lower by 1 mpg in both categories. The V-8-powered BMW 8-series and Lexus LC offer slightly better fuel economy. The SL43 provides significantly better estimates at 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.

Inside the SL, both the driver and passenger sit deep within the cabin, surrounded by leather surfaces with contrast stitching and stylish turbine-like air vents. The instrumentation is screen-based, and a large portrait-style center touchscreen controls most functions. 

However, the reliance on touch controls for audio volume and top operation can be cumbersome. The seats offer heating, cooling, and massage functions, along with vents in the headrests for warming during cold weather. The rear seats are small and upright, more suitable for storage than passengers, which complements the relatively small trunk space.

All SL models come with Mercedes’s latest MBUX infotainment system, featuring the “Hey Mercedes” virtual assistant and an 11.9-inch touchscreen that adjusts for viewing angles. A 12.3-inch digital gauge display is standard, as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The navigation system includes augmented reality features, and all SLs feature a Burmester stereo system, with the option to upgrade to a surround-sound version for the SL63.

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