Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (2008 – 2012) Review

Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (2008 – 2012) At A Glance


+Great performance from all the engines with SL350 the pick of the bunch, neat folding metal roof.

-Expensive with top versions more than £100,000.

Insurance Group 50
On average it achieves 92% of the official MPG figure

Four years ago, I wrote "Forget Ferraris, Rolls Royces, Bentleys, Lamborghinis, Porsches. The most desirable car you can buy is the new Mercedes 500SL. Wherever you happen to be, no other car impresses most of the people most of the time. It's the one car the world over that says you've arrived before you even start your journey."

That hasn't changed. The range has expanded up and down. You can now have a relatively fuel efficient £63,000 3.5 litre SL350 with 272bhp and 350 Nm torque. This is slightly better in all respects than the old 3.7 litre SL350. You can go one better with the new £75,880 5.5 litre 388bhp 500SL. Or you can go completely Puerto Banus with a £149,000 SL65 AMG that boasts 612bhp, 1,000Nm torque and a de-restricted top speed well over 200mph. Over the last year UK registrations have split 65.4% SL350, 23.2% SL500, 0.8% SL600, 9.1% SL55 AMG, while 1.5% cough up the extra £49,000 for an SL65 AMG.

People will know you have the latest model from the slightly cleaner styling with a more pronounced V shape bumper, three large air intakes, chrome fog light surrounds, new alloy wheel designs and new rear light lenses.

Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (2008 – 2012)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

14–30 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

Satisfaction Index

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Ask Honest John

Part failure - should the dealer replace FOC?
"I had a replacement central locking pump fitted to my Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG by a local authorised dealer. However, after just eight months, the part failed again. The dealer is now refusing to replace it under their genuine parts warranty as they claim that it has failed due to water ingress. Water was found in the boot but they are only surmising that this water caused the failure. They told me they do not have authority to open the pump and refuse to send it back to Mercedes-Benz for them to make an accurate assessment. Do they not have an obligation to prove that water ingress caused the pump failure and not just surmise that it did? "
It is highly likely that water ingress caused the second failure because these cars are notorious for this.The question for you to ask is why didn't they fix the water leak when they replaced the pump?
Answered by Honest John
Why was I advised to fit a child seat to my Mercedes-Benz SL that turns off the airbag?
"I own a Mercedes-Benz SL and when I needed a car seat for my grandson who is now eight years old, I was told by Mercedes I had to buy a seat to fit that also turned the airbag off automatically. The price for that seat was almost £400. When I asked why it was so expensive I was told it was the cost of the mechanism that turned the airbag off. Car seats, as you know, cannot be sold secondhand, so for what was probably less than twenty trips I had to spend this enormous amount. You state categorically one does not turn an airbag off with a forward facing seat. Was I conned or has the law done a volte-face? "
Why would you turn an airbag off for a forward facing car seat any more for a child than for an adult? Obviously the further away from the airbag the child sits the better, but it will protect him as much in a crash as it would an adult. Airbags should be switched off when rear facing baby cradles are strapped into the passenger seat because the airbag rapidly inflating against the back of the baby's head could break its neck. But that is the only reason for switching an airbag off.
Answered by Honest John
Warranties on cars registered late?
"Mercedes-Benz Brookwood have a 350SL £43k first registered November 2011 that arrived in the UK November 2010 and placed in their showroom for 12 months with zero miles driven. Sold to a private buyer November 2011 and now on sale with 10,000 miles and £3k options . Mercedes claim it is only 1 year 7 months old starting from registration. It is however over 2 years 7 months from manufacture and arrival in the UK. They tell me the manufacturers warranty lasts until November 2014. The car will surely have aged in those first 12months but Mercedes insist it was a new car in November 2011 as far as they are concerned. Is this normal practice? 12 months depreciation on such a vehicle is pretty heavy."
If they sold it as a new car in November 2011, and they agree to treat is as a new car then for warranty purposes, then that's clear. Obviously much better it sat in a showroom for the first year of its life than sat outside on a car lot or in a compound. This will have minimised its deterioration. But it is still a November 2010 car. Glass's prices a 2010/60 at £34,250, and a 2011/61 at £39,000, so however you look at it, at £43k it is overpriced.
Answered by Honest John
Can I return my used Mercedes-Benz after having various problems?
"I recently purchased a 5000 mile 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLK. After a couple of weeks whilst washing the car I noticed that the paintwork, mainly on the bonnet, had started to flake off. I got in touch with the garage and after three visits they agreed to sort out the problem. When we took the car in I also pointed out that the boot was leaking, which they also said they would sort. On picking up the car they admitted to forgetting about fixing the boot so we had to book it in again, when we got the car home we noticed that not all the flaked paint work had been fixed so on returning the car for the fifth time for the boot to be fixed we pointed this out. When we eventually got our car back after two weeks in the garage they assured us that the boot was repaired and the flaked paint was due to a stone chip but, as a goodwill gesture, they had touched it up for us. On inspecting the touch up job they used what looks like white paint, when the car is a pearlescent paint. If this wasn't bad enough, the boot still leaks. Where do I stand on trying to get a refund for the car? It has brought us nothing but misery and having to deal with this garage is becoming quite stressful."
You can reject the car for a full cash refund on the grounds that it was faulty before you took delivery of it, citing the Supreme Court ruling in Clegg v Olle Anderson (trading as Nordic Marine) 2003. More here:
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (2008 – 2012) cost?