Mercedes-Benz SL (2012 – 2020) Review

Mercedes-Benz SL (2012 – 2020) At A Glance


+Impressively refined with a smooth ride. Metal folding roof means it's as quiet as a coupe. AMG versions are brutally fast.

-Doesn't feel particularly special given the price tag. Comfortable rather than outright sporty. Steering lacks feel.

Insurance Groups are between 48–50
On average it achieves 86% of the official MPG figure

The archetypal grand tourer, the Mercedes-Benz SL boasts a pedigree that few grand tourers can match. Launched in the 1950s in its maker’s pursuit of Le Mans glory, the SL has matured into one of the best two-seater sports cars money can buy, with an opulent interior and powerful range of engines.

The sixth generation SL was launched in 2012 and is built almost entirely of lightweight aluminium – a first for a volume production Mercedes-Benz – which means the car is 25 per cent lighter than its all-steel equivalent and more ridged. Mercedes-Benz has also made significant weight reductions with the folding roof, seats, suspension and running gear.

The interior of the SL is a lavish and opulent affair, with deep leather seats, soft touch materials and brushed aluminium trim. Both the driver and passenger get acres of space and the SL is ideal for long trips, with plenty of room. Admittedly, things get a little blustery with the roof down, but the optional wind deflector improves things no end. The retractable roof is also easy to use, folding away neatly into the boot at a press of a button, leaving a respectable 364 litres of storage.

The engine line up consists of four options, including two AMG models, ranging from 306PS to 630PS. The 0-62mph sprint can be covered in as little as 4.3 seconds by the V8 biturbo while the naturally aspirated V6 will achieve that target in 5.9 seconds. The SL350 and naturally aspirated V6 was phased out in April 2014 and replaced with the SL400, which uses a V6 biturbo with an increase of 27PS.

All of the engines are mated to a seven-speed automatic, with four driving modes, which span from comfort to full on throttle-blipping racing. However, regardless of which mode you choose, the SL is always surefooted and predictable in its handling. Admittedly, the car feels more comfortable as a gentleman’s cruiser, but it will still answer a need for speed. Only the AMG versions can rival the Porsche 911 or Maserati Granturismo.

As with all great things, the Mercedes-Benz SL is expensive and prices for the entry level SL400 start at £70,000 while the brutal AMG versions will set you back upwards of £100,000.

Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz SL (2012 – 2020)


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

24–38 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

Satisfaction Index What is your car like to live with?

We need your help with our latest Satisfaction Index, so that we can help others make a smarter car buying decision. What's it like to live with your car? Love it? Loath it? We want to know. Let us know about your car - it will only take a few minutes and you could be helping thousands of others.

Help us with the Honest John Satisfaction Index now

Ask Honest John

The paint is bubbling on my car. Is the manufacturer obligated to fix it?
"The paint is bubbling on my red 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL. What are my legal rights regarding guarantee obligations from Mercedes?"
Assuming this is the Mercedes-Benz Mars Red, the car will need to be stripped back to the metal, treated and repainted. Your first point of contact will be the dealer you bought the car from and not the manufacturer. There has been cases were affected vehicles have been resprayed outside the warranty period, but these reports are becoming more rare as these vehicles get older. For your consumer rights, see:
Answered by Dan Powell
Rusty alloy wheels - what are my rights?
"I've recently purchased a two year old Mercedes-Benz SL from a local dealer. The car has 9000 miles on the clock and I have noticed corrosion on the alloy wheels. I have only had the car 10 days, what are my rights? "
This is the law under which you can reject it. Your rights are much stronger if you bought it within the past 30 days:
Answered by Honest John
Why doesn't the stop-start function work on my car?
"The stop-start, function on my two year old Mercedes-Benz SL350 AMG seems to work on a completely random basis. Some days it becomes operative after a journey of a mile while on others it will refuse to work. Is this a fault?"
Reads as if the battery has lost some of its capacity to hold a full charge and that's why the system appears to be erratic.
Answered by Honest John
Which tyres are best for the Mercedes SL?
"What would you recommend as the best tyres for the Mercedes-Benz SL350? Fronts are 255/35/ZR19 and rears are 285/30/Zr19 Bridgestones. "
Probably Michelin Pilot Sport 3s.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions