2009 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

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11 CITY / 18 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
Predicted Reliability


What Changed for 2009:
  • Dramatic new exterior look
  • New standard Panorama Roof and Parktronic system
  • Two high-performance AMG models offered
  • SL63 AMG with Multi-Clutch Transmission replaces SL55
  • New super-performance SL65 AMG Black Series coupe
  • Standard AMG body cladding on all models
  • Upgraded interior appointments
  • Refined COMAND (Cockpit MANagement and Data) system
  • North American sales began in Spring 2008
Serving as the German automaker's flagship roadster, the SL-Class is Mercedes-Benz's premium 2-seater and features a retractable hardtop. The car is the direct descendent of the 300SL \"Gullwing\" coupe that debuted during 1954, evolving into the famed Mercedes' racing cars of the period. A convertible (roadster) version of the original SL was introduced in 1957.

Now in its fifth generation, the current convertible-only body style has been on sale since the 2003 model year. Mercedes solved the 4-season convertible question with an electric-powered folding steel \"Vario Roof\" as standard equipment-a \"first\" for the SL-Class. The \"clamshell\" roof goes up or down in 16 seconds, according to Mercedes. The SL was significantly updated for the 2007 model year in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first 300SL roadster.

For 2009, Mercedes has significantly updated the interior, exterior and technology on the 2-door retractable-roof coupe. More than just a mild exterior freshening, the updates to the latest model are unmistakable as they align the appearance of the SL with its larger sibling, the 2009 CLS-Class. The front end has been significantly altered with a new bumper, single-bar grille, and sleek, more angular headlamps. The redesigned hood incorporates twin power domes, and the gill-type air outlets on the front quarter panels were stylistically altered. According to Mercedes, the changes make a symbolic visual connection to the famous 1954 300SL. Changes continue to the larger mirrors with built-in turn signals; new, pronounced air diffuser in the rear; and new trapezoidal exhaust tips. Cockpit upgrades include a new 3-spoke steering wheel with shift paddles in front of a restyled instrument cluster. The gauges have been designed to sweep through their movements when the ignition is switched on. Upgraded seats include an improved version of the AIRSCARF system.

Mercedes-Benz's 4-year/50,000-mile warranty includes a 24-hour roadside assistance program.

Model Lineup
The 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is available in four rear-wheel-drive roadster models and a new special-edition V-12 coupe: SL550 and SL55 AMG with V-8 power; SL600 and SL65 AMG with V-12 engines. The AMG versions are hand-built by Mercedes' in-house high-performance department.

The SL550 contains a premium leather interior; hand-polished wood trim; 12-way power-adjustable and heated seats with pneumatic lumbar support and memory; leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel; power-adjustable tilt and telescopic steering column; DVD-based navigation and audio system with 8 speakers; Bose AudioPilot digital surround sound; in-dash CD player and separate 6-disc changer; satellite radio; hands-free telephone interface; dual-zone automatic climate controls; cruise control; auto-dimming mirrors; integrated garage door opener; and SmartKey with remote roof control. An iPod/MP3 interface is optional.

Replacing the outgoing 2008 SL55 AMG is the SL63 AMG, with a larger (6.2-liter) V-8 engine, massaging multi-contour seats, and carbon-fiber interior trim. The 12-cylinder SL600 features a panoramic roof, Nappa leather, heated and ventilated seats, wood and leather steering wheel, and keyless entry and starting. The SL63 AMG and SL65 AMG add carbon-fiber trim, plus AMG sport seats and steering wheel.

For 2009, Mercedes-Benz has launched a special, very limited-production SL65 AMG Black Series coupe with a carbon-fiber fixed roof, broadened front fenders, hood, trunk lid, and front/rear aprons. Weighing 550 pounds less than a standard SL roadster, the Black Series can accelerate to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, according to Mercedes. Its V-12 engine generates 650 hp, versus 604 hp for the regular SL65 model. Weight-optimized AMG forged alloy wheels are staggered in diameter and width. Vented, perforated composite ceramic brake discs are visible through AMG double-spoke wheels.

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL550 carries a 5.5-liter V-8 engine tuned to provide 382 hp and 391 lb.-ft. of torque, linked to a 7-speed automatic transmission that sends its power to the rear wheels. The car rides on an automatically adjusting suspension that Mercedes calls Active Body Control (ABC), with 18-inch wheels. The EPA gives the SL550 a fuel-economy estimate of 13 mpg city/21 mpg highway.

Replacing the SL55, the new SL63 AMG gets 518 hp out of its 6.2-liter V-8 engine, plus 465 lb.-ft. of torque, driving a new AMG Speedshift 7-speed Multi-Clutch transmission with four shift modes and automatic double-clutching. The SL63 gets an AMG-enhanced ABC suspension, AMG high-performance brakes, 19-inch AMG wheels, plus AMG sport exhaust and aerodynamic bodywork. EPA estimate for the SL63 AMG is 12 mpg city/19 mpg highway.

The SL600's twin-turbo, 5.5-liter V-12 engine provides 510 hp and 612 lb.-ft. of torque. This model is equipped with a modified 5-speed automatic transmission, ABC, and 18-inch wheels. The SL65 AMG contains an AMG transmission, suspension, brakes, wheels, exhaust and bodywork, but the 6.0-liter 12-cylinder engine is tuned to 604 hp and 738 lb.-ft. of torque. Both V-12 engines earn EPA estimates of 11 mpg city/18 mpg highway. In the new SL65 AMG Black Series, the V-12 engine develops more than 650 hp, helped by 12-percent larger turbochargers and more efficient intake air intercooling. The Black Series' toughened Speedshift Plus 5-speed automatic transmission has four shift modes and automatic \"throttle-blipping.\" A fully adjustable suspension is installed.

Mercedes offers a unique Performance package for the SL63 AMG in 2009. Already distinctively styled to differentiate it from other SL models, the Performance package is designed for the true driving enthusiast, according to Mercedes. Included are vented ceramic front disc brakes, limited-slip differential, high-performance suspension, smaller AMG sport steering wheel, and 19-inch, twin-spoke, forged light-alloy wheels.

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class comes with Tele Aid emergency calling and communications, front and side air bags, and special knee-protecting air bags. It also is equipped with Xenon automatic headlamps with high-pressure washers, and tire-pressure-monitoring technology. If sensors detect an impending rollover, a leather-covered roll bar pops up automatically in one-third of a second, according to Mercedes. Furthermore, the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) is a technology designed to reduce the likelihood of skidding or spinning. The car also features Mercedes' electrohydraulic braking system with anti-lock brakes and brake assist. The special-edition SL65 AMG Black Series features a 3-stage Electronic Stability Program.

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have crash-tested the current-model Mercedes-Benz SL.

Mercedes-Benz upgraded their COMAND infotainment system for 2009. The multimedia interface, featuring a 6.5-inch display, has been refined for easier connection to an

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