New SL450 trim packs 362-hp twin-turbo V-6.
The Mercedes-Benz SL received a number of updates for the 2015 model year, but even more changes are in store for the hard-top convertible in 2017. In addition to a face-lift, the model receives a new nine-speed automatic transmission and a twin-turbo V-6-powered SL450 trim level that replaces the previous SL400.
The refresh is most noticeable in the front. The SL receives the diamond grille pattern that Mercedes has rolled out on the rest of its lineup, and the grille’s shape has been revised as well. The headlights are also new, now slimmer and slanted inward like those on the AMG GT. The lower valance has also been redesigned, with the vents losing the LED daytime driving lights of the previous model. Mercedes says it drew styling inspiration from the classic 300 SL Panamericana.
Though the SL400 was new for 2015, it’s already being replaced after just two model years. The SL450 packs the same twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, but that engine has been tuned to 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque (up 33 hp and 15 lb-ft). The SL450 and SL550 receive a new 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the previous seven-speed. Mercedes’ suite of advanced safety features will continue to be offered through the Driver Assistance package, and Apple CarPlay will be available with the Smartphone Integration package. The retractable hardtop can now be opened and closed at speeds up to 25 mph. New to the SL is an automatic trunk separator, which partitions the trunk when the top is down.
The heavy-hitting Mercedes-AMG SL63 and SL65 models continue to be offered for 2017, with the SL63 still making 577 hp and 664 lb-ft from a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 and the SL65 making 621 hp and 738 lb-ft from a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-12. Both engines come mated to a seven-speed AMG Speedshift MCT automatic transmission with five updated driving modes.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL will launch in the North America next spring, with the AMG models arriving soon after in late spring 2016. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.