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2023 Mercedes-AMG SL: Choosing the Right Trim


The all-new 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL roadster combines Mercedes-Benz technology, style, and luxury with the performance genius of its in-house tuner AMG. Intended for those with deep pockets and a need for speed, the SL comes in two versions and two trims. The SL 55 features a 469-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, while the SL 63 uses the same engine with additional tuning for a bump to 577 hp.

Buyers of either model can choose between Touring or Performance trims, the latter adding a few more upgrades to the suspension and driveline.

In proper 2+2 form, the SL provides seating for four, although the back is little more than an afterthought. Using a soft-top convertible retains the tradition of classic SL roadsters throughout time, but it may lack the durability of a retractable hardtop.

Competing against the SL are several models covering a wide price range. The Lexus LC, BMW M8, and Chevrolet Corvette are at the lower end of the pricing spectrum. The Porsche 911, Jaguar F-Type, and Audi R8 play in the same price range, but even exotics from Ferrari and Lamborghini are not out of the question.

2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 Touring: $138,000 (estimated)

The first of four SL variations is the SL 55 Touring. It features a handcrafted AMG twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine, AMG Performance 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD), an AMG Speedshift multi-clutch 9-speed automatic transmission, and an AMG adaptive damping sport suspension.

Additional performance enhancements include AMG Dynamic Select, allowing the driver to alter throttle response, shift timing, and suspension settings with Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Slippery modes. AMG Dynamics further adjusts driver input with additional adjustments to the Performance 4Matic’s stability program.

Rounding out the Touring’s performance highlights is an AMG Performance exhaust, AMG high-performance composite brakes with red calipers, active rear-wheel steering, and Dynamic Cornering Assist.

The SL’s shapely exterior cheats the wind with active louvers in the lower grille that close at speed for improved aerodynamics. A multistage active rear spoiler deploys at different angles depending on speed, while 20-inch AMG twin 5-spoke wheels wrapped in performance tires help keep the SL planted.

A 3-layered power top goes from closed to open in just 15 seconds and can be operated at speeds up to 37 mph.

Standard equipment includes adaptive LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, heated windshield washers, SmartKey keyless entry and start, a hands-free power trunk, and heated power folding side mirrors.

The SL Touring offers several advanced apps that let you start the car remotely using a smartphone. You can also get alerts if someone hits your car while it’s parked, schedule services through the Mercedes me app, or call for roadside assistance.

The Touring trim’s cockpit is an exercise in style and comfort, with Nappa leather upholstery, 12-way heated and ventilated front seats with memory and multi-contour massage, a power and heated tilt/telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, and 64-color ambient LED lighting.

Each front seat includes the Airscarf neck-level heating system, ideal for when air temps drop, but you don’t want to put up the top.

A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster offers various display options, including screens with G-force monitoring, a race-inspired upshift prompt, engine torque output, and fluid temperatures. There’s also an AMG Drive Unit control on the steering wheel, allowing quick engagement of all the sportiest performance settings.

At the heart of the interior is a massive portrait-style 11.9-inch touchscreen display. It provides access to the multimedia system, climate controls, massaging front seats, and navigation. The power-adjustable screen moves between 12 and 32 degrees for optimal viewing (and perhaps no glare) when the top is down.

You can control the robust Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) via the touchscreen, steering wheel, or voice-activated commands. The system responds when you speak the words, “Hey, Mercedes,” and can understand casual voice requests such as, “I’m hungry for pizza,” or “Where’s the nearest gas station?”.

Biometric identification uses fingerprint scanning to let the system know who’s in the driver’s seat, with the ability to recall up to seven user profiles.

MB navigation comes standard and includes one year of live traffic information plus constant over-the-air updates.

The audio setup includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, streaming Bluetooth, SiriusXM satellite radio, and HD Radio. Music can be streamed from services like Spotify or Apple Music via your smartphone or the MBUX system when using the built-in Wi-Fi hot spot.

When listening to music, it comes through 10 Burmester speakers powered by a 650-watt amp and backed by a powered subwoofer.

Additional tech features include a wireless charging pad and multiple USB-C charge ports.

Finally, we come to the Touring’s standard safety and driver-assist systems, which are plentiful.

In the low-tech arena, the SL Touring features pop-up roll bars and 10 airbags, including side-head airbags for all four passengers, front knee airbags, and side-impact airbags.

Driver-assist systems include a forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, a blind-spot monitor with exit assist, and a lane-departure warning.

There’s a system to help keep the car on course when encountering strong crosswinds, a system that detects when a crash or rollover is imminent and preps the passenger compartment, and a system that alerts the driver when it detects drowsy or inattentive driving.

Automatic high-beam headlights, a 360-degree monitor, and an automatic parking assistant are standard.

Options for the SL 55 Touring include interior and exterior styling upgrades, such as the AMG Night Package and Exterior Chrome Package.

Noteworthy options include 21-inch wheels, augmented video navigation, an AMG Performance steering wheel, a black or gray microfiber headliner, and the MBUX interior assistant.

The AMG Track Pace for MBUX program lets you record up to 80 parameters of track data and features a race navigation feature that records tracks, showing the ideal cornering angle and brake points via a head-up display.

Buyers can opt for the head-up display, a cargo management system for the trunk, and a Burmester High-End 3D Surround Sound system with 17 speakers powered by a 1,200-watt amp.

The Driver Assistance Package brings more driver aids, such as adaptive cruise control, lane-centering, front and rear cross-traffic detection, congested traffic emergency braking (detects when traffic has stopped ahead and slows the vehicle), and route-based speed adaptation.

When using the adaptive cruise control (called “Distronic” by Mercedes), features like Active Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, and Active Speed Limit Assist all work to create a semiautonomous driving situation.

With the $1,150 destination charge, the 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 Touring’s estimated cost is around $139,150. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, look for a monthly payment of approximately $2,500. See 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 Touring models for sale near you

2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 Touring includes:

  • Multifunction front seats – The Touring seats include 12-way power adjustment, multilevel heating and cooling, and even a massage feature to help alleviate fatigue.
  • Burmester audio – The standard Burmester sound system provides enough punch to overcome wind noise with the top down.
  • Convertible top – The Touring’s power top quickly retracts to form a flush deck behind the rear seat. Its triple-insulated padding helps keep out wind and road noise when the top is up.

2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 Performance: $146,000 (estimated)

The Performance trim includes all the Touring features, then adds an AMG Active Ride Control suspension, a front axle lift system, yellow brake calipers, and a limited-slip rear differential.

The Performance trim also gets Race Mode geared toward track driving.

Options for the Performance mirror those of the Touring but add an AMG Extended Night Package and AMG carbon-ceramic brakes.

With the $1,150 destination charge, the 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 Performance’s estimated cost is around $147,150. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, look for a monthly payment of approximately $2,644. See 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 Performance models for sale near you

2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 Performance includes:

  • Active Ride Control Suspension – Replaces mechanical torsion bars with a system linking the adaptive shocks, helping to control vehicle roll better while improving stability.
  • Front axle lift – The system can raise the front of the SL by as much as 1.2 inches, helping to prevent the front spoiler from scraping when entering steep driveways or traversing speed bumps.
  • Available carbon-ceramic brakes – These super durable brakes resist fading, improve stopping power, and eliminate annoying brake dust.

2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 Touring: $180,000 (estimated)

The SL 63 Touring builds off the SL 55 Touring, adding a more powerful engine and standard performance upgrades such as Race Mode, AMG Track Pace for MBUX, a limited-slip rear differential, and the AMG Active Ride Control suspension.

The SL 63 Touring gains a head-up display and augmented video navigation.

Options for the SL 63 Touring are the same as for the SL 55 Touring, except for those items included as standard.

With the $1,150 destination charge, the 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 Touring’s estimated cost is around $181,150. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, look for a monthly payment of approximately $3,255. See 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 Touring models for sale near you

2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 Touring includes:

  • 577 horsepower – The SL 63’s 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 is tweaked to produce a tire-smoking 577 hp, 590 lb-ft of torque, and a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds.
  • Limited-slip differential – This helps keep power flowing to both rear wheels when accelerating hard out of a corner.
  • Augmented video navigation – This system uses front cameras to create a live image, then superimposes helpful information like turn arrows, street names, or house numbers on a real-time view directly ahead of the car.

2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 Performance: $182,000 (estimated)

The SL 63 Performance includes all the Touring features plus the front axle lift.

Unique options for the SL 63 Performance include an AMG Aerodynamics Package, AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber Package, and additional AMG wheel options.

With the $1,150 destination charge, the 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 Performance’s estimated cost is around $183,150. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, look for a monthly payment of approximately $3,291. See 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 Performance models for sale near you

2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 Performance includes:

  • Available AMG Aerodynamics Package – Adds more aggressive exterior treatments for improved aerodynamics, including a carbon-fiber underbody panel.
  • Available AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber Package – Adds carbon-fiber styling elements in place of plastic for the front air dam splitter, side sill inserts, and rear diffuser.

FAQ

What is the best 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL trim?

The SL Touring trims seem to have everything you need and enough optional upgrades to put them nearly on par with the SL Performance trims.

However, if you plan to take your SL to the track, the Performance trim’s additional suspension and track-themed upgrades make it the far preferable choice.

How many miles per gallon does the 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL get?

The 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 and SL 63 both get the same EPA fuel economy: 14 mpg city/21 mpg highway/16 mpg combined.

Which 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL trim offers the most safety?

Both trim levels of the 2023 Mercedes SL come nicely equipped with a host of safety systems. For the absolute best safety, we’d add the Driver Assistance Package, which adds even more safety technologies.

Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo is a longtime contributor who started in the industry writing competitive comparison books for a number of manufacturers, before moving on in 2002 to become a freelance automotive journalist. He’s well regarded for his keen eye for detail, as well as his ability to translate complex mechanical terminology into user-friendly explanations. Joe has worked for a number of outlets as... Read More about Joe Tralongo

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