Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

2010 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Review

Air Luxe

A three-quarter front view of a 2011 Mercedes-Benz SL550

In short: A magnificent sporty cabriolet.

This refined roadster gives drivers the best of both worlds with its unmatched mixture of sports performance and passenger-pleasing comfort. Providing smooth handling and shifting, responsive steering and, of course, plenty of luxury accoutrements like Mercedes' advanced Airscarf heating system, the SL550 is built for high-class, high-performance fun—and it's totally gorgeous.

On the road, we appreciated the solid and safe feel that this well-crafted convertible has to offer. We especially enjoyed the driver-adaptive 7-speed automatic transmission with C-S-M (Comfort-Sport-Manual), which almost gives the SL550 the feeling of three cars in one. The Comfort mode allows for effortless cruising around town; however, we found it fun to occassionally spice things up with Sport mode. For the greatest amount of driver control, try Manual mode, which comes as close to manual transmission as you can get without actually driving stick. This cool convertible can be driven as a daily driver, but has limitations for weekend trips or escapes to the golf course due to its limited cargo space. Nonetheless, we found the SL550 to be a blast, and were sad to see our tester go.

Warranty/Service: 4-year/50,000-mile new vehicle warranty; 4-year/50,000-mile drivetrain warranty; 4-year/50,000-mile corrosion warranty; 24-hour roadside assistance program

Base Price: $102,600 / As tested: $114,175

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, rear-wheel drive, 2-passenger, 2-door convertible

Engine: 5.5-liter V8
Horsepower: 382 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 391 lb-ft @ 2,800-4,800 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed electronic touch shift automatic

Curb weight:
4,220 lbs
Wheelbase: 100.8 in
Length/Width/Height: 180.4/81.4/51.1 in
Turning circle: 36.2 ft

ventilated front brakes; single-piston floating rear brakes; ABS; brake assist
Suspension: independent 4-link front suspension; independent 5-arm multi-link rear-suspension

Traction: electronic stability program with automatic slip reduction; active body control

0-60 mph: 5.3 seconds
Top Speed: 157 mph (electronically limited)

EPA City:
14 mpg
EPA Highway: 21 mpg

2-stage dual front airbags; head-thorax side impact airbags; driver's knee airbag; automatic pop-up rollover bar

Likes: build; performance; style; somewhat roomy trunk

Dislikes: small cabin; electronics control interface


Check out other Mercedes-Benz models
See all of our Automobile Reviews
Visit the Mercedes-Benz website

Photography: AlphaMedia

PNW073010 (Updated 08/05/10 NW)