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New Mercedes SL facelift priced from £74k

Mercedes’ two-seat convertible has been given a refresh, with new styling and tweaked engines

The 2016 Mercedes SL will cost from £73,805 when it goes on sale in April, representing a slight increase over the current car.

The price increase is justified through a raft of improvements to the car's specifications, such as a new nine-speed automatic gearbox replacing the old seven-speed unit on the SL 400 and SL 500 models and Apple CarPlay technology fitted as standard.

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Mercedes SL design

The most significant change made to the Mercedes SL is the way it looks. The front end gets a restyled grille similar to the one on the Mercedes-AMG GT supercar, with larger air intakes and Mercedes’ latest LED headlamps. There are also sharper, redesigned LED rear lights.

All models come with AMG styling, which means a more aggressive look all-round, while there are one or two new colours (blue and grey) available, along with some new alloy wheel designs. All alloy wheels available on the SL are at least 19 inches in size, while the AMG versions give you a choice of six new designs.

Interior

Changes to the facelifted SL are less noticeable inside. It features the same centre console layout, but there’s now a greater choice of leather and trim finishes available and a sportier instrument cluster. Mercedes’ latest COMAND infotainment system is installed, albeit set into the dashboard instead of in the tablet-style unit seen in some other current Mercedes.

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The SL’s folding metal roof – known as a ‘Vario’ roof – can now be operated at speeds of up to 25mph and there’s also an automatic boot separator that allows more or less space depending on whether you want the roof up or down. The roof’s glass section also dims automatically depending on the weather conditions - this is called Magic Sky Control.

Engines, drive and performance

The updated Mercedes SL range consists of the ‘entry-level’ SL 400, which is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 and produces 362bhp, the SL 500 with a 4.7-litre V8 and 449bhp and two Mercedes-AMG models: the SL 63 and SL 65.

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There’s a new nine-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic gearbox with Dynamic Select. The latter changes how the car responds by selecting from a range of preferences in relation to the steering, suspension, engine and transmission.

Technology

As you’d expect from a new Mercedes, there’s plenty of advanced technology available for the SL, both as standard and from the options list.

Apple CarPlay is a headline feature, while upgraded stereo systems from Harmon Kardon and Bang & Olufsen are available as options. Mercedes’ Active Body Control, which features on the larger S-Class Coupe, is standard. It aims to counteract any body lean the car produces when being driven around corners.

There’s also an array of extra safety technology in the new SL, including connectivity services similar to Vauxhall’s OnStar service, which provide assistance from an emergency call centre if you break down, have a crash or otherwise need rescuing.

Mercedes-AMG SL 63 and SL 65

The higher-performance Mercedes-AMG SL 63 and SL 65 models have also been treated to a facelift, with similar styling tweaks as the rest of the range, albeit slightly more aggressive to suit these cars’ sporting pretentions. Heated leather seats are standard across the range, as is a flat-bottomed steering wheel with gearshift paddles. There’s also plenty of carbon-fibre trim around the cabin.

Changes to the AMG models include some weight saving, a new electromechanical speed-sensitive power-steering system, a tweaked seven-speed automatic transmission, Mercedes’ Dynamic Select driving modes and Active Body Control.

Power from the SL 63 has been boosted to 578bhp, while the twin-turbo V12 SL 65 sees its output increase to 621bhp.

New Mercedes SL prices

EngineModelGearboxCO2On the road price
SL 400AMG Line9-sp automatic175g/km£73,805
SL 500AMG Line9-sp automatic205g/km£82,850
Mercedes-AMG SL 63 7-sp automatic234g/km£114,100
Mercedes-AMG SL 65 7-sp automatic279g/km£173,295
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