The 2024 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 Roadster is a gorgeous piece of machinery that aims to both live up to the legacy of the SL lineage and inspire more enthusiastic drivers to take note. It has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that makes 469 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, making it far more powerful than the SL 43 which left us rather underwhelmed. Intense performance and great looks push this Merc above its regular competitors, seeing it go up against the Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet and even exotics like the Ferrari Portofino M. This time around, the SL also has small back seats, so is a more practical proposition than before. Despite more agile dynamics, it’s still a Mercedes, so you get all the leather and electric gizmos you can cram into the snug yet comfortable interior. But does it elevate the SL nameplate to new heights?
New for 2024
After launching for the 2022 model year, not much has changed for the SL 55, although it is now the mid-range SL since the less powerful SL 43 has arrived – we review this model separately. The new Mercedes-AMG SL 55 convertible offers some new colors this year, including Manufaktur Exclusive Crystal White for the exterior, black Nappa leather inside, and grey fabric for the soft top.
2024 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 Price: Which One to Buy
Owning a premium roadster requires a substantial outlay, as the price of the 2024 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 is well over six figures. The base Touring model sells for $141,300, while the more athletic Performance sub-trim will cost you an extra $7,300. These are MSRP figures and do not include the $1,150 destination charge.
Considering that you are already spending this kind of money, an extra $7,300 is small potatoes, so you may as well opt for the top-tier Performance spec. This gets you the AMG Active Ride Control suspension and an electronic limited-slip differential, among a few other additions.
Interior and Features
The ultra-modern and premium interior has a 2+2 seating layout and plenty of comfort features, while top-down driving is more comfortable thanks to the Airscarf neck-level heating system.
Mercedes never skimps when it comes to interior quality, but for its top-tier SL-Class, only the best is permitted. Of course, it is all arranged in the most stylish manner possible, with sporty, circular vents on either side of a large, portrait-oriented touchscreen and a recessed digital gauge cluster. The dashboard is otherwise quite clean, and most of the physical controls are found on the steering wheel. There is more space than most convertible lovers would expect, though no adult will want to sit in the second row. Standard features are comprehensive, including massaging front seats, a heated steering wheel, and a surround-view system for drivers to easily keep tabs on their immediate surroundings.
As we’ve said, there is technically enough interior space to fit four people inside the 2024 Merc SL 55. The front seats are spacious and supremely comfortable, with power adjustment, heating, ventilation, and massage functions all included as standard. The second row is less glamorous, with very little legroom, so taller adults won’t want to sit there for long, regardless of how exciting the ride is. Luckily, headroom is seldom an issue since the roof will be down more often than not, making getting in and out much easier. With the roof up, rear headroom is poor. You’ll still have to fold the front seats forward in order to clamber in the back, and the low step-in height takes some getting used to, too.
Mundane tasks like grocery shopping or carting the kids off to soccer practice are not what the SL 55 Roadster was made for, so cargo space is hardly a concern for buyers. Thus, the mere 7.5 cubic feet in the trunk should not disappoint anyone, but it certainly won’t impress them either. The cabin is equally devoid of clever storage spaces, with a couple of small bins in the console, some cupholders, and a glove compartment. However, you can use the rear seats as extra storage space when you aren’t trying to cram people in there.
Materials and Colors
You won’t find any faux leather or low-grade materials of any sort. Nappa leather is standard right from the get-go in black, Sienna Brown/black, Red Pepper/black, and Sage Grey/black. If you upgrade to Exclusive Nappa leather for $1,900, you get a whole new range of interior colors to choose from. These include Tartufo/black, Crystal White/black, and Macchiato Beige/Titanium Grey. This upgraded leather also requires adding the microfiber headliner for a further $1,600.
We could do without the standard interior trim, though, which is Black Piano Laqueur, also known as a fingerprint magnet. Instead, we’d opt for AMG carbon fiber, even though it costs an extra $2,850. For $750, you can also choose aluminum or dark chrome inserts.
The microfiber headliner is available in black, beige, or grey, while there are beige or grey seat belts. The standard steering wheel can be replaced by an AMG Performance one in Nappa leather/microfiber for $500 or in carbon fiber/microfiber for $900.
Features and Infotainment
Not much is left out when you buy a car worth six figures, so you get power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, massaging functions, dual-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, remote start, and keyless entry all as standard. Other standard items include the Airscarf neck-level heating system, hands-free access, and a garage door opener. 800 separate vehicle settings can be personalized, while biometric authentication calls these up so different drivers can quickly get comfortable after someone else has driven the car.
The digital gauge cluster measures 12.3 inches in size, while the infotainment is run through an 11.9-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen. Standard functions include navigation, in-car Wi-Fi, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM, HD Radio, and Bluetooth streaming. The cabin supports a ten-speaker Burmester sound system, but you can upgrade to a 17-speaker 3D surround sound setup. Other upgrades include a head-up display, augmented reality navigation, and an MBUX interior assistant, which can read hand movements to access key features.
Where most convertibles want you to go fast in a straight line with the wind in your hair, the SL 55 begs you to fling it into corners or spend a day at the track.
Under the hood of the Mercedes-AMG SL 55 Roadster is a handcrafted 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine emitting a potent 469 hp and 516 lb-ft. A nine-speed AMG Speedshift automatic transmission always ensures you have the right gear for your needs and shunts power to the all-wheel-drive system. Torque is always easily accessible, which gives you an amazing boost when you put your foot down. With this setup, the Mercedes-AMG SL 55 can accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 3.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 183 mph.
Naturally, the driving experience is like something out of a dream. Unlike many drop-top grand tourers, the SL doesn’t just go insanely fast in a straight line; it has the sort of handling that begs you to play with the car. Since the AWD is rear-biased, you really feel as though you are being launched out of the corners when you tap the throttle, but you also never feel a lack of grip or security. This is despite the fact that the car is insanely heavy. The available AMG Active Ride Control helps to counteract this by resisting lean while also ensuring superb ride comfort. The standard rear-wheel steering also aids agility. When you aren’t carving the corners, the suspension is buttery smooth, and even when you get playful, it does an amazing job of soaking up mid-corner bumps.
As you might expect, the gas mileage of the 2024 AMG SL 55 is poor. This is a heavy and powerful vehicle after all. As such, the best you can expect from the Merc AMG SL 55 is 13/21/16 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. Surprisingly, the more powerful SL 63 is slightly more efficient with city/highway figures of 14/22 mpg. If you want performance without the high fuel bills, the smaller six-cylinder mill in the Porsche 911 is better for the job. A slightly larger fuel tank capacity wouldn’t hurt, as with just 18.5 gallons, the Mercedes needs to pull into a gas station every 296 miles or so.
The majority of Mercedes’ extensive safety systems are included as standard in the SL 55, though it has not been officially crash-tested.
Like so many high-end luxury cars, the Mercedes-AMG SL 55 has no safety review, so it has to rely on the good reputation of the brand to inspire confidence. Oh, and an abundance of standard and available safety tech, of course. Unlike most convertibles, it comes with a staggering ten airbags (including a head airbag for every seating position), along with ABS and electronic stability control. For driver-assistance tech, you get a surround-view camera, active brake assist, crosswind assist, Pre-Safe with sound, blind-spot assist, exit warning, and Parktronic active parking assist. Being a convertible, it also has dual pop-up roll bars. Though this is one of the better setups in the Merc AMG range, you can still add more, such as active steering assist, adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, congestion emergency braking, active lane-keep assist, active lane change assist, and Pre-Safe Plus. These features are all bundled together in a single package.
US NHTSA Crash Test Result
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
Though there is no consumer review-based reliability rating for the Mercedes-AMG SL 55, the car has been subject to a recall for 2024, carrying over from 2022. This seems to have affected most models from the brand and is related to a loss of drive power due to the fuel pump shutting down. The vehicle otherwise has a pretty clean track record. Every new 2024 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 is covered by the automaker’s standard four-year/50,000-mile warranty, which includes roadside assistance.
Few cars in the USA are as drop-dead gorgeous as this German import. There are heavy AMG influences all over, so you won’t need to add any packages like you do with some of the SUVs. As standard, the drop-top gets 20-inch AMG twin-five-spoke wheels, with 21-inch wheels on offer. The front fascia has a wicked grin, with a Panamericana grille sporting vertical slats and a large Tri-Star logo. Framing the grille are two sharply angled LED headlights with daytime running lights around the interior edges. At the back, you get a multi-stage active rear spoiler atop the hands-free power trunk lid, and there are four rectangular exhaust outlets – two on either side of the rear bumper. If you do want a slightly edgier look, the AMG Night Package can add Jet-black accents to many of the exterior parts, such as the front splitter, side sill inserts, and rear diffuser. Alternatively, the Exterior Chrome Package adds shiny chrome bits to the exterior in place of the darker trim pieces.
One of the highlights of the SL is its Z-fold power soft top, which is almost 50 pounds lighter than the previous model’s hardtop. Lowering the roof takes just 15 seconds and can be done at speeds of up to 37 mph.
Verdict: Is The 2024 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 A Good Car?
The SL-Class has officially reclaimed some of its sports car status with the latest-generation AMG SL 55. It no longer just goes fast in a straight line without any air of fun. Instead, it is now a svelte, albeit heavy, roadster that can genuinely offer an exciting driving experience. You’ll still want to show it off as you casually cruise around town, since it remains a painfully beautiful beast, but once you’re out in the open, it can swing around the bends with the likes of its Porsche and Ferrari rivals. It may not be an AMG GT, but it comes pretty darn close, and that boisterous V8 engine sounds amazing when you push the car to its limits. There is almost nothing to complain about here, but if you feel that you need more power, you could consider the SL 63.