For the 2017 model year, the SL will be offered in four variants: SL450, SL550, AMG SL63, and AMG SL65. Outside of the SL450 — which replaces the SL400 and equips a retuned, 362-horsepower version of its 3.0-liter biturbo V6 — the engine choices remain the same across the board. As a refresher, the SL550’s 4.7-liter biturbo V8 makes 449 horsepower, the AMG SL63’s 5.5-liter biturbo V8 makes 577 horsepower, and the range-topping AMG SL65 makes 621 horsepower from its 6.0-liter biturbo V12.
The way the power is delivered is different for the 2017 model year, however. Gone is the old 7-speed automatic in favor of a new 9-speed, “9G-Tronic” gearbox for non-AMG models, which utilizes Mercedes’ Dynamic Select technology to offer five distinct driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual. The transmission is also much better on gas, as the SL450 and SL550 return 30 mpg and 26 mpg combined, respectively, both of which are increases of around 6 mpg.
AMG variants will use tweaked versions of the 7-speed Speedshift and Speedshift Plus transmissions that are available currently. After all, not just any gearbox can handle the massive amount of torque the high-end models churn out.
As standard, the SL will boast a variety of lavish features including Active Brake Assist (i.e. emergency collision braking), LED headlamps, a Harman Kardon surround sound system, and the semi-autonomous Parking Pilot, which scans for open spots and guides the car in with active steering intervention.
If you’re looking for a more decked-out way to get around town, customers can opt for an exclusive Nappa leather interior, variable Active Body Control suspension, and Mercedes’ Driver Assistance package that includes adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, and more. There’s also a feature called Magic Sky Control, and although it doesn’t control the weather, it changes the vehicle’s panoramic “vario-roof” from dark to transparent in a matter of seconds. Speaking of roofs, the 2017 SL’s top can now be opened or closed at speeds up to 25 mph.
Pricing for the quartet has not been released yet, so expect that information closer to their on-sale date of late spring 2016.