Whichever model you choose, and whether you prefer top-down or top-up, the 2006 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class promises to provide you with an all-around unbeatable driving experience. The SL-Class has seen a variety of upgrades and redesigns over the decades. The current generation offers two convertible roadsters: the SL500 and the SL600. For drivers interested in a more athletically minded vehicle, Mercedes also offers the supercharged SL55 AMG and SL65 AMG. All models boast a folding hardtop for the added benefit of open-air cruising.
The Mercedes-Benz SL entered the market in the mid-1950s with the 300SL ""Gullwing"" coupe, so called for its upward-swinging doors. The 300SL marks the first fuel-injection vehicle to be sold in the United States. With proper axle gearing, its 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine can reach 160 mph—a considerable amount of power for any car of its time. The current SL-Class lineup continues to lead the pack not only in terms of engine power, but also in terms of performance, luxury, and safety. The only significant imperfection concerns the COMAND system, which only makes operating the navigation and audio systems more complicated.
Body styles: two-door convertible
Engines: 5.0-liter V-8 (SL500), 5.5-liter V-12 (SL600), 5.4-liter V-8 (SL55 AMG), 6.0-liter V-12 (SL65 AMG)
Transmissions: five-speed automatic overdrive, seven-speed automatic overdrive
Models: SL500, SL600, SL55 AMG, SL65 AMG
Mercedes adds a number of new features to the 2006 SL roadster, while some current equipment gets an upgrade or reorganization. The SL600 now includes standard corner-illuminating fog lights, a heated steering wheel, and Keyless Go, although it loses its integrated telephone. Run-flat tires are available for all models, and Sirius Satellite Radio comes as a no-cost option. New 18-inch double-spoke wheels join the optional AMG sport package.
The 2006 SL-Class has a sleek, wide build that cuts a classic yet impressive profile. This luxurious roadster offers all the security and comfort of a traditional coupe. For some breezier touring, all it takes is the push of a button for the hardtop to slide back under the rear deck lid.
Standard exterior equipment for all models includes HID headlights, a power trunk lid, alloy wheels, and a wind deflector for the convertible. Power windows come on all trim levels, as well as heated, electrochromic exterior mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, and a rear window on the convertible. Run-flat tires remain optional for all models.
The 2006 SL-Class offers all the fine interior dressings and accessories found in all Mercedes-Benz luxury vehicles, such as fine leather upholstery, real wood trim, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, and power front seats. Additional standard equipment ranges from cargo area tie-downs to a navigational aid and trip computer. Unfortunately, the complex COMAND interface, which controls audio as well as the navigation system, proves to be rather difficult to use.
With the SL convertible’s hardtop up, this luxury roadster provides a comfortable, secure cabin that compares well to any traditional coupe. Top-down, the SL serves as a fun-loving roadster with all the creature comforts you could desire, not to mention all the benefits of the open air.
Performance & Handling
In the entry-level SL500, a sturdy V-8 provides 302 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque. The SL600 takes a major step up in terms of power, with a twin-turbocharged V-12 that leaps to 60 mph in only 4.5 seconds, thanks to its outstanding 493 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, the SL does not offer a manual gearbox, although the standard seven-speed automatic transmission in the SL500 provides smooth and thoughtful manual-style shifting.
This broad, low-slung roadster experiences almost no rolling and provides wonderful grip; you can feel free to pull this car around any series of twists and turns without having to worry about control. The electronically controlled brakes may feel rather sensitive in the beginning, however. Overall, the 2006 SL-Class allows for much more precision and style than older models. The SL500 offers a sturdy, enjoyable driving experience, although buyers looking for a more athletic convertible will prefer either the souped-up SL600 or one of the AMG sport trims.
The 2006 SL-Class comes equipped with many of the standard Mercedes-Benz offerings, including traction control, stability control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, an engine immobilizer, and a remote anti-theft alarm system. Front side airbags with head protection come standard in all models, though the convertible model does not offer side curtain airbags or second-row side airbags. However, The SL does contain a pop-up roll bar that automatically deploys if an imminent rollover is sensed. The SL marks the first car from Mercedes-Benz to include electronic braking, which reacts much faster than conventional hydraulic brakes do.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mercedes-Benz SL500: 14/22 mpg city/highway
Mercedes-Benz SL600: 11/18 mpg city/highway
Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG: 12/19 mpg city/highway
Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG: 12/18 mpg city/highway
- Sleek, sexy profile
- Top-notch performance and handling
- Quick-folding hardtop
You Won't Like
- Limited cargo room
- Heavy compared to other sports cars
- Complicated COMAND system
A luxury drop-top coupe with unbeatable technological offerings.
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