Used Mercedes SL 2012-present review

Category: Sports car

Section: Advice for buyers

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Mercedes SL boot
  • Mercedes SL front corner 2012-present
  • Mercedes SL interior
  • Mercedes SL boot
  • Mercedes SL panning
  • Mercedes SL rear corner
  • Mercedes SL suspension button
  • Mercedes SL rear storage
  • Mercedes SL front corner 2012-present
  • Mercedes SL interior
  • Mercedes SL boot
  • Mercedes SL panning
  • Mercedes SL rear corner
  • Mercedes SL suspension button
  • Mercedes SL rear storage
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Advice for buyers

What should I look for in a used Mercedes SL-Class sports?

Being an open-top car, you ought to check for water leaks. A quick trip to the local car wash can see to testing out the various seals to make sure they're still keeping out water.

Some SLs may have been fitted with the optional active body control (ABC) suspension system, which does an excellent job of reducing body roll in corners. However, it only does so when it's working, and you may find in years to come that – much like some older Mercedes models (including the CL) with it fitted – it'll cost a fortune to put right again. For peace of mind and for the benefit of your wallet, it might be better to find a car with the standard adaptive set-up instead. 

Mercedes SL boot

What are the most common problems with a used Mercedes SL-Class sports?

Air-con refrigerant

Certain examples made between 1 November 2012 and 31 October 2013 may have had the air-con system filled with refrigerant that doesn't meet the legal standard. Find out is your SL is one of those affected because it'll need to have the whole system adapted by a Mercedes dealer to accept a different refrigerant type.

Rear suspension mounting

A small number of SLs built between 26 March and 2 May 2019 could have a major issue with the rear suspension mounting, that if found to be faulty by a Mercedes technician, is irreparable. Speak with your local dealer to find out if yours is one of those affected.

Passenger door lock

The left or passenger side door lock could remain locked, even when the central locking is operated. It applies to SLs manufactured from 1 October 2017 until 30 April 2018, and if yours is affected, it'll need to have the lock replaced to solve the problem.

Passenger airbag

The passenger airbag might not have been sewn up correctly at the factory and this could have an impact on its effectiveness in a collision. This recall affects to models constructed from 1 March to 30 November 2018 and those that do have this issue will need to have the airbag replaced. 

 

Mercedes SL suspension button

Is a used Mercedes SL-Class sports reliable?

The SL is quite an exclusive car, so there wan't enough data available to include it as an individual model. However, Mercedes as a brand doesn't have the best reputation for reliability and only came in 24th out of 31 car manufacturers; a worse result than chief rival BMW.

If you want to read more results from our Reliability Survey, click here.

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Mercedes SL rear storage