New Mercedes-AMG SL or Lexus LC Convertible: interiors

These muscular drop-tops promise performance and luxury in equal measure. But which of them should you choose?...

New Mercedes-AMG SL dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Both cars have fundamentally sound driving positions, with pedals that line up neatly with the seat and steering wheel, but you can position yourself a little lower behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG SL (which keener drivers might prefer). Combined with a driver's seat that offers fractionally more side support than the flatter one in the Lexus LC Convertible the SL feels more like a traditional sports car. Both cars come with adjustable lumbar support to help avoid back ache on long journeys, but you have more scope for dialling in the optimum level in the SL. 

Once comfortable, you can start to soak in the impressive ambience created by both cars. The SL dazzles with details such as its turbine-style air vents and multi-coloured LED ambient lighting, while the LC takes a more mature approach with its beautifully sculpted doors and classy analogue clock in the middle of the dash. It really is hard to split them for showroom appeal. 

Lexus LC Convertible dashboard

Take a closer look, though, and you'll realise that the LC is significantly better in terms of quality. Everything feels well screwed together and all of the materials are top notch. That's not the case in the SL, which contains a surprising number of panels that are made from hard, cheap-feeling plastics. Our test car's infotainment screen (the angle of which can be adjusted electrically to cut out glare) rattled rather badly, too. 

Another frustration is that you can only open or close the SL's roof via the touchscreen; like unlocking an early iPhone, you have to swipe and hold a screen icon for several seconds – a more distracting process than just flicking the physical button in the LC. 

In terms of visibility, both cars have rather high window lines and thick windscreen pillars, making them a challenge to navigate through a drive-through or squeeze into an angled parking bay. Mercifully, both get front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera, but the SL adds an extra helping hand courtesy of a 360-degree camera. 

Infotainment systems

Mercedes-AMG SL

Mercedes-AMG SL infotainment

An 11.9in, portrait-oriented touchscreen sits close to your left leg, where it’s easy to reach when driving. You can adjust the screen’s angle electrically to avoid glare caused by bright sunlight. That said, the screen isn’t always the quickest to respond to inputs. Standard Burmester audio system includes a whopping 23 speakers and sounds even more impressive than the upgraded, 13-speaker Mark Levinson system (£1000) in the LC.

Lexus LC Convertible

Lexus LC Convertible infotainment

The large, 10.3in screen is stylishly recessed into the dashboard, but it’s controlled primarily via a fiddly touchpad on the centre console that is clumsy to use on the move. Over bumpy roads in particular, it can be very tricky to select the icon you want. At least there are a few shortcut buttons that simplify certain operations, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay phone mirroring is standard, allowing you to bypass Lexus’s unintuitive operating system.

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