Nestled in the new Mercedes SL, you’re seated so far from your passenger that it’s hard to believe this is a two-seat roadster at all. In terms of lateral cabin space, the SL is more like a limo. It’s even wider this time around, having grown by 57mm in girth, and provides acres of elbow and shoulder room.
Nevertheless, a pair of seats is all you get. The cabin, however, provides lots of room for two occupants, and not just in terms of occupant space. There’s a large storage cubby at the base of the centre stack, a roomy armrest cubby, a third covered cubby behind that and a lockable box immediately behind the passenger seat that is large enough to keep your valuables secure with the roof down.
The new SL’s door pockets are extra-long (a consequence of the bass speakers for the audio system migrating to the footwells), and you can afford to sacrifice some legroom to accommodate soft bags behind the seats should the car’s boot capacity come up a bit short. But with 504 litres of space back there at a maximum, and room enough for a couple of travel cases even with the roof down, we’d say it’s unlikely to.
A few testers found some of the styling a little flashy – the ‘SL’-branded gear selector, for example, lacks the classy reserve that has characterised this car in the past. The luxuriant cabin materials and flawless fit and finish are impressive, even by Mercedes’ standards. You get plenty of equipment as well with both the SL 400 and SL 500 coming fitted with an AMG Line trim, while the AMG models get their own equipment list.
The entry-level SL 400 gets 17in alloy wheels, electrically folding and badge projecting wing mirrors, sports suspension, an aggressive bodykit, LED headlights and a panoramic sunroof on the outside, while the SL 500 gains 19in alloys. Inside both get dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, electrically adjustable sports seats and a wind deflector, all as standard.
Upgrade to the AMG 5.5-litre V8 SL 63 and you'll find a beefy bodykit, a limited slip differential, sports suspension with active body control, a rorty exhaust system and heated front seats, while the V12 SL 65 behemoth benefits from rolling on 19s on the front and 20s on the rear, a front splitter, a carbonfibre bonnet, ventilated seats and a Bang & Olufsen audio system, alongside Mercedes' Driver's Assistance pack which includes active blind spot, rear-collision and lane assist, adaptive cruise control and autonomous braking. All this safety features are available on the AMG Line trimmed SLs and the SL 63 for an additional £1695.