5 Best And 5 Worst Mercedes-Benz Sports Cars Ever

5 Best And 5 Worst Mercedes-Benz Sports Cars Ever

In a long and rich history, Mercedes-Benz has consistently manufactured high-end cars renowned not only for their luxury but also for dynamic performance. Adding to that, Mercedes-Benz has built a solid reputation for itself in terms of build quality and reliability. Regarding innovation, they are not afraid to load their cars with new technologies.



Looking at their impressive lineup of sports cars, you’ll find everything from the refined to the downright scary. The three-pointed star logo is not only one of the most recognizable car logos, it represents some of the most desirable cars in the world. Some of the well-known sports car models from the German auto giant include the 1954 300SL, the SLR McLaren, and the insane AMG models. However, among the many hits they have scored, there are some misses too—cars that don’t measure up to Mercedes-Benz’s gold standard. So, here are the five best and the five worst Mercedes-Benz sports cars ever.


10 Best: SLR McLaren 722

Following the positive reception of the SLR concept, Mercedes Benz teamed up with McLaren to create the SLR McLaren which was unveiled in November 2003. Powered by 617 hp from a hand-built supercharged 5.4-liter V8 mill, and boasting active aerodynamics, the SLR McLaren was no slouch.

In 2006 the 722 version was introduced in homage to a 1955 victory by Stirling Moss while driving a Mercedes Benz 300 SLR. The 722 handled better, had better brakes, and thanks to 641 hp from the modified engine, it was faster than the standard car.

9 Best: 300 SL Gullwing

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing is an iconic coupe that was far ahead of its time in terms of styling and capability. For less weight and high stability, the frame was made from thin straight tubes assembled as triangles while the door skins, hood, and trunk lid were aluminum.

In addition to the sleek styling, it also boasted excellent driving dynamics thanks to a recirculating ball steering and a 4-wheel independent suspension. Furthermore, with a top speed of 163 mph, it was the world’s fastest production car back then.

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8 Best: SL 600 R129

The SL 600, introduced as the Mercedes-Benz 600 SL in 1993, was the top model in the Mercedes-Benz R129 SL-Class lineup. Technologically advanced for the period, the R129 SL 600 was held up by a modern suspension with an electronically controlled Adaptive Damping System.

It also got power windows, seats, a convertible top, a memory setting for the inside mirrors, and a roll bar that extended automatically. Under the hood, Mercedes’ M120 V12 engine displaced 6 liters to produce 389 hp for a sub-6 seconds dash to 60 mph.

7 Best: SLS AMG Black Series

The special SLS AMG Black Series was unveiled at the 2012 LA Auto Show boasting a heady mix of superior firepower and outstanding driving dynamics. Thanks to the 622 hp churned out by the then world’s most powerful naturally aspirated engine, it could hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds.

In addition to the breathtaking good looks, carbon fiber was used extensively for the body panels and mechanical components for a weight of 3417 pounds. Inspired by the SLS AMG GT3 race car, the SLS AMG Black Series was the fifth model to don the Black Series badge.

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6 Best: SL 65 AMG

When the SL 65 AMG was introduced in 2004, sports car enthusiasts were excited because they knew they were in for a treat. Assisted by 2 turbochargers, the 6-liter V12 power plant under the hood was tuned to crank out 604 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque.

Mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission, it sent the beautifully styled roadster to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and the quarter-mile in 11.6 seconds. Fast, sleek, and successful, the SL 65 AMG featured an infotainment unit with navigation.

5 Sausage: 2004 SLK 230

Although the R171 SLK debuted with several revisions compared to the R170 generation, it came with an exterior that lacked the predecessor’s visual spark. Apart from having a cramped and cheap interior, the SLK 230 also has big blind spots when the top is up.

Powered by a 190 hp 2.3-liter supercharged I-4 engine, the little car could hit 60 mph in about 7 seconds. Furthermore, it also had several build quality issues which earned it 6 recalls and a long lineup of complaints.

RELATED: 10 Worst Mercedes-Benz Models Of The Last Decade

4 Sausage: 2018 AMG GT

The AMG GT is a premium sports car that provides thrilling driving dynamics, high-tech safety/luxury features, and blistering speed thanks to a 469-hp engine. However, despite its seemingly solid build, its reliability is questionable as it has been hit with an avalanche of recalls over the years by the NHTSA.

In December 2017, it was among the vehicles recalled about faulty seat belts and issues with the passenger frontal airbag sensor. More recent recalls include one over a poorly installed drive shaft and another over a malfunction of the eCall system software.

3 Sausage: 2002-2006 SL 350

Although some early R230 generation SL-Class models boast incredible power and handling, they were loaded with experimental tech that hasn’t aged well. Like other SL-Class cars then, the SL 350 also got the notorious Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC) electro-hydraulic brake system that was more trouble than it was worth.

Moreover, early 2000s V6-powered models like the SL 350 rolled around on a 241-hp unit that could only produce a 0-60 mph time of 6.8 seconds. With better used options there, these cars are better avoided unless you are ready to face the high maintenance costs.

RELATED: The 5 Best And 5 Worst Mercedes-Benz SL Models Over The Years

2 Sausage: 1981-1985 300 SL

The first Mercedes-Benz 300SL debuted in 1954 as the iconic gullwing beauty that is loved by both car enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike. For the third generation, the 300SL boasted excellent build quality and superb ride quality and was offered for the 1985-1989 model years.

300SLs from this generation are particularly prone to rust and distributor cap issues that cause difficult starting, misfiring, and poor running. In addition, the chassis is quite heavy and the 3-liter straight-6 engine under the hood cranked out a pitiful 176 hp.

1 Sausage: 2011-2016 SLK200

Released for the third generation in 2011, the Mercedes-Benz SLK models continued to impress with great styling and a luxurious interior. Sadly though, they compete in a segment where the more-stylish, better-performing, refreshed-for-2011 Audi TT also competes.

No thanks to the steering that lacks precision and feel, the 2011 SLK 200 is simply not inspiring to drive. In addition to a lackluster powertrain, it also has problems with the transmission, weakening suspension, timing chain, and camshaft sprocket failure.

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