2023 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL 43. Photo: CarPro.


2023 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL 43 Convertible Review

Written By: Jerry Reynolds | Apr 16, 2024 9:50:37 AM

Oh boy, I’ve got a head-turner for you today!  Feast your eyes on the stunning all-new 2023 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL 43 convertible, or as the Benz folks say: Roadster.  This vehicle was completely redone for 2023 and is an outstanding combination of luxury and performance.  If you aren’t aware, AMG is the performance division of Mercedes that was started in 1967 as an independent supplier of performance features to automakers but was wholly purchased by Mercedes in 2005.  Also, if you are wondering, the 2024 version is not out yet, hence the fact it is a 2023.


Let’s talk about the beautiful exterior for a minute.  The SL features a long hood and short rear end with all four wheels moved out to the corners. 

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This ragtop has a menacing look from the wide AMG grill in front over LED lights, big air vents and a dual front splitter. 

Moving up, there are two bulges in the hood that look great.  21” black AMG wheels are fantastic and flush door handles pop out when you approach.  From the rear, there is quad exhaust and a retractable spoiler to finish off the muscular looks of the rounder rear end.  The color is Alpine Grey, a shade we’re seeing a lot of these days.

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Under the long hood sits a handmade AMG engine, signed off by the technician that put it together with care.  The SL 43 has a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with an electric assist motor to kill any turbo lag and to enhance low-end power and torque.  This results in an outstanding 375-horses and 354 pound-feet or torque.  This rear-wheel drive ragtop will take you from a dead stop to 60-miles per hour in just a little over 4.5-seconds and will propel you up to 170-miles per hour.  There is a 9-speed multi-clutch transmission that has huge shift paddles anchored to the steering wheel.  Even without using the paddles, this tranny shifts hard and fast with a lot of determination.


Being a Mercedes, you’d expect an outstanding and luxurious interior and this one does not disappoint. My tester has the reddest interior I think I’ve ever seen, and the Benz boys call it Red Pepper, which seems to fit.  The seats are heavily bolstered to keep you in place, yet comfortable. 

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Stitching is abundant on the seats and throughout the Nappa leather interior.  The seats are heated and cooled, power controls including lumbar supports and three memory settings.  It has the Mercedes air scarfs in the headrests that will blow warm air on your neck if the top is down on those cool evenings.  Door panels are beautiful, and aluminum is everywhere, including beautiful speaker grills.

As you sit down, you notice several things.  First, the AMG Performance flat-bottomed steering wheel with controls.  It is thick with leather and has a lot of controls for the 12.3” colorful and highly-configurable gauge cluster.  There are numerous different layouts for the gauges, I chose the Classic look. There is a large, round speedometer and tachometer visible, a digital speed readout, and traffic sign recognition.  Through the windshield, you see a terrific head-up display.

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Also on the steering wheel are two round knobs.  The left allows you to control some of the car’s settings, like turning the exhaust sound on or off, raising or lowering the rear spoiler, turning off the truly annoying start/stop system, chassis settings, and more.  The right knob allows you to change the drive modes from individual, to comfort, to Sport, and finally where I left:  Sport + mode.

Center dash is huge 11.9” screen to operate the infotainment system.  What is really cool about this screen is it is electronically movable.  You can adjust the top to lean back against the dash or move it to a more upright position.  This is particularly helpful when the top is down if there is glare on the screen.



From the screen you operate pretty much everything including the Burmeister sound system, climate control, the convertible top, vehicle controls, Bluetooth, Sirius XM, HD radio, the fantastic 3D navigation system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, ambient lighting, and the 360-degree camera views.  The system has a lot of layers to go through, but you pick it up really quickly, and the system is extremely fast.

Below that a row of miscellaneous buttons for radio volume, to turn off the traction control, get to the screen to lower the convertible top, and more.  Below that is a sliding door that hides two cupholders, a cell phone charger and two USB-C ports.  There is a lot of glass black on the console area that shows a lot of fingerprints, a pet peeve of mine.  There is also a fairly small but soft center console and a soft stationary pad to rest your hand on.

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Moving to the back seat, and I use that term loosely, it is a good place for a briefcase or purse, but not humans of any size.  Consider this a two-passenger.  Trunk space is pretty small at just 7.5 cubic feet, enough for a couple of overnight bags, but some luggage could go in the back seat.

Standard Equipment

As you would expect, the SL 43 comes extremely well-equipped.  As standard features, you get a power tilt wheel, dual-zone climate control, AMG door sills and floor mats, ambient lighting and voice recognition by just saying “hey Mercedes” and giving it all sorts of commands like changing the radio station, changing the temperature, etc.


On the safety front, it has it all.  You get emergency call service, adaptive self-braking assistance, attention assist, blind spot assist, pre-safety system, parktronic self-parking technology, high beam assist, and LED head lights and taillights.


Optional are the $1,750 paint, $750 for interior aluminum trim, $750 AMG Night Package, and the 21” wheels will set you back $2,150.  The Driver Assistance Package is $1,950 and includes everything you need for self-driving, like adaptive cruise control, steering assist, lane-change assist, and speed limit assist.

Ride and Drive 

The SL 43 drives great, the handling and steering are exceptional, and for a convertible it is quiet inside.  The exhaust sound is very pleasing, and overall, this roadster is just very balanced and always composed.  It is a true pleasure to drive, and if you can stay out of Sport + mode, the ride quality is actually quite good.  This car dramatically changes between the drive modes, giving you the ability to have a hot rod when you want it, or a tame daily driver.  Acceleration is outstanding, much better than I expected.

Just a note on the convertible top.  It is all electric, and since it is a soft top, it doesn’t take all the trunk room away like a hardtop convertible does when folded down.  The top goes up or down in just 15 seconds, which is lightning fast, and will operate while driving at speeds up to 37-miles per hour.

Fuel economy is rated at 21 city, 27 highway, and 23 combined.  MSRP as equipped comes in at $120,635 which is actually less than I would have imagined.


So, the question of the day is: Could a died-in-the-wool Car Guy like me, who loves this car, how it drives, and how it looks, live with myself knowing I am driving a 4-cylinder?  Sadly, the answer is no.  HELL NO! is probably more accurate, but that’s just me.  I might be able to go up to the V8 SL 55 with 469-horses, but likely I’d have to go all the way to the SL 63 that has 577-horses.  The good news is if you can settle for the 4-banger, it looks exactly like the bigger engine versions and you can save yourself $41,000 to $73,000 depending on which one of the other models you opt for.

  1. What I liked most:  Ride and handling, the beautiful interior and exterior, the operation of the top.

  2. What I would change: Actually nothing, it’s a sweet ride.

  3. MSRP: Base price $109,900 as equipped $120,635 with transportation.

  4. Fuel Economy:  21 city/27 highway/23 combined.

  5. Odometer reading when tested: 5,100 miles.  
  6. Weight:  3,946 pounds.

  7. Spare Tire:   Repair Kit.
  8. Length-Width-Height:  185.2” long/75.4” wide/53.5” high.
  9. Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gallons with the filler on the passenger side.  

  10. Official Color:  Alpine Grey.
  11. Towing Capacity: N/A.
  12. 2023 SL 43 in a few words:  A great roadster that drives like a dream and will give you a lot of pleasure on the pavement or on the track.

  13. Warranty:  4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance.

  14. Final Assembly Location:  Bremen, Germany.
  15. Manufacturer's website:  Mercedes-Benz