Photo Comparison: BMW 6 Series Cabrio vs. Mercedes-Benz SL

6-series | November 18th, 2010 by 35
bmw 6 series vs mercedes sl 01 750x500

Earlier today, BMW unveiled their latest, newest and updated 6 Series Convertible. Competing for the same high end market as the Mercedes-Benz SL, the new …

Earlier today, BMW unveiled their latest, newest and updated 6 Series Convertible. Competing for the same high end market as the Mercedes-Benz SL, the new 6er brings a new design language at the table, as previewed earlier this year with the Gran Coupe Concept and more recently, the 6 Series Coupe Concept.

The new 2012 6 Series Convertible has the alure of an athelete, combined with svetlness, classic looks and the 6 Series shark nose. The high-end cabriolet sports a sweeping hood surrounded by a muscular profile. Like the lines projecting outward from the nose of the car and continuing along its full length, the harmoniously curved surfaces of the body take their cue from the movement of waves sent out by a the bow of a motor boat piercing the water.

bmw 6 series vs mercedes sl 655x674Inside, the expected level of luxury, yet retaining the sportiness of BMW cabin design. Driver oriented dashboard, lots of new technology and gadgets, take the interior design to a new level.
High-quality materials and meticulously formed surfaces combine to produce an ambience defined by luxury, sweeping style and Teutonic functionality.

bmw 6 series vs mercedes sl 04 655x859

Mercedes-Benz SL has been considered a direct competitor to the 6 Series ever since BMW introduced their high-end convertible into the market. The SL received a face lift in 2008 featuring a new front end that evokes the classic 300SL with a large grille featuring a prominent 3-pointed star and twin “power domes” on the hood; the car also features new headlights with an optional “Intelligent Light System” and a new speed sensitive steering system.

Car and Drive describe the facelift as having “effective styling changes” which include a “new single-bar grille that evokes most of its SL forebears, flanked by L-shaped headlamps that evoke none of them.” The SL features a new deeply sculpted side scoops and a protruding nose mark a revolutionary departure from the conservative styling found on the previous generation SL.


At the rear-end, the SL brings a more sporty angle.

With the facelift, the interior has been also improved with better seats, a new-look three-spoke leather steering wheel, and a completely restyled instrument cluster. In terms of materials, there are two types of leather to choose from, as well as five different aluminum or fine-wood trims and five color combinations.

For the latest model year, Mercedes reduced the offerings from two non-AMG models to just one, ditching the SL600 in the U.S. market.


As with any new BMW model, we decided to put together a photo comparison showcasing the two vehicles from different angles. To stay completely unbiased and fair, we will refrain from drawing any conclusions, but feel free to share your thoughts in the comments box below.

35 responses to “Photo Comparison: BMW 6 Series Cabrio vs. Mercedes-Benz SL”

  1. michael says:

    BMW is working with AMG now? ;)

    “For the latest model year, BMW reduced the offerings from two non-AMG models to just one, ditching the SL600 in the U.S. market.”

  2. Bryce says:

    Recently I’ve been impressed with the looks of the Mercedes… but BMW wins this one easy. The rear of the SL looks outdated, the front of the SL has the goofiest shaped headlights in the world, and the interior of the SL is not nearly as elegant as the 6. Way to go BMW.

  3. XC says:

    Gee, I know that the SL has been around for some time, but this new 6er is way better looking; it even makes the merc look quite boxy and outdated.

  4. Dick says:

    SL blows away the 6 series which looks like a reatarded catfish lol.

    • X5SoB says:

      You picked a good name for yourself…

    • Br says:

      The new 6 is not THAT bad, but BMW are going too conservative. I found that BMWs nowadays(of the new generation) look better, sometimes, only look good in darker colour. The 7,5,6 and especially the 5GT. The new 6 series is not bad, it looks quite good at the front, but i think they should use LED lights for the turning lights as well. BMW just focus too much on cost cutting. BMW won’t lose a million dollars because of this. Also, they signed B&O for the 6 series but not for the 7, while 5 GT has more ambient lights and a better interior than the 7; the 5, 6 and 5GT all have the luxurious equipment of the 7, holy moly!! They even put a pair of crappy exaust pipes on 730d or Li in order to let others distinguish that it is the cheapest 7. Would customers want others to know that they are drving 730 but no 750? The mercedes S300 looks the same as S500 on the outside. Comfort seats are not optional, actually, the main difference between the 7 and the 5 series is that more leather is used in the 7. Also, the S Class had seat adjustments at the back more than then years ago, but frr the seven? You have to pay extra and, only for four seaters!! Total failure!! The current(not to say the upcoming LS) Lexus is much better than the 7 in terms of equipment inside, most of them are standardised! Don’t understand why don’t they go for the designs and lines exactly of the CS concept. Hope that the grancoupe and vision won’t be that crappy anymore. Audi is improving so much, merc is getting more luxurious, lexus is trying to copy from other brands, jaguar is improving, BMW? Hope that it knows what to do cause others’ improving while you are!

  5. Laszlo says:

    Well this was a tough one. The SL looked so much better then the bangled 6er it was a ridiculous comparo up until now. The SL’s face-lift is a bad one. The original 2003-2007 version looks so much better. The front end got butchered completely, so it looses to the fresh new BMW.
    The only trouble with this win is a fresh guy wins against the veteran here. The MB is 9 years old (2003-2011) and ready for a new updated version in a year or so.
    The BMW looks cleaner, fresher, and more up to date, but it actually is fresher and more up to date. If we can predict what the new SL will look like (think SLS) then it will be a hard core race again.

    BMW finally on the good track, bangle is ditched, no more bungled up cars. The E61/E62 remains to be one of the goofiest car on the market. Excellent driving experience but less then mediocre exterior and completely horrible rear end.
    The convertible was even worse then the coupe and no designer could ever fix it. AC Schnitzer did an awesome job with the Tension, made is look exciting but still a far cry from the current version.

    so yes BMW wins, but do the same picture comparison with a new SL in about a year or so and then we can decide who really is the king of luxo-coupe/convertibles.

    I still say the R8 beats both hands down, but that car is actually a level higher so not a fair comparo…

  6. Heddlu_Cymru M5 says:

    In my opinion, the SL looks… Boring. The 6er now looks much better and more stylish.

  7. plaxico says:

    SL is just unbeatable.Ppl buy Merc SL for all the obvious reasons, top quality, supreme engineering and Mercs race history.

    When ur buying a bimmer ur always buying a cat in a bag, u never know what s gonna happened , maybe ur gonna be fine but uv got 60 percent chance of zillion problems broke engine, replacing the turbos (wastegate rattle), HPFP, leaking AT gasket and the battery, the convertible top may not lower because a sensor in the rear window may not be reporting that the window is down , the electronic steering lock warning light may illuminate and/or the vehicle will not start if battery was low when starting, night vision display malfunctions due to wiring harness damage near headlights, the lens for the center high-mounted stop lamp (CHMSL) may crack at the sides, he right side valve cover or oil filler cap on the V8 may break in cold weather due to ice buildup in the vent hose or valve etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc

    Best or nothing!

    • wazon8 says:

      Your description fits much better to MB. It’s BMW which was awarded by ADAC for being most reliable brand. It’s BMW which keeps high resale value. Not MB. Man, buy finally MB you dream about and you’ll learn how empty your claims about top quality and high engineering are. It’s MB which confessed few years ago that they indeed neglected quality of their cars and that they promise to fix this problem with future cars! And what we got. Still rosty M-class. It’s surely better, since E, C and S class were rosty in past eighter. Only in October, MB recalled M, GL, E and R-class because of fuel leaks which can made roads slippery and recalled C and E-class because of loss of power steering fluid. Both problems are dangerous for drivers and you’re throwing craps about malfunction of windows, night vision and so on. Malfunction nearly not reported. Man, if that is high quality in your dictionary, then no wonder that you’re so excited about MB. I even won’t start to talk about engineering, but you should think about MB’s ability to transfer the power from fly wheel to wheels.

      • XC says:

        I think that what happens here is that this guy plaxico has never owned a car.

        UNLIKE you, I know a thing or two about cars, including working for the auto industry. I know guys from any premium dealer you name, I have long time friends that have worked for several brands. I’ve come to know problems for every car, even ‘holy’ Bentleys and Ferraris. THE POINT IS, it all sums up in the line of cars waiting outside of the dealer for service any given MONDAY… and you reeeally have to see how MB garage lines are on a Monday morning… Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. (Chinese adage)

  8. Lariv says:

    I would have thought the 6 Series would have been the better looking car but after seeing the official pictures I would buy an SL, even with the slightly odd face. It’s amazing how wonky and heavy the 6 Series Convertible looks wiithout the roof.

  9. pimeto says:

    Lol, the 6er interior is supreme! Its awesome, i cant believe how BMW managed to keep their style and lines and yet make it “from the future”! Great job!
    Sory but the Merc is ….outdated… wtf is with the fans in the seats, how ugly is that – like a PC case mod…lol

  10. Dejanbl says:

    BMW is better than Mercedes and there is no discussion.

  11. X5SoB says:

    Telly, the more appropriate comparo would be the E-Class cabrio, since it has four seats. The E-Class would give a much stronger accounting for itself than the 9 year old SL, but I would still favor the 6. But I’m biased and brand loyal, just like plaxico and viper. Well, maybe not viper…

  12. X5SoB says:

    Telly?! That was supposed to be Really. This iPad thinks it’s smarter than me.

  13. Babken says:

    Though I’m a BMW fan, I have to admit that compared to the new SL the new 6 Series looks a car from 1970s. In EVERYTHING starting from looks and ending with interior. The SL wins for me.

    • XC says:

      Why you always start your comments with: “Though I’m a BMW fan, …”

      I think you are not.

      • wazon8 says:

        Hahaha, most of “Babken’s” comments when someone other used his nick here started from “Though I’m a BMW fan…”. All these sound really familiar to my ears.

        Anyway, saying that SL’s interior is better is close to unintelligible to me. Ergonomics of SL’s interior is poor. When will they stop putting so many controls on central panel?! Style?! Well, I find 6-er’s interior really appealing, contrary to SL’s interior which is clearly outdated and numbers of clues have been stolen by cheap car makers and that makes this car looking only worse. As for exterior design, it’s really hard to imagine how one could find rear end of SL looking better, this part of design actually killed the whole car. It something it shares with all MBs from the very begging of XXI century. The best part of SL is its front end, although I still prefer 6-er’s front end, headlights of which are the weakest of point of design of new 6-er.

        • JakeM says:

          @ Wazon

          Um, the SL cockpit is one of the most ergonomical interiors I’ve ever experienced. EVERYTHING FITS PERFECTLY. Design-wise, it’s silly to call something “outdated”. The new 6er interior is NOTHING to write home about from a styling point of view in my opinion. Sure, it looks nice, but it’s also rather BORING and CONSERVATIVE – two design traits which also can be used to describe the SL interior. People in this class don’t want flashiness – they want understatement. Both cockpits deliver on that promise.

          And your claim:

          “umbers of clues have been stolen by cheap car makers and that makes this car looking only worse”

          Is utterly HILARIOUS at best. So which cheaper automakers does MB emulate with their cockpit design here? How about some factual names instead of plain old BMW fanboysim. Your extreme BMW-bias is well known here by the way.

          • plaxico says:

            right on man!cheers

          • wazon8 says:

            Yes, the measure of how outdated interior in premium car is how much cheap cars makers stole from it. If you find 10 years old interior appealing, good for you. I need something fresher. It’s not fanboyism to dislike some kind of designs. It’s a matter of taste. Something is nice for you or not. Man, your aesthetic beliefs are hardly influenced by your opinions about cars in general. It’s as if someone claim that some girls are not physically attractive, just because they’re stupid. And it’s surely not what I do here. I only report my assessment of SL interior and can freely disagree with it. I found this car to be really nice machine, but it was the case up to 5 years ago. Similarly, I found e39 to be really beauty car, when it was launched and right now it’s one of these BMWs that happened to get really outdated. I prefer e34 and e60 over it all the way. Similar story goes for first MB CLS, which was really nice when was launched and became not impressive recently, especially its rear end. It reveals some kind of sensitivity of aesthetic judgments concerning cars’ designs to historical context or rather to comapision class to which belong cars that are past and present relative to assessed car. If you don’t find your judgments to be sensitive in this way, good for you. I find significant number of my past judgments sensitive in this way. And really hard to call it fanboyism.

            As for ergonomics: whether you find SL’s interior to be ergonomical, perhaps depends on what you used to. I don’t find most of MB’s interior ergonomical, just because they put some many controls on central panel. It happens to all recent models. BMW on the other hand try to reduce this number as far as it’s possible and that’s what is much more ergonomical. Just compare dashboards made by both brands.

      • Babken says:

        I am. But I always accept facts where it’s due. Just look at interior of both cars. And if you can say that the 6 Series comes even close to the SL in terms of luxury and ergonomics then you’re just a mere dreamer.

  14. This isn’t a fair comparison, these cars are in two different categories. The MB counterpart to the 6 Series is the CL Class, even though it’s dimensions are slightly larger and it has a higher price tag. The SL is a full body roadster with no BMW car in its class to compete, just like how MB has no adequate competition for the 1 Series.

  15. Ed says:

    The SL has been around for ages. It has always sold well, it will always sell well. There have been a few competitors that were ready to knock it off its perch. Think Cadillac(s) Allante and XLR, Lexus SC430, BMW Z8, BMW (bloated non-E24) 6 series. You know how it will end, the SL will continue to be the king of luxury convertible cruisers. Always has been, always will be. Sorry to say it because I love BMWs but you have to give MB credit where its due.

    • JakeM says:

      The Cadillac Allante was never a threat to the Mercedes SL in terms of qualities, and neither was the Lexus SC430.

      The Allante was a poorly-engineered FWD car with zero sporting aspirations. It was incredibly overrated for its time – and still is. It’s only blessing was that it was designed by Pininfarina and looked halfway interesting. That’s it.

      I’ve driven the SC430 from Lexus. I wasn’t impressed. The engine was smooth and silent but that’s about it. From a driving point of view it was neither comfortable nor sporty. It felt totally bland and emotionless from a driving perspective. Boring.

      The SL always offered a noticeable blend of sport and comfort and interesting design. I admit that I prefer the pre-facelift versions of the current SL, though, but it’s still a great car.

  16. Robert Hellebush says:

    I owned a BMW 740iL and was very fond of it When I was ready to move up, I looked at the 6 but decided on an SL600 which I’ve owned for several years now and couldn’t be happier!

    I’ve also owned a Jag XKR… still no comparison to the SL… One man’s opinion.

  17. Daniel Hoang says:

    Ill take the 6 series just because of the extra 2 seats. The SL along many of the Benz cars from the early 2000s has the nicer looking exterior and interior.

  18. we are the best BMW 6 series
    BMW motor sport for me because it means to say.
    will remain so forever
    I like you BMW ,,I love you BMW

  19. Raymond says:

    As a person who has had a 2006 SL55 and just traded for a 2010 SL 550.. To me the sl wins.. the interior is very comfortable, with heated and a/c seats, and the many lumbar and massage modes work very well.. my wife has the 6 series and it rides rougher, and has a very anoying navigation system.. You have to be able to drive both to compare..

  20. akshat says:

    hey you can check out there u can compare and can conclude which 1 is better

  21. BMW 6 Series Cabrio vs. Mercedes-Benz SL – why some car news papers compare 6-sersies to Mercedes CL, and sometimes to SL?? Wtf?

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