2020 Mercedes SL vs. 2019 Chevrolet Corvette

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/20

The SL’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Corvette doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The SL has standard NECK-PRO Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the NECK-PRO Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Corvette doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The SL has a standard Active Brake Assist, which uses forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Corvette doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the SL helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Corvette doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The SL’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Corvette doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The SL’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them and moves the vehicle back into its lane. The Corvette doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

The SL’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Corvette doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the SL and the Corvette have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

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The SL comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Corvette’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The SL’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Corvette’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

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For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the SL have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the engines in the Corvette.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 6 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the SL gets better fuel mileage than the Corvette:

SL

Corvette

n/a

16 city/25 hwy

6.2 V8/Manual

n/a

15 city/22 hwy

6.2 supercharged V8/Manual

3.0 turbo V6/9-spd. Auto

20 city/28 hwy

15 city/25 hwy

6.2 V8/Auto

4.7 turbo V8/9-spd. Auto

17 city/25 hwy

14 city/23 hwy

6.2 supercharged V8/Auto

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the SL’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Corvette doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The SL has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Corvette (19.8 vs. 18.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes SL higher (3 out of 10) than the Chevrolet Corvette (1). This means the SL produces up to 22.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Corvette every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The Mercedes SL comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Corvette.

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes SL, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Corvette.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the SL’s standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the Corvette:

SL

Corvette

Front Rotors

13.5 inches

12.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the SL has larger front tires than the Corvette (F:255/35R19 & R:285/30R19 vs. F:245/35R19 & R:285/30R20).

Suspension and Handling

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The front and rear suspension of the SL uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the Corvette, which uses transverse leafs springs. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

The SL offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Chevrolet doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Corvette.

The SL offers an optional automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Corvette doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For better maneuverability, the SL’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the Corvette’s (36.2 feet vs. 37.7 feet).

Chassis

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The SL’s standard power retractable hardtop allows a seamless transition from an open car, to a completely sealed coupe. The Corvette doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.

Passenger Space

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The SL has 1.2 inches more front headroom and .3 inches more front shoulder room than the Corvette.

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the SL’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Corvette doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Chevrolet. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 25% lower rating, Chevrolet is ranked 13th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Corvette, the SL has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle and climate settings and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The SL’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Corvette.

If the windows are left open on the SL the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote (remote must be aimed at door sensor). On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Corvette can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case of a sudden change of weather, the SL has a standard remote convertible top that can be raised from a distance to protect the interior of the vehicle from damage. The Corvette’s top can only be opened by remote, so the driver will have to run to the car, get in, turn the ignition on and raise the top to prevent the interior from being damaged.

The SL’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Corvette’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the SL to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The Corvette doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The SL has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Corvette doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the SL detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Corvette doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the SL has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Corvette doesn’t offer cornering lights. The SL also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The SL’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Corvette’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the SL offers an optional Active Distance Assist Distronic, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Corvette doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The SL’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself. The Corvette doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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