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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 GT doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The SL has standard front seat tall, head-protecting side-impact airbags, which act as a forgiving barrier between the passengers and the door. Combined with high-strength steel door beams this system increases protection from broadside collisions. The GT doesn't offer side-impact airbags or side airbag protection for the head.
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 GT 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 GT 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 GT 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 GT 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 GT 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 GT doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the SL and the GT have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.
The Mercedes SL weighs 471 to 658 pounds more than the Ford GT. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
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 GT’s 3-year basic warranty expires 1 year sooner.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.
On the EPA test cycle the SL gets better fuel mileage than the Ford GT:
450 3.0 turbo V6
20 city/28 hwy
550 4.0 turbo V8
17 city/25 hwy
3.5 turbo V6
12 city/18 hwy
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 GT doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The SL has 4.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the GT (19.8 vs. 15.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes SL, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the GT.
For better traction, the SL has larger front tires than the GT (255/35R19 vs. 245/35R20).
The front and rear suspension of the SL uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the GT, which uses torsion bars in the rear. 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. Ford doesn’t offer an active suspension on the GT.
The SL has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The GT doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For better maneuverability, the SL’s turning circle is 3.8 feet tighter than the GT’s (36.2 feet vs. 40 feet).
The SL is 5.2 inches shorter than the GT, making the SL easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The SL is 5.3 inches narrower than the GT, making the SL easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.
The design of the Mercedes SL amounts to more than styling. The SL has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .32 Cd. That is lower than the GT (.35) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the SL get better fuel mileage.
The SL’s standard power retractable hardtop allows a seamless transition from an open car, to a completely sealed coupe. The GT doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.
The SL has 7.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GT (50.5 vs. 43).
The SL has 3.4 inches more front headroom, 8.5 inches more front hip room and 6.8 inches more front shoulder room than the GT.
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the SL. The GT doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
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 GT doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.
The SL uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The GT uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
An ASSYST PLUS is standard on the SL to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes, spark plug replacement, air filter replacement, tire rotation, radiator flush, brake pad replacement and transmission fluid replacement based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Ford doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the GT.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 59% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.
The SL has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The GT doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
When three different drivers share the SL, the memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver and front passenger’s seat positions, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle and climate settings. The GT doesn’t offer a memory system.
The SL’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The GT doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The SL’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The GT’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.
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 GT can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The SL has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The GT doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.
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 GT’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
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 GT 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 GT 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 GT 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 GT 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 standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The GT doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.
When the SL is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The GT’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
The SL’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The GT doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.
The SL has standard heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the GT.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the SL keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The GT doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
The SL offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the GT.
The SL’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The GT doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
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 GT 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, operating the brakes and steering automatically. The GT doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The Mercedes SL outsold the Ford GT by over seven to one during 2019.
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