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  •   Ben Barry reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    With love the SL600 turbo R230. A look back at Mercedes that deserved more recognition for their sometimes hidden qualities - this month... Once sitting at the top of the R230 tree, the SL600 V12 packed four more cylinders than the less pricey SL55 AMG, yet could not shade it during a sprint to 62mph - but that was missing the point, argues one journalist. Words David Sutherland. Images #Daimler AG.

    Considered logically, the #Mercedes-Benz #SL600 #R230 , introduced in spring #2003 as the flagship model of the R230 range until the SL65 AMG arrived in 2004, was a hard purchase to justify. The reasons for not buying it began with the base model, the SL350, which despite 3.7 litres of V6 was an excellent proposition, thanks to the sweetness of its powertrain, handling that was so much more fluid than that of the preceding #R129 SL, and of course the drop dead gorgeous looks.

    Reason number two was that if you wanted an effortless V8, a bit more luxury and the electronic wizardry of Active Body Control suspension (optional on the V6), there was the SL500. Reason three was that if this was still too tame, the #SL55 AMG, with its muscular, supercharged 5.4-litre V8, awaited.

    POWER GAMES

    By now, you were close to £90,000, but for a few thousand pounds more the ultimate R230 beckoned, the SL600, with the grandest of all Mercedes engines at the time, the #M275 V12. Its price would soon tip over the £100,000 mark.

    Did we say ‘ultimate’? Some might not have been convinced. Despite its four extra cylinders and twin turbos, the SL600’s capacity and 493bhp was the same as the SL55 AMG’s, and its torque, massive though it was at 590lb ft, was 74lb ft higher, not enough to make too much difference at that level. Indeed the performance figures were identical: 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds and a 155mph governed maximum. Both cars also had a similar wallet denting fuel consumption, the SL55 AMG 19.9mpg and the SL600 19.6mpg on the combined cycle.

    And was the SL600, with its added weight over the front wheels, going to have the same quality of handling? Finally, what was there to see for the money? V12 badges on the boot and wings, and different wheels, that’s all. It’s obvious, then, that you bought the SL600 simply because it existed. Money wasn’t a problem, so you were going to have the most expensive R230 available. You’d probably add the few items that weren’t already standard, such as heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, #Keyless-Go , a TV and perhaps a garage door opener.

    That’s partly why I love the SL600, a car whose hedonistic specification can devour you. I even adored standing by it when it was ticking over, feeling the massive heat generated by the V12 and imagining the scale of the thermal challenge the development engineers must have faced.

    MORE THAN JUST A CAR

    In truth, the V12 is no smoother than the SL500’s V8, but that’s not the point. Mercedes-Benz went down the V12 route in the late 1980s in response to the 12-cylinder motor #BMW had revealed, and comprehensively proved that Stuttgart could do it better. That a company, which had not previously planned a V12, would go to all that cost and effort to make a statement impresses me.

    Power rose from 493bhpto 510bhp in the year #2006 .
    The SL600 V12 boasted Active Body Control (ABC).
    Comand, leather and Parktronicall came as standard.

    Actually I love the snorting V8 in the #SL55 #AMG , its supercharger so substantial it soaks up a fair amount of its own power just keeping itself in business. But I would take the SL600 which, despite its apparent on-paper similarities, is a different driving proposition. You will hear the V12 only on the occasions when you dare to flatten the accelerator pedal, and what is audible then is a still quiet but incredibly potent sounding growl.

    The M275 V12 with magnesium cylinder heads.
    I even adored standing by it when it was ticking over, feeling the massive heat generated by the V12.

    Another aspect to love is the folding metal roof. We probably now take the SL and SLK systems for granted, but a decade ago the way it neatly and silently collapsed under its metal cover was still amazing (Mercedes, in partnership with #Porsche , established a new company in the 1990s just to design the roof, the technology then offered to other car manufacturers).

    Now that the SL600 is getting on a bit, I suspect that most prospective R230 buyers, anxious about maintenance costs, would give it a wide berth. That would be sensible when an SL500 will do most things just as well. But for me, driving a Mercedes-Benz V12 roadster is an experience verging on the spiritual.
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  •   Ben Barry reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    With the added impact of MEC Design styling. Vogue Auto Design has transformed this SL55 AMG. Tuner car Vogue Auto Design SL55 R230 – white knight. With MEC Design’s axiom one widebody kit plus new alloy wheels and a host of performance upgrades, vogue auto design has turned this SL55 AMG into a mean wide boy roadster. This piece of German engineering mastery was destined for something more.

    20-inch VF1 forged wheels by Vogue Auto Design. SL’s signature side vents much deeper here. Silver mesh much needed for the SL55’s gaping front intakes. Wide bore exhaust pipes sit within an aggressive diffuser. It took the people at #VAD a few weeks to transform the roller, to street warrior.

    Profound

    When I was a young boy, I read many amazing stories about knights in shining armour. Stories of great battles from times gone by, featuring brave warriors fighting for their right to be free and live in peace. Each story had a main character with a great destiny to fulfil, involving a journey to an unknown land where no other had dared to go before. These individuals are the stuff of legends.

    The hero of this story comes in the form of an R230 SL, which was originally a stock SL55 #AMG with black armour. Black SL55s are rare to come by, but in the eyes of its owner Christopher Mellor, it wasn’t quite special enough.

    Whether you agree or not with the car’s transformation, you must reserve judgement until the full details are revealed.
    Christopher has a taste for all types of rare and legendary cars, and over the years he has acquired a #Porsche #Boxster done up for the track, plus a #Toyota Supra, #Caterham Seven, #Aston-Martin DB7, #Mitsubishi #3000GT , one of only four Lynx Jaguars ever built, and now this SL55 AMG upgraded to 500bhp. His passion is so deep that he will find the rarest examples of cars to add to his collection. “I was going to simply buy a second car, but while searching online I came across #VAD ( #Vogue-Auto-Design) . I spoke to the company and took references on the quality of its work,” Christopher recalls. He was so impressed with what he learned, and after seeing a #MEC-Design bodykit for an #SL55 on VAD’s website (vogueautodesign com), he just had to find a stock model and make his own mark.

    FROM DARK TO LIGHT

    He knew the SL55 was a rare car, and normally he would keep it standard, but after laying eyes on the MEC bodykit, this piece of German engineering mastery was destined for something more profound in his hands. "The MEC bodykit required a base SL55, so I bought a 10-year old one, unseen in Yorkshire, with a high specification and low mileage, always knowing that it would be overhauled and upgraded," Christopher remembers. The major factor in the journey that the SL55 would take was its colour change from black to white - a white knight amongst darker coloured counterparts located around the world.

    The kit you see on this mighty Merc is MEC Design’s Axiom One upgrade, which consists of a custom bonnet, new bumpers front and rear (the latter with a diffuser), side skirts, wheelarch extensions for added visual impact, and a rear spoiler. It took the people at VAD a few weeks to transform the Merc from stock roller to street warrior, including applying the now signature white armour paint.

    Vogue Auto Design carried out a lot of research in the industry when it came to supplying the best bodykits on the market, and after seeing the quality of MEC Design’s work, it made sense to become a UK importer.

    For those of you who are not familiar with MEC Design, it is one of Europe’s leading #Mercedes-Benz tuning companies that specialises in not just bodykits, but also alloy wheels, lowering kits, engine performance enhancements and interior upgrades. It was founded way back in #1999 and created its first widebody kit for an #R129 SL in #2001 . Since then, MEC Design has grown from strength to strength. You can find out more about the company by visiting www.mecdesign.de.

    REAR OF THE YEAR

    I can see why Christopher opted to have the kit instead of keeping the SL55 stock, as boy does it bring out the beast in this Mercedes-Benz! Take a moment to absorb just how wide and aggressive this car now looks, complete with its facelifted R230 appearance. A set of VAD’s #VF1 forged wheels were bolted on and, at 10 inches wide at the front and 13 inches wide at the rear, they reinforce the incredible stance.

    KLEEMANN ADDITIONS

    Not only does the exterior look super aggressive, but the heart of the beast has also gone through a transformation to give it more grunt. VAD entrusted SKG Performance to give the V8 a Kleemann boost kit. This consists of a smaller pulley and ECU remap, including the removal of the speed limiter and an additional programme for the tubular headers - these also made by Kleemann and complemented by new downpipes to help remove exhaust back pressure, allowing the engine to breathe more freely and produce more power. List on #SKG ’s list was a Quaife limited-slip differential to aid traction, handling and braking. Vogue Auto Design then fitted its own stainless steel back box and a Kleemann intercooler pump to help reduce intercooler heat soak and improve recovery time.

    Having grown his business over the years before selling it, Christopher has gifted himself the financial freedom to explore his passion for cars. In the case of this SL55 AMG, he wanted to do something different and take the car to another level in the aesthetic and performance departments. It is safe to say he has achieved his goals, and then some.
    The red interior provides a great contrast to the exterior.

    ECU remap and supercharger pulley upgrade give 500bhp.
    Facelifted looks for this earlier R230 thanks to MEC.
    Thickly bolstered seats with a pulse massage function.
    Soft, perforated leather for the SL’s sumptuous chairs
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  •   Ben Barry reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    AMG SL55 – the hero car to buy now / #Mercedes-Benz-SL55-AMG-R230 / #Mercedes-Benz-SL55-AMG / #Mercedes-Benz-SL55 / #Mercedes-Benz-R230 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-SL / #Mercedes-Benz-SL-R230 / #AMG

    At launch, and with the 155mph speed restrictor disabled, the supercharged 493bhp SL55 had the distinction of being the fastest automatic car you could buy, capable of hitting 186mph on the right autobahn. Of course back then you had to pay the thick end of £100k to buy into the game, so such selfshifting speed didn't come cheap.

    Secondhand, the SL55 has got a lot cheaper, but our thinking is that these #Mercedes have finally reached the bottom of their depreciation slope and values are on the way back up. You can still pick up something leggy for £12k, but anything remotely good will be in the mid-to-high teens now. In fact really special examples are now being snapped up by specialists and offered in the mid-twenties or more. Those dealers may have to hang onto them for a bit, but they know which way the wind is blowing and the SL55 is heading for nailed-on modern classic status. So those will be the prices people are paying very soon.

    We’re just saying, right, but if you don’t want to miss the boat, now looks like a very good time to acquire one of these handsome and potent machines.

    Once around £100,000, now just a fraction of that. But prices are rising again.
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