The Mercedes-Benz SL is mere transportation in the same way Kate Upton is a bit attractive and Bono is a somewhat-known in music circles. Your nana’s hand-me-down 1978 Ford Granada is perfectly capable of A to B transportation, but this, gentlemen, is oh so much more.
You’re coveting the car on this page right now because it’s oozing $123,900 of roofless, German, two-seat perfection. Few motorcars in the world today offer the sublime al fresco combination of silken smoothness, velocity, overt luxurious and NASA tech as the SL. You want this Mercedes-Benz because few machines on four wheels personify style, taste and status quite so flawlessly.
To mark the flagship Benz’s 60th birthday, it’s been redone from rubber to folding magnesium roof, becoming even more wonderfully excessive. It now darkens its own sunroof by electronically realigning the particles within the glass; uses its own spaceframe to reverberate and enrich the tones of the sound system, and it can even interface with Facebook via your smartphone. Wave your foot under the rear bumper and the trunk lid powers open or closed autonomously. The SL’s even scrapped the tried-and-true way of building windshield wipers for a better adaptive system with laser-cut blades.
Dropping into the driver’s seat, you first notice the leather hide and expensive-looking trim. It’s everywhere. Then there are the buttons. So. Many. Buttons. Twelve on the wheel, more around the radio and climate controls and yet more by the shifter and click-scroll wheel for the car’s multimedia system. Overwhelming at first, it’s all easily understood within those first few glorious hours behind the wheel. What’s more—in a remarkable feat of German aerodynamic finesse—with top down, windows and wind deflector up, you can have a normal conversation with your passenger while cruising at 120 km/h.
Car geeks will doubtlessly comb the details of how the Merc’s lost 300 lbs, via a new, 90 percent aluminum core or how two turbos made the now-smaller V8 engine somehow more powerful and more efficient than last year’s model. For our purposes here, you need only know that few cars can get 429 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque to the road with this level of polish. Naught to 100 takes just 4.6 seconds, and there are even more potent AMG versions of this car coming soon with outputs well over 500 hp. It goes without saying that this amount of power is completely unnecessary in a road car—but that was never the point anyway.