Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG (2007)

Offering supercar pace and everyday usability from just £35K, a used SL55 is a real bargain

Back in February 2002 we called the Mercedes SL55 AMG ‘a supercar in disguise’, and that’s exactly what it is. Underneath its subtly beefed-up bodywork sits an enlarged and supercharged version of the V8 from the SL500, but the character transformation is so great you’d be hard pushed to tell they’re related. Seemingly the 55 has more in common with a Can-Am race car – on full boar it certainly sounds similar and the performance is pretty outrageous too. The 0-60mph dash is over in a mere 4.6sec and it’ll slam effortlesslyinto the 155mph limiter with most of fifth gear to spare. In fact, one German magazine removed the limiter and recorded figures on the interesting side of 200mph…

Packed with 493bhp – and 516lb ft of torque all the way from 2650rpm to 4500rpm – it annihilates straights and, despite weighing almost two tons, the Active Body Control suspension keeps it all in check, delivering a firm yet comfortable ride.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

It appears that most people in the market for a second-hand SL55 also view it as a supercar, wanting only low-mileage, fastidiously polished examples, which means those who bought a 55 to use on a daily basis have had a bit of a shock at resale time. But the surprising lack of buyers wanting to take on cars with regular mileages on their odometers means that it is now possible to get yourself one of these £90,000 motors for prices that start with a three.

We wouldn’t necessarily recommend you go quite that low – buying the cheapest example you can find is rarely the most financially sound decision in the long run – but you can get very good examples the right side of £50K, which for a supercar is a bit of a steal. How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Here’s all you need to know.EvolutionThe SL55 went on sale in the UK in the autumn of 2002 and instantly commanded a premium – in the early days there was a waiting list of up to a year. Production soon caught up with demand, however, and second-hand prices began to fall accordingly.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Other than a few subtle modifications to attend to some early problems, the SL55 continued unchanged until 2005.

The F1 pack became available as an £8500 option that year, and a car so equipped is worth seeking out. The pack includes AMG ‘Type-4’ wheels (19in as opposed to the standard 18-inchers), a different front apron, an extra oil cooler, uprated ‘Nürburgring’ sports suspension and a revised braking system. The speed limiter was also raised from 250 to 300kph (186mph).

Other options worth looking out for include the Nappa leather interior and the panoramic roof (the latter cost about a grand extra when new, but only really looks good on a black car). The AMG five-spoke wheels are worth going for, too, and not just for their aesthetics – they’re considerably easier to clean than the multi-spoke ones!

Cars from 2005 onwards also received an uprated, DVD-based satellite navigation system that offers much more detail than the earlier CD-based set-up. The CD version is perfectly adequate though, so don’t worry about having the earlier system. Finally, in 2006, the introduction of a higher-speed supercharger and a larger throttle valve saw a slight increase in power to 508bhp, with torque up to 531lb ft.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/features/202640/bmw-m4-competition-vs-mercedes-amg-c63-s-coupe-german-coupe-twin-test
Features

BMW M4 Competition vs Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe - German coupe twin test

The F82 BMW M4 is about to be put out to pasture, so does AMG’s recently fettled C63 S Coupe finally have its number?
18 May 2020
Visit/jaguar/202404/jaguar-project-8-evo-reader-experience
Advertisement Feature

Jaguar Project 8 evo reader experience

The Jaguar Project 8 is a 200mph marvel of engineering designed with one purpose in mind: to deliver the thrill of driving. We put some lucky evo read…
14 Apr 2020
Visit/features/18127/the-best-six-cylinder-engines-ever-we-pick-our-favourites
Features

The best six-cylinder engines ever – we pick our favourites

Six-cylinder engines can be found in cars of all kinds, good and bad. We collate the very best
13 May 2020
Visit/porsche/911/202636/porsche-911-carrera-to-be-turbo-only-as-manuals-stay
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 Carrera to be turbo only, as manuals stay

Porsche confirms the 911 Carrera won’t be available with a naturally aspirated engine again, but manuals stay. For now
17 May 2020