This is so frustrating. Here I am, driving the updated SL55 AMG, yet I'm stuck behind a small Majorcan delivery van and we're on a road too narrow for a Caterham. The SL55's V8 now turns out 508bhp (up from 493) thanks to a higher-speed supercharger, the larger throttle valve from the SL65 and improved engine management. Torque has also risen, by 14lb ft to 531. The five-speed gearbox remains, but with the addition of paddles behind the steering wheel, enabling you to enjoy the low-down pulling power of your preferred ratio. But perhaps of most interest are the brakes, which now use composite discs at the front. The car I'm in has the optional AMG Performance Pack as well, adding 30mm to the composite front discs (bringing them to 390mm), a limited slip diff and an even more sporting bent to the sports suspension. The speed limiter is also raised, to 186mph. Not that that's much use stuck behind a van struggling to do thirty... Exiting a village, the road widens and we nuke the traffic in front with one huge, torque-rich slug before charging into a sweeping right turn. You instantly start to forget the big masses at work, the electronics letting you drive more quickly than you feel you have any right to in a 508bhp, two-ton car. It's a sort of strongman turned butler - mighty, but effortlessly flattering. The 55 undoubtedly remains the SL, and in fact the convertible, to have.
|Engine||V8, 5439cc, supercharged|
|Max power||508bhp @ 6100rpm|
|Max torque||531lb ft @ 2600-4000rpm|
|Top speed||186mph (claimed)|