When launched in 2001, the weight of expectation of the fifth generation SL was understandably eager. The SL series of cars had long been seen as a showcase for Mercedes’s technological prowess. Luckily, the new R230 series of cars did not disappoint. However, the news went beyond the purposeful aluminium body with active body control, electronic brake-by-wire and traction control. The announcement of the 493bhp 5.4litre V8 Supercharged SL55 AMG model a year later was the headline.
In 2002 the SL55 AMG was listed in the price lists just short of £100,000, but today offers the same style and drama at an astonishingly tempting price range. Capable of reaching 200mph in unrestricted form, the SL55 AMG, also benefits from Mercedes sensible ergonomics and the ability to stitch a car together properly. In short, a typical display of Mercedes's design know-how and engineering confidence. Business as usual then.
It's currently with its 5th owner, the keeper of the car had inherited it from his father. This SL55 AMG has been used as a daily driver, as the owner states it's docile enough to deal with the joyless tasks of modern commute but its comfort and impressive torque occasionally offers a little welcome distraction. It's been with the family for 4 years, and as hoped, a significant amount has been spent on keeping the car's natural ability in place. So why would you sell a car like this? Well, the car is getting to an age where its modern classic status needs specific needs and a lack of dry storage and a possible new car on the horizon means it needs to move on.
The car comes with a stack of neatly compiled paperwork, receipts and invoices, which suggests a positive aspect to the car's previous owners. The driver information pack and user guide, as well as the service stamps, come with the car. The car comes with full-service history from Mercedes and Mercedes specialists, confirming its mileage. The last service was carried out in August 2020, which also included A/C checks and a replacement drive belt guide replacement. All of the car's previous MOT certificates are also with the car. The most recent invoice is dated from the start of this year at a cost of almost £800, which covered the replacement of the front brakes and discs, as they were flagged up as an advisory in its last MOT. The car also underwent a diagnostic test to clear any faults.
Previous work in recent years also includes replacement rear discs and pads, as well as cosmetic item replacement including a wing mirror, rear lamp, a shock absorber, ABC pump and sensor replacements all coming in at around £7,000’s worth of work, with invoices to confirm this. There is also a stack of paperwork carried out by previous owners, who have also kept on top of the maintenance of the car. Its MOT is due in November 2021 and the seller has instructed Car & Classic that the car’s current registration plate will not be included in the sale.
The quality and finishing of the interior are beautifully considered, and while not as dramatic as some of its rivals, it has a long list of desirable goodies to keep the driver in tune with the car's chassis dynamics.
The overall presentation of the interior is good, with no obvious issues that might concern the new owner. The quality of materials and careful ownership is in line with a low-mileage 19-year-old luxury car. The driver's seat has some wear, mostly confined to the squab and bolster areas. That said, they’re not cracked or torn and will be straightforward to renovate if needs be. The passenger seat has a lighter amount of wear. All of the electric seat controls are functional.
The door cards are in good condition, with small signs of ageing. All of the door-mounted switches are good and unscuffed. The cabin carpets and mats are in generally good condition. The leather dashboard trim is in decent condition with a few small signs of ageing evident, the plastic furnishings have been well preserved. The switchgear and controls are generally in good condition, with small signs of wear on some buttons. The rear section behind the front seats is well kept with no obvious signs of damage, the cubby holes are intact and functional.
The steering wheel and gear knob are in good order, and have resisted the ageing process quite well, there are no significant marks on them. The headlining is in good condition, with no marks or significant blemishes, with just a couple of wear marks evident on the rear section.
The boot area shows minor signs of dampness, but there were no specific areas that showed water collection. The carpets had a little mould in places. When the boot was opened there were no water drips but as a known design fault on the model, it may need some investigation.
The SL55 AMG subtle styling details hark back to the original gullwing SL but also manages to retain its own elegance. The menacingly large wheels and purposeful poise gives it plenty of presence too.
Those first visual impressions of the SL55 AMG also reflect the build quality and attention to detail. The aluminium body is generally free from significant dents, with none observed on the sides of the car. The door shuts are equal throughout, with other panel gaps even and aligned correctly. All doors hang well, with no obstructions or difficulty to open or close & the boot still retains its soft close. The underside is well protected and there are no signs of metal damage caused by grounding. The electric roof operation is fully functional, with no issues or unwanted noises coming from the mechanism.
There are a handful of corrosion spots on the rear wings, with bubbling evident on both sides of the arches where the body meets the bumper. Corrosion is also evident under both sets of the lower arcs of the arches. The lower corner of the driver's door also shows signs of bubbling.
Paint wise, the car has a decent lustre and shine throughout. There are no signs of overspray or flat paint finish. The light doesn't catch significant swirls or expose any paint thinness. The general conclusion is that paintwork has worn the years well with no obvious blemishes, with a few signs of chips or scratches confined to the front of the car and the odd non-penetrative light scuff on flat surfaces. The main issues are focused on the front bumper, which has a light scrape on the off-side bumper arch and signs that the lacquer is peeling off just below the headlights. As to be expected for such a low car, there is a small amount of scraping under the front bumper but this remains unseen unless you happen to be nosy.
The owner was keen to point out the slight issue with the alloys, which have seen light kerbing on the front wheels. They certainly aren’t too much of a distraction and could be refurbed without any problems. The tyres are recently fitted Pirellis and show no issues at all. The glass is generally good, with no problems with cracks or significant blemishes. The rear glass shows small signs of lamination damage to the edges, but not to a point of obscuring the view. The body trim, including the badges and embellishments, are good with no obvious damage degradation or marks. The glass rubber and passenger door seals all appear to be good. The lights are all decent, with a minor mark and small crack evident on the near-side front headlamp.
The legendary M113K 5.5 Litre V8 supercharged engine is known for its durability and has a top trump winning figure of 493 horses driving through the rear wheels.
There are no issues with the engine operation, it starts straight away with no hesitation, the cold start produced an expected amount of condensation from the exhaust but as soon as the engine warmed, all the vapour dissipated as the engine got up to temperature. All of the dashboard lights remained off after the engine was started. The engine ran smoothly with no issues, no hissing, knocks or squeals coming from the engine, the steering operated with no unwanted noises and the exhaust showed no signs of blowing. The five-speed automatic gearbox is said to be fully operational. The engine was clean and well presented suggesting a good level of maintenance. The front pads and discs have just been replaced and the rear pads were recently replaced. The suspension components are said to function as expected with no clunking or knocking. There are said to be no other noises coming from the rear of the car. The car shows no signs of leaking any fluids.
As expected for a flagship model, the car relies upon electronics. All of the items tested appeared to work, with active suspension and other driver aids said to be functional. The owner pointed out that the Keyless Go system wasn’t working and was diagnosed last year as a fuse fault but would require investigation. The owner was happy to declare that everything else was operational, including the window operation.
Sat deep in the cabin with the long bonnet ahead of you, it feels like you're sitting in a Ferrari rather than a Mercedes. Press a button and the roof retracts in 16 seconds, and while you focus on the road, the cabin design cossets you from wind noise and buffeting. The V8 engine purrs away, just prod the throttle and capture the rasp of the exhausts. A truly mesmerising experience. When it was released the SL55 AMG was considered the best roadster in the world.
There’s no doubt that buying such a complex machine requires careful vetting and some investigation, so the car's full-service history, thousand's of spending in the last 3 years and well below average mileage might pique your interest in the SL55 AMG. It is an absolute dead-cert to follow previous SL models into the hall of fame, a hall of fame exclusively reserved for 200mph cars.
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Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.
As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.
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