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2012 Mercedes-Benz SL

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On: Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 3:01PM | By: Peter C Sessler

2012 Mercedes-Benz SL

“The best or nothing.” Well, that phrase certainly says a lot. What car company says they build cars that are the best, and, at the same time, are willing to prove it? Or is it just advertising hype? Is the phrase “the best or nothing” actually true (it is, after all, the Mercedes-Benz motto)?

The problem with Mercedes-Benz is its cost. It’s just too high, except for the really well-to-do. The “base” model SL starts at $103,650, while the higher-performance AMG SL63 starts $140,440, and the top of the line AMG SL65 at $202,225. AMG stands for Motorenbau und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (AMG Engine Production and Development, Ltd.)— all you have to know is that AMG produces the most expensive and highest performance models of each Mercedes-Benz series. AMG models have more aggressive looks, more power, better handling and stability than the “regular” Mercedes counterparts.

No doubt the over $100,000 price tag (and it’s closer to $114,000 if you add some options) is high for the SL550 model, but the SL is such a good car that it really earns its price tag—and that is almost hard to believe. The SL550 hits 0-60 in 4.8 seconds, has a 7-speed automatic, comes with a convertible hard top, it is as luxurious as the S-Class, it has a superior build quality, and it is loaded with every option you can think of. You’d think that such a loaded car is hard to beat, yet the SL63 with 518 hp or the SL65 with 604 hp border on “too much” —and the SL65 is almost “insane” with 738 lb.-ft. of torque. It literary shreds the rear tires. And this is for a vehicle that weighs more than 4,200 lbs!

2012 is the last year for the current SL. It was introduced in 2003, then slightly freshened in 2006 and, once again, it was slightly restyled for 2009-2012. Actually, the 2009 version could probably go on for a couple more years, but it was not to be. The 2013 version will be newer, and actually, isn’t much different from the current version—based on spy photos I’ve seen.

But what does the current owner say?

“A Mercedes has it all. I have a SL55 AMG Stage 6 Renntech. Last month we had it on the dyno—610 hp with 660 lb.-ft. of torque. That's power. Even without the Renntech it's a fast car. Nothing like the top down on a sunny day. It has great brakes. Stops on a dime and it gives you 9 cents change. The handling is wonderful. It takes freeway on/off ramps like a bullet. The seats are cooled leather seats with lumbar and massage. Great after a hard day’s work. It has a good sound system. Gotta have the tunes. It has all the necessary buttons and gadgets to make your ride very comfortable.

"Other than general maintenance, nothing has gone wrong with it. It has no rattles, squeaks or other annoying noises (except the time I gave my mother-in-law a ride).

"You owe it to yourself to buy one. You won't be sorry.”

I would bet that the phrase “the best or nothing” does, indeed, hold true.


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