Goldi-rocks

The half-mil­lion dol­lar Benz road­ster has the just-right bal­ance be­tween grand tour­ing and out­right grand­stand­ing

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

GOLDILOCKS is a great name for a car with a rare com­bi­na­tion of grace and pace that’s ‘‘ just right’’ de­spite a price tag that could soar be­yond $450,000.

The new high-class Benz­mo­bile would make an ideal Bond girl, thanks to great DNA and some hard­core boot­camp train­ing at AMG.

Goldilocks makes an el­e­gant en­trance or runs with the guns. She has the lat­est two-seater road­ster body and all the lux­ury gear you ex­pect from an SL, with the ad­di­tion of a twin­turbo 5.5-litre V8 that makes up to 800Nm of torque and serves up 0-100km/h sprints in 4.2 sec­onds with a top speed as out­ra­geous as 280km/h. Why Goldilocks? For a start, the SL is more fem­i­nine than blokey de­spite its mus­cles. And, for me, the hot­tie SL is the ‘‘ just-right’’ choice among theam­groad­sters.

The baby-bear SLK55AMG is raw and flawed, with too much en­gine for the chas­sis and sus­pen­sion while the big daddy SLSAMGIS too big and too hot, from its look-at-me styling to an en­gine that’s wasted for any­thing but fry­ing the rear tyres. Then there’s the $487,500 price tag.

So the SL sits sweetly in the mid­dle with po­ten­tial ap­peal to Bent­ley con­vert­ible buy­ers on one side and even Porsche Boxster en­thu­si­asts on the other.

But let’s get on with the story, as we go ex­plor­ing in the forests in the south of France.

VALUE

Peo­ple who can af­ford cars such as this one don’t have the usual wor­ries about mort­gages and pump prices. But in 2012, ev­ery­one wants a bar­gain.

So there is a lot of good new stuff in the SL, from the ba­sic alu­minium body through to the value-added key with the sil­ver­amgcrest. Buy­ers can al­ways ask for more and the ob­vi­ous choice is the Per­for­mance Pack that brings more power and torque (up to 415kw/900nm) as well as red painted brake calipers.

The SL63 cur­rently sells for $418,670 and that’s the tar­get for the new­comer later this year, even though the to­tal changeover has cost plenty.

For peo­ple who want even more, and not a Gull­wing, there will also be an SL65 AMG— with a twin-turbo V12.

TECH­NOL­OGY

It starts with the al­loy body and ends with the gi­ant 19-inch al­loy

Sig­na­ture: The SL63 is the first AMGTO sport the newtwinspar grille

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