2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

Believe it or not, March is here. Funny to say that since it happens every year, but spring fever is going to get hot and heavy. Especially since, well, you know the drill. With spring, comes convertible season. At least for us who live anywhere else but California and Florida. The options are pretty wide when you are looking for top down cars, but dollar for dollar, the R230 SL55 AMG continues to be one the best values out there. As expected, most of these don’t have many miles on them. Even with that, $25,000 buys you a decent example. However, this 2003 up for sale in Florida has an impressive 98,000 miles. Even better? It’s from the original owner.

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2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

All of a sudden it’s March! You know what that means. Four more weeks of winter for us in the northern part of the country and then we’ll maybe start thinking about spring. In all seriousness, hope springs eternal when the calendar turns and we’ll be preparing for car season. What better way to kick it off by looking at a Mercedes-Benz convertible with a supercharged V8 with nearly 500 horsepower?

This 2003 SL55 AMG up for sale in Arizona is finished in the classic Brilliant Silver Metallic, but when you open the doors you get your hair blown away with a red leather interior. Personally, I love it. I love even more that it has just 14,000 miles as well.

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2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

Love, hate, or indifferent, red cars draw eyes. Sometimes that is a bad thing, like when you are doing 87 mph in a 70 mph zone on the highway. Other times it is a good thing, like when you are selling a car. I think the term “resale red” does carry a lot of weight because consumer studies have shown that people who drive red cars are looked at differently. Red is fast and aggressive, while the earth tones are a little bit more subdued and conservative. Only makes sense, but when push comes to shove, are you willing to actually pony up the cash for a red car? You can see where I’m going with this with today’s car, a 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG up for sale in Florida. Just 30,000 miles and looks like it is dripping wet just sitting there. Anyone brave enough for “arrest me red?”

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2005 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

Earlier this year I took a deep dive into what the R230 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG is and where it might be headed into the future. It is a car that can hold its own without a doubt, but certainly is not at the top of anyone’s list when it comes to buying a convertible for around $25,000. However, today we have a 2005 that might change everyone’s opinion at how these things look. This SL55 up for sale in California is painted in the very rare Orion Blue and shows just under 30,000 miles. The condition is nearly perfect and frankly, I love it very much. Where do I send my money?

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2005 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

Now that I’ve exhausted all of the nice Mercedes-Benz R129s currently on the market, I wanted to wander over to the R230 to see how things are going with the first SL with a folding hard top. The R230 was a giant leap forward in terms of styling and technology compared to the R129 as now the normally boxy and square roadster suddenly didn’t have a flat edge on the entire car. It was what needed to be done to keep the car relevant in the new millennium with the legacy buyers coming back as well as capture the hearts of all the new money buyers that wanted a sleek roadster that didn’t feel like an old man or woman’s car that was driven to the country club on a Sunday morning to play golf. It is tough to stay that Mercedes didn’t succeed in that as even now that the R230 is 17 years-old, it still doesn’t look or feel that age. Sure, some of the tech is dated, but getting in of these cars doesn’t scream ”this car can legally buy cigarettes next year” old.

Of course, with the introduction of the SL500 and V12 SL600 in the R230, Mercedes stepped up their game in the US market by giving customers the SL55 AMG that was a hit as soon as they landed on dealer lots. A 0-60 time in 4.4 seconds thanks to 493 horsepower and 520 lb⋅ft of torque, the SL55 wore the crowd of the fastest automatic transmission car in the world for a short time before the big brother SLR came on to the scene in 2003. The SL55 continued to be the model of choice over the more expensive V12 SL600 until it was replaced by the SL63 in 2008. The SL65 AMG joined the lineup in 2005 with its twin-turbocharged V12 making an insane 604 horsepower and 738 lb⋅ft of torque, but also carried a price tag starting at $185,000. Needless to say, the SL55 remained the best bang for the buck at a still very expensive $115,000, but was a bargain compared to competitors Ferrari 360 and Aston Martin’s DB7 Volante in terms of both purchase price and cost of running. Today, the SL55 sits in that no man’s land of not old enough to be considered a classic and not modern enough to be considered by people who want to be impressed by a bunch of tech. Add in the fact that the running costs can scare some people off, a Corvette seems like a much better buy for the convertible crowd who take Sunday cruises to the Daily Queen. What does that mean for prices on these beasts? Very good things if you are willing to commit to owning one. At least this example up for sale in North Carolina proves that.

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2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

Last week I looked at a very low mileage 2001 SL500 and today’s car is another SL, although a little newer and with a lot more power. The R230 SL55 AMG was the exactly what you would expect from a mid-2000s AMG car: a supercharged V8 that makes almost 500 horsepower and just as much torque. Now 13 years and well over $100,000 worth of depreciation later, these top down monster have become very cheap. But is it worth it?

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2005 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

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Those of you regular readers of GCFSB probably know that I mostly write about Porsche 928’s. Today I have something different, albeit quite similar. Much like the 928, the SL55 is ostensibly a grand tourer and is powered by a V8 of the same displacement as the 928 GTS. Both cars also share a very similar interior layout, with most of the controls located in a sloping and raised center console. Both cars are also beloved by Jeremy Clarkson, who spoke favorably of the 928 in one of the final episodes of Top Gear, and who personally owned an SL55. Describing his SL as a swiss army knife, Clarkson pointed out that the SL can act as a grand touring car if so desired, but can also be turned into a roadster in 16 seconds thanks to a retractable hardtop.

This Designo Graphite 2005 SL55 stood out to me for multiple reasons. The beautiful Designo color combination and interior upgrades, the unique Alphard wheels, and the low mileage differentiate this SL55 from the others currently on the market. The Designo options on this car would have likely added an extra $8,000 onto the $120,000 base price for the SL55. Such options would include a full leather interior (dash, door panels, rear storage compartment, roll bar, and top lid), alcantara headliner, suppler leather on the seats, and black birdseye maple wood trim. This was a huge improvement over the mostly MB Tex and vinyl interior on a standard SL55. Basically, it is a combination of the higher quality finishes available on the SL600 with the more flashy design of the SL55, a win-win in my opinion.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG at Greater Chicago Motors

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Tuner Tuesday: 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG Brabus K8

I don’t think many people would consider Brabus to be a particularly conservative tuner. However, something interesting has occurred since AMG was brought in-house by Mercedes-Benz; Brabus has rather turned into what AMG was in the 1980s. Just like AMG used to offer, Brabus turns up the Benz models to the next level with power increases, suspension and brake modifications and plenty of special details to help set their cars apart. And while at times they may have been garish compared to some of the more sedate AMG cars were, they’ve even become attractive – with just enough flare to make their modifications stand apart without being outrageous. Of course, there’s one major difference; AMG started with stock Mercedes-Benz models, while Brabus is standing on the shoulders of the already turned-up AMG models. The result is supercar performance from an unexpected package, such as this R230 SL55 K8:

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2005 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

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AMG Mercs have always been among my favorite German performance machines (second only to Porsche’s). They are basically German muscle cars. In fact, since the golden era of American muscle died off many decades ago, I consider AMG’s to be the muscle cars of the 21st century. Furthermore, while they may be prohibitively expensive when new, these cars often go for a song on the secondhand market.

With only 12,000 miles on the clock, 493 horsepower, and 516 lb-ft of torque, this pristine SL55 could certainly give a new owner a ton of fun for a very affordable price. Furthermore, it is a rare Designo Espresso edition. While many may dismiss this as a mere appearance package, it adds an entirely different level to the interior. Standard SL55’s came with leather seats and leatherette pretty much everywhere else, such as the dash, door cards, center console, etc. This Designo edition, however, has very supple leather on practically every surface of the interior.

On the outside, the Designo Espresso edition wears a very attractive dark brown metallic paintjob. The two Designo paint schemes at the time (Graphite and Espresso) offered more metallic flake than standard metallic Mercedes offerings. This becomes particularly obvious when the sun shines on the surface just right…it really does look spectacular in person.

Click for details: 2005 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG on eBay

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