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Mercedes News & Reviews

Mercedes-AMG SL55 Roadster

The Mercedes-AMG SL55 Roadster is something else. Not content to be a standard drop top convertible, it is a powerful 2+2 roadster, which pushes the limits on luxury performance and topless motoring at the same time. But is it the right car for you? Go topless with your friends from Napleton News while we find what makes the SL55 Roadster the over-the-top experience that it is.

The hand-built AMG 4.0L twin turbocharged SL55 engine.

The Mercedes-AMG SL55 Roadster Experience

With the SL55, it’s the best of everything, once again. And then, there are the engines. Think of this Mercedes-AMG SL55 Roadster as “The Just Right” version. Just right as in “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” There is the SL43, which is a 375 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with a 9-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. We think it’s a bit small for our tastes but the mileage must be great! At the other end of the food chain is the SL63, which uses a 4.0-liter 577-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8. As Goldie said, “This one’s too hot!” Right in the middle, and our whip of the week, is the AMG SL55. It arrives with a 469-horsepower biturbo V8. Like the SL63, it mates to a 9-speed automatic transmission and features 4Matic all-wheel drive with rear-wheel steering. We think Goldie would agree, “To us, it’s just right!”

Mercedes-AMG SL55 Roadster.

AMG Dynamic Select is in the mix. It allows drivers to change drive settings from Comfort to Slippery, Sport and Sports+. There is also an individual mode that lets you pick how you want to set up your SL55. Think of it like a restaurant menu where you select something from column A, a second from column B and so on.

The SL55 is also equipped with AMG Ride Control Suspension that is ride-tuned to adapt to road conditions on the fly. That means if the road is twisty and filled with turns, it firms up for better control. If it was rough and rippled, it might go softer, especially if the road became more challenging. Additional equipment includes a retractable rear spoiler, an AMG performance exhaust system and performance composite brakes.

With the Mercedes-AMG SL55, looks are everything.

Mercedes-AMG SL55 Roadster

The Mercedes-AMG SL draws inspiration from the SL racecars that took part in the Carrera Panamericana Road Race through Mexico, resulting in a timeless appearance. They also incorporate the elegant looks of the grand touring cars of that era, making them more contemporary in the process.

While fighting, uh, avoiding the heat, we kept the roof of the SL in the closed position. Frankly, it is just too hot right now to be hot-footing it with the roof down. It doesn’t matter though! This is a rare cabriolet that has a great appearance regardless of the position of the roof.

Carbon Fiber Everywhere.

The interior of the Mercedes-AMG SL55 Roadster

Carbon Fiber trims the SL55’s interior from door-to-door and dashboard to console. Sure, it looks cool if you are into boy racer accoutrements in the cabin, but we have always had a soft spot for wood veneer, instead. The dashboard is filled with the latest technology including a very cool tachometer array. As you accelerate, red arches spread outward. As the revs drop, the arches move inward. There hasn’t been much change in tachometer gauges, so as novel as these may be, it’s nice to see some advancement in gauge design.

In the center of the dashboard is an iPad-style touchscreen display that is adjustable, depending on reflections. It controls in-car entertainment, Mercedes Me voice control, cellular communications, music, media, climate controls and more.

The seats are beyond compare and feature massage functions, heating, ventilation and more. There’s even a way to cinch the bolsters a bit to keep you in place while attacking the twisties. There is a second row in the SL. A pair of what look to be rear seats live here but in reality, they won’t accommodate anyone over the age of four.

Beach front with the Mercedes-AMG SL55 Roadster

Behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG SL55 Roadster.

Push the starter button to unleash all the ponies under the SL55’s long hood. But first, you need to find said button because it is partially hidden behind the touchscreen. Once you tap it, nearly 470 horses roar to life and settle into an aggressive gurgle. Backing out of the drive will hear the composite brakes squeal to life, which is no cause for alarm. It’s how they sound until they warm up under normal drive conditions.

A push on the skinny pedal suddenly has you on your way. If zero-to-60 mph is your next destination, expect to reach it in about 3.8 seconds.

The SL55 handles like a car that is much shorter than its long nose and short tail will make you believe. That’s the rear wheel steering system shortening the line around a corner. It’s perfect for negotiating enthusiast-favored roads like the “Tail of the Dragon” and other challenging roads across America.

And if the roads bring on a certain tenseness, there’s no worries. Navigate your way to the comfort setting on the touchpad. Find the seats and scroll down to the massage function. Between heated or cooled, and aggressive or energizing massage, you’ll find a setting that truly does make you realize that with Mercedes-AMG, it truly is the best or nothing.

The SL55 Roadster

Specifications

2023 Mercedes-AMG SL55 Roadster Specifications
Popular Powertrains
Engine Type 4.0-liter twin turbocharged V8
Horsepower 469 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque 516 lb-ft @ 2,250 rpm
Transmission 9-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy 18 mpg (14 city/21 hwy)
Suspension F/R Multi-link /Multi-link
Turning Circle 42.1 ft.
Also Available SL43 and SL63 versions
Specs
Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating Not Rated
Max Seating Capacity 2+2
Wheelbase 106.3 inches
Overall Length 185.2 inches
Width 74.2 inches
Height 53.5inches
Headroom, Front N/A
Legroom, Front N/A
Headroom, Rear N/A
Legroom, Rear N/A
Shoulder Room, Front N/A
Shoulder, Rear N/A
Cargo Space 7.5 cubic feet

This post was published on April 5, 2024

Mark Elias

I've loved everything on wheels: Trains, Planes and definitely Automobiles. I am constantly in search of the latest in new technology, which makes our lives better each day, but will always respect the classics. You can't continue forward without first taking a look back at where you've been.

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