A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £20,810
Ever since the 300SL of the mid-fifties, Mercedes-Benz has upheld its SL range of convertible GTs as the zenith of its engineering abilities and design flair. Introduced in 2002, after some five years in development, the R230 Series SL Roadster was certainly no exception to this tradition. Painstakingly modelled on a state-of-the-art supercomputer which enabled the designers to analyse every curve and line, it looked utterly sensational with an air of barely contained aggression that gave it huge road presence. Packed full of sophisticated electronic driver aids which made it immensely safe but also fun to drive, it was an instant hit with press and public alike and is widely considered to be the best-looking Mercedes for many years. The power-operated aluminium folding roof was particularly admired and would disappear into the top of the boot at the press of a button in just 16 seconds, yet still leave enough room underneath for 206 litres of luggage space. First of the R230 range was the SL500 with its 5.4-litre V8 engine which produced 306bhp and a hefty 339ft lb of torque, all this power being delivered through a silky-smooth, 7-speed automatic gearbox. Even in a substantial body with lots of electronic toys and a folding alloy roof, it was capable of propelling the SL through 60mph in just 6 seconds with the (limited) top speed of 155mph comfortably achieved on the right stretch of road. Capable of ballistic pace when required, it also excelled as a sybaritic cruiser with 24mpg economy and there can be few finer ways to cross a continent. The only snag was the £75,000 price tag which restricted ownership to a privileged few. That original list price will not trouble the purchaser of today's 2006, 500SL which has been enjoyed by two owners and only covered 4,787 miles from new. Indeed, our current private vendor has only covered 300 miles in this car since he bought it in 2008 to add to his collection, and it's now offered for sale having recently been sent to his local Mercedes dealership for a service, health check and a fresh MoT prior to our auction. This is an enormous amount of motor car offered at a very attractive guide, and with the mileage indicated, is barely run in and ready for many more miles of powerful, enjoyable cruising.