mReview: 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 - Always Making a Grand Entrance

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If you have the pockets for it and need a vehicle that is guaranteed to make an entrance regardless of the occasion, you’d definitely want to take a look at Mercedes’ new SL 55 AMG.

Though, if you are a stickler for accurate nomenclature, this seventh-generation SL is actually marketed as a Mercedes-AMG SL 55. Mercedes speak decoded, this essentially is the highest-specified AMG version of their iconic grand tourer that is available for sale in Singapore.

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This is also the very first SL in history to be built as a ground-up AMG car, and has been designed to replace the AMG GT Roadster. Notably too, it comes in a 2+2 configuration, something that has been absent from this nameplate since 1989’s R129.

Breathtaking Looks

Road presence is in no short supply when you drive the SL 55. The long bonnet really defines the overall aesthetic of the vehicle, which is then offset with the inclusion of the wide haunches. The Panamericana-style grille is flanked by a pair of triangular headlights. These clusters have a strong yet organic line at the upper edge, creating a profile that resembles eyelids of a living creature.

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The front fascia is completed with the prominent inclusion of the three-pointed star. And the looks continue throughout the vehicle too. Organic lines are also utilised in the design of the rear end, which serves as the ideal backdrop for the brutish and angular exhaust tips.

Gone is the hard top folding roof of the two previous SL generations. You’ll find that this car has a soft top fabric roof instead, fundamentally changing the way this grand tourer looks. Visuals aside, the decision to ditch the hard top is also performance-related, as doing so saves some 21 kilograms, whilst also improving the overall centre of gravity. 

What’s Inside?

The cabin, whilst very well made, is very simple, considering this is a car that’d set you back more than $1,000,000. All the components and hardware used in this vehicle are from the Mercedes-AMG parts bin, so if you have spent any amount of time in other AMG cars, you’d settle in just fine.

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Though this isn’t necessarily detrimental to the overall experience. All the switchgear, screens and even the AMG steering wheel feel very robust. The touchpoints have all also been trimmed in premium-feeling materials, and the tactility in the switchgear also helps create a luxurious feel.

Headroom is excellent with the roof down (that’s obvious enough), and you actually still have plenty of wiggle room all round with the roof up. The seats do an admirable job of straddling the line between comfort and support. I’d like to stress that the previous two statements only hold true for the front seats - the rear seats are really only suited for toddlers.

On The Go

Despite its almost two ton kerb weight, the SL 55 feels light and agile. The quick steering rack transmits most of the information you need from the tarmac, without unnecessary heft, and really eggs you on to push ever harder in the corners.

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There actually isn’t a lot of steering lock, so Mercedes opted to increase its low-speed manoeuvrability with the addition of rear wheel steering. It does sap some finer sensations of the rear end when you are properly pushing, but it is a compromise that I’d happily make for the sake of greater usability.

Though you probably aren’t looking for a daily-able vehicle when buying an SL 55 in the first place. Cars like this are not about the destination, but very much about the drive to get there. The sonorous, twin-turbocharged V8 feels almost inappropriate in a sea of electrified vehicles, turning petrol into a whole lot of noise, and plenty of pace. It effortlessly garners momentum, with a very wide powerband that truly delivers regardless of the revs and gear that you are in.

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The only real complaint I have on this front is with the low speed manners of the transmission. In the lower gears and at city speeds, first and second gears are clunky and jerky. Though at speed, this becomes a non-issue. And when you consider this vehicle was built to cross continents rapidly, the gearing makes perfect sense.

Could This Be the Last Non-electrified AMG V8 Ever?

With petrol engines being gradually phased out as the world seeks ever more sustainable methods of propulsion, the SL 55 appears to be the last of a dying breed. It is a celebration of all that makes petrol as a propellant in the first place.

The sound of the engine gaining and losing revs, the mechanical noises made by the forced induction system and the jolt you get between gear changes is something that’d forever be lost when the world’s sports cars become electric.

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It may cost close to a cool $1,000,000, but if you have the funds for such a car, don’t think of it as a flamboyant way to splurge on an irresponsible vehicle. Rather, think of yourself as a guardian of an endangered machine that is increasingly vilified by the eco-warriors of the world, one that’d we’d all look back at with rose tinted glasses and with fondness when we are all forced to go electric.

Mercedes-AMG SL 55 Specifications
Price: $1,004,888
 VES Band: C2
Bi-Turbo V8
4.0 litre
476 bhp, 700 Nm
9-Speed Automatic
Driven Wheels:
All-Wheel Drive
7.4 km/L
3.9 s
Top Speed:
295 km/h
Fuel Tank Capacity:
70 L
4,705 mm x 2,015 mm x 1,359 mm
2,700 mm
Cargo Capacity:
213 L

Photo Credits: ACube Creative (@weareacube)

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