Spotted: Mercedes-Benz SL60 AMG

With a budget of £25K, an array of Mercedes AMG lunacy is on offer. For those with practical considerations, an E63 wagon should fit the bill nicely, with £5,000 spare for tyres, bail money and other such consumables. Any aspiring oligarchs might be tempted by 620hp-worth of V12 S65 AMG, again with 20 per cent of the budget left, which should at least pay for a fortnight's V-Power.

Silver paint over red leather - a classic Merc combo
Silver paint over red leather - a classic Merc combo
Why then, with a feast of monstrously powerful Mercedes available (the C63 is not far off this price threshold), would anybody entertain spending £25,000 on a 15-year-old SL? Of course, this isn't a common-or-garden R129 that's on offer. It's an SL60 AMG, one of only 49 right-hand drive British cars and a model with a fascinating history.

After being absorbed into Mercedes in the early 1990s, the SL60 AMG was launched in 1993. But whereas now any AMG derivative immediately becomes the Mercedes range flagship, Mercedes was keen that its V12 SL600 remained top dog; this meant 381hp for the AMG SL (against 389hp for the SL600), and a claimed 0-60mph time of 5.6 seconds.

But that was the official line. If the rumours are true, AMG didn't like playing second fiddle in the power stakes. Many argue the true power figure for an SL60 was actually somewhere in the region of 410hp and the benchmark sprint time was nearer five seconds.

A lot of crimson leather for your lolly
A lot of crimson leather for your lolly
So what is an early Mercedes AMG like? Well, according to our esteemed editor (former editorial seat: Mercedes Enthusiast magazine), a rather different prospect to any other contemporary SL. The four-valve M119 V8 - the same as used in the E500 - is more charismatic than the later three-valve M113 that briefly appeared in the non-supercharged R129 SL55 and lived on in later AMGs. As such the SL60 is the most engaging 129-series SL, akin to a convertible muscle car.

Which is why we're talking here about the SL60 and not the SL73 AMG also lurking in the PH classifieds. And that isn't a model designation mismatch in the modern Mercedes way. That's an SL with a 573hp 7.3-litre V12, the same V12 that powered the Pagani Zonda. But the 60 is the more competent all-round package says our in-house Mercedes geek.

Zonda made better use of the 7.3-litre V12
Zonda made better use of the 7.3-litre V12
Given the Zonda-engined car is three times more expensive than the V8, the SL60 therefore appears something of a steal. Although this is of course relatively speaking, as there is no escaping that £25,000 is a huge price for an R129 SL. Not only are lesser V8 SLs available for nearly half this amount, later R230 AMG SL55s are also well within budget.

So, as ever, it's a case of pay your money, take your choice. How far improved the SL60 is over a standard R129 could only be truly established in a direct comparison, and the lure of a supercharged SL55 can't be ignored. Either way, let's just hope the AMG blood and thunder remains undiluted in Mercedes' flagships, and leave us with many more potential dilemmas like this in future!

Mercedes-Benz SL60 AMG (R129)
: 5,956cc V8
Transmission: Five-speed automatic, RWD
Power (hp): 381@5600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 428@3750rpm
CO2: N/A
MPG: Very few!
First registered: 1998
Recorded mileage: 53,000
Price new: £110,000
Yours for: £24,950

See the original advert here


P.H. O'meter

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (74) Join the discussion on the forum

  • f328nvl 06 Feb 2013

    7.3 litres V12 Mercedes. Gulp! Wouldn't test drive it in the snow, but surely that's a real future classic?
    and I bet it doesn't have all the bloody annoying warning systems that plague my C63 PPP, which has warned me of more imminent crashes than me and all my surviving family have ever had in our lives in the two months I have owned it.

  • Evo 06 Feb 2013

    Rarity aside I'm not sure the SL73 warrants an additional £50k over an SL60.

    Both would provide plenty of grunt, still I'd rather spend my 25k on a nice 996 Turbo. Not enough sports car for me.

  • Baryonyx 06 Feb 2013

    The R129 SL is undoubtedly the sexiest Mercedes ever. But that vomit-pink interior brings to mind the worst excesses of Porsche. It has no place in something like this. It is disgusting, especially contrasted against the steering wheel.

  • pSyCoSiS 06 Feb 2013

    Beautiful car.

    I actually remember having the brochure for this back in the day when I was a kid, and just admiring the SL60 AMG (yes I was rather sad, ordering brochures from Mercedes and BMW just to dream of owning one!).

    It looks just right, with a rather subtle bodykit and those trademark AMG wheels.

    I would love one. If I had the money, space and a decent collection to put it in!

    And that 7.3 is on a different planet!

    Edited by pSyCoSiS on Wednesday 6th February 09:34

  • chiefski26 06 Feb 2013

    This Sl60 sold for £15k not long ago.

View all comments in the forums Make a comment