RE: Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG: PH Heroes

RE: Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG: PH Heroes



2 posts

52 months

Wednesday 31st August 2016
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I bought a 2002 (52) SL55 AMG with 70,000 miles last November at the Classic Car Show. It has more than lived up to my expectations. I just took it on a 2500 mile tour to the Alps and back with 6 other guys and their 6 cars and the SL55 did not disappoint. There are usually around 25 cars on AutoTrader between £15k and £25k. I would certainly hold £3000 in reserve for surprises but I would not be to scared of repairs. I ended up replacing the A/C condenser before the trip and that set me back £900 for MB parts and specialist labour.
Yes the interior is showing its age and may not be to everyone's taste but it has all the bleeding edge bells and whistles for its day. I updated the COMAND SatNav CD with the ALPS version and it was useful and reliable on the trip.
I would not want to pay to run it as a daily-driver but as since I take the train to work, the SL55 is excellent as a casual use car. Once I'm out of town, I can get over 20mpg. Performance per £, this is a very difficult car to beat and it is a tonne (well two) of fun to drive. I highly recommend giving consideration to an SL55.


2,804 posts

201 months

Friday 4th August 2017
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I have had one for about 16 months now, and it has cost me a bit to put right because the last owner was less than truthful about a couple of issues. I would estimate 4-4.5k in that time. Some of that was sorting out the 'overnight sag' that most cars will experience some time in their lives. Mine is an 03 in AMG Silver with upgraded Mercedes 19 inch wheels from later model and 66k miles. No sign of water ingress in boot at any time and I had the transmission fluid changed when I purchased.

I must say I do love this car, I drove it to Le Mans and back last year at which point I discovered the suspension sag (car is perfectly driveable, just needs lifting in the morning). I then fixed that issue and took it to Scandinavia for a 3k miles trip in the summer over a few weeks. It did need a new rear light on that trip because of water ingress, as well as a small flap on the roof mechanism when the roof is down disappearing (I guess the plastic just fatigued over 15 years). The roof part was not causing any issue but I didn't want to get any unnecessary dirt in roof mechanism. Because I was in Denmark at the time and felt it needed to be sorted this cost me about 1200 quid at Mercedes - I reckon in the UK it would have been half that as I know and have access to specialists and part sourcers etc.

It is a shame that Mercedes didn't make changing the ABC fluid part of the official maintenance schedule because it would have saved so much hassle later on for some owners. If each owner had changed the ABC fluid every 3 years for about 300 quid the system probably wouldn't have the somewhat negative reputation it now enjoys.

The car reminds me a little of my old 964 Carrera 2, in the sense that ownership benefits from research and acquiring knowledge to look after it and to be able to save a lot of money and hassle. I find this quite rewarding personally although it is not my only car.

Whenever I read these threads I am struck by the polarised opinions which I consider to be a good thing. The 2 camps are usually people who own the SL55 and love it and those who have very little experience in terms of ownership and rely on secondhand knowledge. There are exceptions of course, and the whole thing is rather subjective. Personally I consider 5k per year on a 15 year old 500bhp 100k car acceptable and expected when you can buy a decent example for between 15-20k, although I don't think it will be that high unless you literally take it to Mercedes if and when something needs doing.

I purchased mine for 17.5k which was probably a bit high and I don't think it is worth any more than that today just because I spent 4.5k on it. I expect these cars to gain value in the future though, they are quite rare and a hell of a car. Mercedes will never build a 5.4 litre v8 supercharged again, and the agricultural feel of the gearbox and the meaty controls are just not features you will find in any newish car today.

Enjoy your combustion engined cars whilst you can - we will all be driving hairdryers soon enough!