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2023 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG 4MATIC+ Singapore Review

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG 4MATIC+ is a soft top convertible that shares the same platform as the AMG GT Coupe and comes with all wheel drive for the first time, along with a rear wheel steering system. Featuring an AMG 4.0 litre twin turbo V8, the SL55 produces 476 bhp and 700Nm of torque, delivering a 0-100km/h time of 3.9 seconds. The car comes with a whole host of features, including active aerodynamics, adaptive suspension, warm air curtain via the seats, and also features rear seats as standard. Overall, the SL55 perfectly balances its role as both a luxury car and a performance car.

Much Better Than Before

The Mercedes-Benz SL is now in its 7th generation, and is responsible for one of the most iconic lineages in automotive history. Aside from cars like the Porsche 911, the Mercedes-Benz SL is a name that was originally steeped in racing history, and in more recent times, has made a name for itself as one of the best grand tourers in the business. Unfortunately, over its rich history, there is bound to be at least one generation that disappoints - we won't say which generation, but let's just say that the new SL55 AMG is a much improved one than before.

Built on an all new platform that it shares with the AMG GT Coupe, the SL feels like a completely different animal to its predecessor - en pointe with styling, and sure footed on the road. While it has gone back to being a soft top convertible to save some weight, the car feels stiffer overall, and feels like a car that is keen to flex its performance car pedigree as much as its innate flair and elegance. It is unfortunate that Singapore does not seem to be getting the full fat SL63 AMG, but the 55 does a brilliant job at being the middle child in the 63's absence from the Singapore market. Truthfully, put the average person in the car, and they'd never imagine that the 55 is only the second most powerful SL in the stable.

More Technology for a New Era

Just like the R230 from the early 2000s, the current R232 seems set to be a trend setter, and features a whole new bunch of tech bits and features that are the first in any SL model in history. For starters, the SL55 AMG is the first SL ever to be fitted with all wheel drive, which in some circles, make it an appealing track day option to complement its days spent as a topless lifestyle cruiser. On the more mundane side of life, the SL55 AMG is also the first SL to be fitted with rear wheel steering, a trend that is making its way into much of the Mercedes-Benz lineup. It is unclear though, if the inclusion of rear wheel steering on the SL55 AMG is a performance driven one, or one that is meant to aid civilian, day to day life. Either way, it's a welcome addition.

Elsewhere, the SL also features a warm air curtain that blows from the back of your neck, a feature that is no doubt pleasant for our European counterparts in colder climates - but perhaps a little lost on us. That said, other luxury features like ventilated seats are a welcome inclusion, and one that cannot be understated - considering that there are many other luxury cars in the market that do not include this feature. If you're a fan of topless driving - and by that I mean driving with the roof down, you'll be pleased to know that the SL's soft top roof mechanism takes just 15 seconds to complete its cycle, and is operational at speeds of up to 60km/h, which is mighty impressive.

An Absolute Joy to Drive

Armed with an AMG built 4.0 litre twin turbocharged V8 engine that is mated to a 9 speed AMG Speedshift transmission, it is no surprise that the SL55 AMG is quick. The stiffer chassis and all wheel drive also make the SL55 AMG a very dynamic car to drive that handles much better than its predecessor. However, these are not reasons why I enjoyed driving the SL55 AMG.

In many ways, if you wanted a car that was quick and handled beautifully, there are many other performance cars you could buy - but none that balances the lifestyle part of luxury car ownership with the performance parts quite as well as the SL55 AMG does. After chucking the car around for a couple of hours, I decided that I was better off cruising with the SL55 AMG instead of revving the engine to the high heavens, swapping out the aggressive heavy footedness for a softer, unhurried acceleration, allowing the revs to build up slowly and gradually. It is there that the beauty of AMG V8 is found - bellowing a deep, creamy, and assured tune from its quad tail pipes. When applied over long distances, the SL55 AMG is a dream to drive and an experience to savour. Just like a good movie needs a good soundtrack, the SL55 AMG is a Spielberg movie with a Hans Zimmer score.

Who will it Appeal to?

For all the technology and performance found in the SL55 AMG, the real party piece has to lie in the fact that the SL55 AMG doesn't seem to take life too seriously. It wants you to take your time, to make an entrance, and to sound god damn beautiful while doing it all. If you're a fan of a screaming V10, I'd stay away from this car - but if you appreciate that powerful cars don't necessarily have to be driven fast to be cool, the SL55 AMG is a perfect car for your repertoire.


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