We’ve got our hands on the all-new Mercedes-AMG SL 55, and it’s about to go head-to-head over the quarter-mile against a classic SL 55 from 2004!
New Mercedes-AMG SL 55 VS Old AMG SL 55 Drag Race
It’s an old car, there’s no denying that, and in typical Mercedes-Benz fashion, it’s quite a bit more affordable nowadays. Notoriously hard and expensive to fix, the R230 in this particular specification used to retail at £90,000 back in the day, which is $109,200 at current exchange rates. Currently going for about £30,000 ($36,400) or thereabouts, the R230-generation 55 is rocking a different engine and gearbox from the R232.
Different as in antiquated, that is, although the supercharged M113K sounds much better than the twin-turbocharged M177 in the newcomer. The K in M113K stands for compressor. From a displacement of 5.4 liters, the V8 bruiser produces up to 517 ps (510 hp) and 720 Nm (531 pound-feet) of torque between 2,600 and 4,000 revolutions per minute, stock. Mat Watson of Carwow quotes lesser figures, though, namely the output figures of the pre-2006 facelift: 500 ps (493 hp) and 700 Nm (516 lb-ft).
But as the headline implies, this R230 isn’t stock. This fellow actually makes 625 ponies at the crankshaft, whereas peak torque is a mystery. Tipping the scales at 1,885 kilograms (4,156 pounds), the two generations older SL features a five-speed automatic and good ol’ rear-wheel drive.
Moving on to the R232, the 55 series currently weighs 1,950 kilograms (4,299 pounds) and comes with all-wheel drive. That should make a huge difference from a dig, but more on that later. It also features a proper soft top as opposed to the retractable hard top of the R230, and the nine-speed automatic transmission is a multi-clutch unit with a wet start-off clutch replacing the torque converter. Not only does it reduce weight, but the slightly lower inertia optimizes response during spurts and load changes.
Under the hood, you’ll find the M177 wet-sump V8 as opposed to the dry-sump M178 that Mercedes-AMG used in the now-discontinued GT Coupe and GT Roadster. Fret not because the GT Coupe will come back as the SL’s coupe-bodied cousin. The switch to the all-new SL’s platform also means the switch from dual-clutch gearbox to auto and RWD to AWD.
Good for 476 ps (469 horsies) and 700 Nm (516 pound-feet) between 2,250 and 4,500 revolutions per minute, the R232-generation 55 is noticeably quicker off the line, needing 3.9 seconds to reach 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) in ideal conditions. Although not as fast as the R230-generation 55, the more technologically-advanced heir apparent won’t stop accelerating ‘til 295 kilometers per hour (183 mph).
On that note, how do 11.5 seconds in the quarter mile sound to you? Not bad for such a heavy car, especially not the range-topping variant of the SL. The modified R230, on the other hand, couldn’t do better than 12.3 clicks.