The R230 SL has to be one of the prettiest modern-era Mercedes. Yes, the 2008 facelift was awkwardly angular, but up until that point, the fifth-gen SL was a masterpiece of classy understatement.
Even the amped-up AMG versions looked elegant, whether you went for the V8 or the V12. The former made more sense, of course - it was lighter, significantly cheaper, and more than fast enough, with circa 500bhp developed by a supercharged 5.4, later a nat-asp 6.2. But if you were happy with what amounted to a depreciation bomb of thermonuclear proportions, the range-topping SL65 was quite a proposition.
Under its long bonnet lived a 6.0-litre ‘M275’ twin-turbo engine, good for 604bhp and 737lb ft (or 1000Nm) of torque - the latter figure electronically limited to protect the five-speed automatic gearbox. And probably to limit bills for new rear tyres.
Straight-line performance was plentiful. Car and Driver famously obliterated the car’s stock acceleration figures during the publication’s testing regime, hitting 60mph in 3.6 seconds and 100mph in just 7.5.
Back in July 2004, the original owner of the SL65 you see here spent £151,239.19 on his order, which included options like fancier ventilated seats and Designo Single-tone leather upholstery. Our favourite option is the ‘Almandine Black Metallic’ dark purple paintwork - a finish you don’t often see on these.
Adjusted for inflation, the original cost of all that was £234,000. Yep, getting on for a quarter of a million quid. Having covered just 13,622 miles since new, the cost per mile in depreciation alone to run this thing will be absurd.
You can take advantage of that, potentially bagging this no-doubt fresh-feeling SL65 for around a fifth or sixth of its original inflation-adjusted purchase price. It’s available via Silverstone Auctions’ online-only May sale with an estimate £40,000 - £50,000.