One of the first issues readers bring up when I write these articles is the fact that the featured cars are often expensive to maintain and repair when out of warranty. While that may be somewhat true for this clean and Miata-cheap Mercedes-Benz SL600, a quick rundown of facts would render those concerns moot. Allow me to enlighten you.
This 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL600 is all the car you’ll ever need. Actually, that’s not technically true because there may come at a time when you need to take more than one person on your quest to nut-kick the sunrise. The storage space in the trunk after the sizable folding hardtop is stored isn’t anything to write home about, but if we’re honest, if you’re writing home about a retractable hard top, the only thing opening your mail will be your cat.
The near-500 horsepower, V12 Mercedes-Benz SL600 produces more torque than five Smart cars daisy chained together and it’s one of the most comfortable convertibles to grace God’s slightly warming Earth. It’s the best car to get in and drive for absolutely no reason at all.
Simply put, it’s a car you get for your mental health, and that beats any daily driver for practicality because although you could probably cram some groceries in this car if you had to, there’s no way you’d be able to make it to your local Shop Rite after going insane.
What the Mercedes-Benz SL—specifically this model—represents is the best the model has ever looked, in my frank opinion. Every line is gorgeous. Its AMG package bumpers give it just enough aggressiveness that you won’t be shunned from any exotic car rally, and Charger Hellcat owners won’t accuse you of bringing your grandmother’s car to the racetrack. Well, they probably won’t.
At a price that rivals that of a base model Mazda Miata in hairdresser spec, this car is the value of the century. As I write this, I can already hear the angry fingers typing the word “warranty.” Here’s why you’re all wrong.
This car has an available aftermarket warranty. I have no idea if it’s realistically as comprehensive as a factory warranty or even one offered by the insane people at CarMax, but with enough money, I’m sure one could theoretically get a warranty on a flood-damaged Bugatti Veyron.
Here’s what the dealer has to say about the car’s coverage:
A QUICK WORD ON OUR WARRANTIES, WE DO NOT OFFER SOME BUDGET COVERAGE JUST TO BE ABLE TO SELL A CAR “WITH A WARRANTY”. WE USE A COMPANY CALLED OWNER GUARD THAT WILL ACTUALLY COVER YOUR COSTS AND ALLOW YOU TO BRING YOUR CAR TO THE MERCEDES DEALERSHIP SHOULD A PROBLEM OCCUR. THIS COVERAGE MIRRORS THE FACTORY WARRANTY SO YOU CAN REST ASSURED THAT IF YOU HAVE AN ISSUE YOU CAN BRING YOUR SL RIGHT TO THE DEALERSHIP AND HAVE THEM HANDLE THE REPAIRS.
The issue with most people is what happens when you’re out of warranty, as I assume any prospective buyer would want to actually drive this car. If you opt out of a warranty, this car has a few issues that could be costly—one being the engine two-coil packs, prone to failure after prolonged use, priced at $1,500 each. On top of that, the car’s hydro-pneumatic ABC suspension, if neglected, could produce error codes that may require replacement of costly components.
While these issues aren’t as prevalent as, say, a red ring of death on an Xbox 360, it would be wise to set aside a few shekels in case the fan gets a light dusting of shit. I would have the car put on a dealer-level diagnostic scanner to see if its various modules need repair or replacement.
As with any used exotic car, money spent now would go a long way to not having to scramble for funds in the future, and as I’ve written about in the past, research is priceless.
Those things aside, this thing should run forever with regular maintenance. It’s a simple three valve V12 engine with two large turbochargers that aren’t prone to puking their seals if the oil is changed within a reasonable amount of time. I’d probably change the wheels as a point of aesthetics, but other than that, it’s one of the cleanest and best-priced examples of a Mercedes-Benz SL600 on the market.
It’s insanely fast when pushed and has every amenity you’d expect in a brand new Mercedes-Benz, barring perhaps the ungainly bird-looking front fascia that Mercs are sporting today.
I’ll own one as soon as I figure out how to charge Jalopnik every time I use a hyphen. I suggest you beat me to it.