Long ago, the Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG was the fastest car in the world with an automatic transmission. That was back in the early 2000s, and the title was short-lived once the Mercedes SLR McLaren hit the road. But this video showing the old R230 SL-Class devouring the Autobahn reminds us of just what a monster it used to be.
Launched for the 2003 model year, the SL 55 featured a 5.4-liter V8 engine with a supercharger. That makes 493 horsepower in stock trim, which is very formidable figure for the time. Coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission, the car can reach 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds and is electronically limited to 155 mph. With the speed limiter gone, the top speed is over 180 mph. These are still impressive numbers today, so you can imagine what it was like 20 years ago.
SL 55 featured in this new one AutoTopNL out of stock videos. It’s said to have 630 hp from its V8, and while specific modifications are listed, it’s safe to assume an improved exhaust system is in the mix. This Mercedes-Benz sounds pretty bad with a pinned gas pedal, and we mean gross in the best possible way. This luxury coupe sounds like a legit muscle car during the many accelerations made during this video.
Right now, we’d normally focus on the vehicle’s top speed, but this time, the real takeaway was the sound. There are two reasons for this, with the first just sounds really good. Anyone with an inkling desire for internal combustion power can appreciate the music from this V8. Electric cars are undoubtedly fast, and they make an interesting sound to appreciate. But the days will come when V8 soundtracks like this become a rarity. So enjoy it while it lasts.
The second reason is that the Merc obviously never reaches its top speed. This stretch of infinite highway isn’t crowded with traffic, but there seems to be just enough congestion to keep the right speed out of reach. Of the various attempts made, the second was the fastest with a speed shown below 290 km/h. That means 180 mph, and the speedometer was still going up aggressively at that.
So sit back, listen and enjoy a healthy, high-powered Mercedes SL-Class doing its job. There are worse ways to pass the time.