I always forget how good the SL is. Yeah, it's expensive, but it's also impeccably engineered and executed. The 5.5-liter V-8 in the base SL550 is an absolute monster - it's all the power anyone needs. (The twin-turbo V-12 SL600 and SL65 AMG suffer from too much lag, and the chassis can't cope with the torque. The SL63 AMG needs loads of revs to deliver more thrust than the 550, so unless you can't live without its sound, it's just not worth the extra money.) I just wish the exhaust weren't so wheezy - "Hey, that thing got a Hoover under the hood?"
Active Body Control (ABC) never ceases to amaze me with its ability to completely eliminate body motions. It's an artificial feeling, mind you, that makes you feel like you're in a go-kart... but it results in some pretty stunning performance capability.
AirScarf is awesome; I just wish the seat heaters were as powerful. They're weak, and worse, they automatically drop down to lower settings after a few minutes. I want BMW-style butt-roasters for this kind of money.
The SL's electronic brakes still irk me with difficult modulation. And if you try to drive the SL quickly through traffic, you'll find the 7-speed automatic recalcitrant and slow to react. But driven not in anger, there are few convertibles more elegant than a Mercedes-Benz SL.
Jason Cammisa, West Coast Editor