Least reliable vehicle I have ever experienced. Needs frequent, unscheduled visits to repair shop. A car's first priority should be quality and reliability. This car fails in that regard. 500 hp is irrelevant if the car is sitting once again in the dealer's repair shop.
I've always wanted a supercar, a 2-seater and a convertible. We got all three and got it in this car. I've always enjoyed driving, have favored Mercedes over other brands once I started buying them. I had Audi and BMW top line cars in the past and the final kicker than makes the Benz best for me (besides being able to handle my 1.97 m height)is superior quality and service. The M-B people have always taken exceptional care of my cars and I am a fussy one. Buying a 2004 model, the only real limitation I did not pay enough attention to was the dated transmission, it does not shift responsively enough with that motor and especially with the steering wheel buttons/early paddle shifters.
I have owned Ferrari, other AMG Mercedes, several SL500's, Corvette's, and I would divorce my wife before giving up this car for any reason. I can't wait to go to work in the morning to drive down the winding grade I live on top of, and going up is just as exhilarating. This is the best car I have ever owned. I also own the S550 and never drive it....why would I?
I absolutely love this car! Many times in the past year, I've hated it, too. I've had numerous dealer visits ranging from minor adjustments all the way up to replaced superchargers. My dealer always takes care of me! It's way over-engineered, but again that's what I thrive on as well. There's something great about driving literally the fastest, best handling car on the road, and then there's that level of AMG exclusivity too...I attended the Ultimate AMG Challenge Fall '04 in Germany and was fortunate to meet the one technician who assembled my car's engine.
The best combination of any car ever built. It's a sports car (use only the manual transmission and the steering wheel metal gear changers); it's a luxury car with a sports car or luxury car suspension; it can cruise mildly or attack corners; it's beautiful (silver ties whole car together); it's a hardtop for foul weather and winter and a convertible - incredible. There may be better cars for any one item but none with this combination at such a high level.