I've put 6,000 miles on this car since I bought it 6 months ago. Now at 76,000 miles. The SL55 has been a reliable daily driver even though I've driven it very hard, including a track day. It is not as comfy as my previous 4-passenger E class, but is one heck of a lot quicker. While not a sports car due to its weight, the 55 handles well and is deceptively fast. Turn off the stability control and the car is very entertaining on a twisty road. Just don't try that on wet pavement. With the hard top up, it feels as solid as a real coupe. Top down, it's a true convertible with very little wind blast in the cabin. I bought a full aftermarket warranty to manage repair costs, but haven't had occasion to make a claim, yet.
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.
One man one engine, retractable hardtop, overall comfort, simple luxury combined with massive power. Everything considered highway cruising may approach 20 mpg. Of course, consumption can drop under 10 or 5 (That's why the reserve comes on so early in this car) ease off so you can get to fuel
Less electronic control of the power to road application, DVD nav (came in next model year)
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.
This car has it all; performance of a supercar, beautiful in and out, luxury, hardtop and convertible. Drive it only in Manual Mode and the suspension and transmission rivals race cars yet it is so full of luxury and a convertible of hard top for winter or foul weather.
Manual mode transmission, torque, style and convertible to hardtop in 28 seconds - incredible.
Fuel economy if possible. Interior should have some wood or the relavant material on the dash - well integrated.
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.