Reviews & Gear

Product and software reviews.

SL55 AMG V8 Kompressor

When it comes to roadsters, one of my all-time favorites has always been the Mercedes 190SL. It’s one of the most beautiful cars in history and an icon of the late 50s. “SL” stands for “Sport Leicht” in German, or “Sport Light”. I’ve always found the name to be odd; the SL class was pretty quick to become a grand tourer, and not a lightweight sports car. Steve Jobs drove a Silver SL55 AMG, just in case you were interested.

This car chews through rear tyres—you’ll be lucky to get 10,000 miles out of a set. The torque is so high, that just pootling around you’ll be depositing more rubber than a typical hatchback would do if you raced one every day for a year. Its 2-tonne doesn’t help with that. However, when you press the loud pedal, and it is loud, the car feels very nimble. It really throws its weight around very well, but it is not a sports car. A superb tourer, really.


With the hard top up, the car feels like a standard coupe. Mine had the superb panoramic roof, which meant that cabin was always light. Roof off, nothing really beats driving a convertible around country lanes. Especially one with a V8 soundtrack.

The brakes are expensive, and should the hydraulic suspension (which is very cool) fail you, it’s around £1k per corner to fix. But then, the car was £100K new, so what do you expect? Superb stopping power, superb going power… this car is one of those I have very fond memories of and am glad to have driven > 15,000 miles with her.