Mercedes introduced a new SL-Class in 2021. The car remains a small two-seater with plenty of power under the hood and gets a retractable soft-top roof. But how does it compare to a tuned SL from almost 20 years ago? A new video from Carwow answers that question by competing against them.
The 2004 SL55 R230 is powered by a supercharged 5.5 liter V8 engine. It produced 493 horsepower (361 kilowatts) and 516 pound-feet (700 Newton meters) of torque from the factory. However, the owner tuned this specimen to 625 hp (459 kW). Power is sent to the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission and it weighs 1,885 kilograms.
The new R232 SL55 makes significantly less power, which produces 476 hp (350 kW) but the same torque. The new SL is also heavier, weighing 4,299 lbs (1,950 kg). However, its nine-speed automatic transmission with launch control and four-wheel drive gives it a clear advantage that is noticeable from the very first run down the runway.
The newer ones AMG SL55 shot off the line leaving his older self struggling for traction early in the race. However, once the 2004 SL got going, it stayed stable on the newer Cabriolet. However, it was too far back to close the gap. The new SL completed the quarter mile in 11.5 seconds, the older one needed 12.3.
The 2004 SL performed better in the rolling races, nearly beating the newer example in the first fight. It lost second but won third by starting in second gear. The new SL didn’t stand a chance and fell back over the half mile during the race while the older one caught up at the end. The final brake test from 70 miles per hour (112 kilometers per hour) went to the new car and showed how much braking technology has improved after almost two decades.
Consumers aren’t flocking to sports cars like they used to, spending their money on more useful vehicles like crossovers and SUVs. The SL became a Mercedes A staple since the 1950s, and the latest iteration carries that torch on.