Mercedes-Benz SL550

    Rain or shine, the hardtop convertible SL550 is fit to handle anything. But the big news for 2010 was the return of the Gullwing doors for the SLS AMG, so the SL-Class model line has taken a bit of a backseat. An all-new SL is still a couple of years away, so Mercedes-Benz chose to give its regular roadsters a slight design refresh last year. All models wear a dominant single-bar grille with a Frisbee-size Mercedes emblem. Inside, a sporty three-spoke steering wheel adds some welcome pizzazz. The SL550 boasts an ultrasmooth 7-speed automatic gearbox, which is connected to a 5.5-liter V-8 that makes 382 hp—and that’s the base model. For more exhilarating hair-drying experiences, there are the racy SL63 AMG, the gentleman’s-express SL600, the absurdly fast SL65 AMG with its 518-hp engine.

    Pros:
    With its retractable hardtop roof, the SL is still the luxury roadster of choice.
    Cons: Commonplace on Pacific Coast Highway.

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