The previous-generation Mercedes SL-Class has gracefully aged like a fine wine, but don’t let this car’s virtually standard design trick you into believing it’s entirely stock. When the fifth-gen SL-Class (R230) was still around, the SL 55 AMG was electronically capped at 155 mph (250 kph) and Mercedes loosened up the limiter to enable a maximum velocity of 186 mph (300 kph) at an additional cost. As for this car, see the video above and witness how it almost breaks the 200-mph barrier.
How is that even possible? Well, this 2005 example is no ordinary SL 55 AMG as it got rid of the limiter and was modified to put down 525 horsepower at the rear wheels through its five-speed automatic transmission. Torque is rated at a more than generous 625 pound-feet (847 Newton-meters) in a car that isn’t exactly light considering it weighs 4235 pounds (1,920 kilograms).
Pump up the volume to hear the raspy soundtrack provided by the supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine as the roadster goes from 0 to nearly 200 mph (322 kph). We’d be curious to see how a completely stock SL 55 AMG with the factory 510 hp and 531 lb-ft (720 Nm) at the crank would fare in this top speed test on the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds (JBPG) runway in Merritt Island, Florida.
This is an ideal location to push a car to the max since the runway is considered as being the widest and flattest in the world. At three miles, the concrete runway is also one of the longest and has an extra 1000 feet of asphalt on each end. Someone with a Bugatti Chiron should take the W16 monster and give it the beans to make those 1,500 horses do their thing.
Getting back to this lovely rear-wheel-drive SL 55 AMG, it’s mighty impressive what a 14-year-old car is capable of, even after taking into consideration it’s been modified while still remaining perfectly fine for street use.