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A (very) good friend lent me his SL63AMG for a week. Its top spec etc. After a week driving this is what I think vs the R8

1. Ease of use. SL much more of a daily drive narrower and much more normal feeling. Suspension is softer even in sports mode and engine sound while much sexier is less harsh. 100% daily drive while I think R8 60% at best.
2. Quality: materials feel better in SL leather etc no plastic anywhere except fuel filler cap (disappointing). Also sound system much better then B&O in R8
3. Engine: lots more torque in AMG feels a lot more powerful (well it is…) but R8 feels stronger once you cross the 5K RPM mark.
4. Driving ability: this is where the R8 wins hands down R8 just stuck to the road no roll you feel like it’s on train tracks. SL rolls a lot more doesn’t stick to the road nearly as well and you feel much less confident in its ability to be brisk on a challenging mountain road.
5. X factor: SL feels like a normal cal with a massive engine you don’t feel special driving it in the R8 every time I drive it feels special. On the flip side R8 gets a lot more attention which I personally don’t like.

Ill choose the R8 over the SL any day but not sure its the right choice for everyone.
 

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Thanks for that insightful report. I have not driven an SL63AMG, but your comments are kind of in line with what I might have suspected from other MB hi-perf. drives and from the design limitations. Also, watching the AMG pace and safety cars @ the Nurburgring during the '05 European GP, I was quite taken with the sights and sounds of those big performance v8's and how they sounded and, remotely I grant, behaved a little like American "Pony/Muscle Cars" of the Golden Era of US performance cars. MB lovers, don't take offence, I know they're MUCH better!

Engineering can do a huge amount to nullify the effects of a BIG engine up front in a rear driver, but it cannot erase it entirely, at lease without creating a race car kind of ride, IMHO. You might say the same thing, in reverse, so to speak, about the 911 Turbos.

The R8 has a huge inherent design advantage here because it, in effect, started with a clean sheet of paper (actually, the Lambo designs prefigured it) and chose the inherently better layout, from the driving dynamics standpoint. In some minor ways, one might concede, the execution is slighly hampered (at least in some esthetic parameters)by a lower budget than the MB obviously enjoys. But that is part of the design genius of the R8. They brought in the absolute BEST in driving dynamics, without resorting to stratospheric pricing.

EVERY device is the product of engineering compromise! In fact, that is where engineering and art really part company: engineering compromises art in the, hopefully, best possible way to effect the usable end result.
 

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When I got my R8 in January 2008, I sent my SL55 down to Florida to use as my vacation car.

Over the ensuing year, every time I went down to Florida and drove the Mercedes, I found it less and less enjoyable. What had once seemed a very buttoned-down handler began to feel more and more like a powerful but seriously overweight cruiser. I also noted a pronounced looseness in the body and chassis of a car that had once seemed rock solid.

Another big difference -- engineering and build quality. My R8 was a nightmare the first few months, being in the shop four times in the first three weeks for various electronic component problems and twice more for a gas filler cap that would not open (finally resolved by snipping off the retainer strap). But in the ensuing year, the car has been absolutely problem-free (if you don't count scraping the front lip on every driveway entrance in Chicago).

The Mercedes, on the other hand, racked up more shop visits over a 4-year period than any car I have owned, including two brake system failures, a burned-out hytraulic pump, window motor failures, shifter lockout mechanism breakage, A/C compressor leak, seat heater failure, ad nauseum.

In a nutshell, the R8 has gotten me used to a level of tautness and handling finesse that I doubt I will ever see in another car. In a sense, it has left me depressed that the best of my car owning experience will be over once I put this part of my driving life behind me. I've had some nice cars over the years, but I've had nothing remotely like this car.
 

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Thanks for your comparison and thoughts.

I also looked at the Mercedes SL. I drove the 2009 SL65, the AMG V12 version. It had lots of torque and power. It was smooth riding. It rolled in the turns and felt very heavy in handling. It looks very similar to all the other SL's out there. I know it depends on where you are, but I see at least 5-15 SL's a day and usually at least one or two of them is an AMG. Way too common for my tastes.

The R8 is much more refined when it comes to handling. It has less HP and torque, but still plenty fast to get you in trouble. Definetly an attention getter. Most people seldom, if ever have seen them in person.

They are completely different cars and appeal to different crowds. Each to their own and that is why we have such a large selection of vehicles to choose from.
 

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My wife and I went together to pick up our (non-AMG) SL from the dealership were it had been serviced. My wife (a former racing driver as some of you may remember) asked the sales manager about the AMG.

I forget the model identifications, but she started with the less powerful model and asked whether it would be faster than my R8. The answer was negative.

She then asked the same question for the more powerful model and the answer remained negative.

An R8 is simply faster than an AMG SL, and handles better.

An SL has an open roof (I just spend EUR 4,300 to get the thing repaired BTW...) and the R8 doesn't. The SL is kind of easier to drive in town but I don't particularly like the way it drives.
 

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Sold our SL65 AMG not too long ago...drove and felt like a tank compared to the R8.
 

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I was thinking about what car to get after the R8. Briefly considered the SL63 but ruled it out. Only 4 choices that I can think of: Lambo, Ferrari, R8 V10, upcoming SLS AMG. The SLS is a may be because Mercedes knows how to make powerful engine but not sports car chasis/handling.
 

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Interesting thread. We're debating on our next car: SL63 or Aston Martin DBS.

SL63 pros: looks great (IMO), coupe/convertible
SL63 cons: overall reliability? new MCT transmission problems? handling/weight?

I guess a test drive will determine everything.
 

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I was thinking about what car to get after the R8. Briefly considered the SL63 but ruled it out. Only 4 choices that I can think of: Lambo, Ferrari, R8 V10, upcoming SLS AMG. The SLS is a may be because Mercedes knows how to make powerful engine but not sports car chasis/handling.
Just pick up a Pagani Zonda and you will have your AMG with a good chassis.
 

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Are you kidding????? If you can get (and afford) a DBS go for it! Exclusive...beautiful...even if not that reliable :) I would love to be able to have an AM but I'll have to make due with the R8 V10....I expect I'll be happy enough :) :)
Steve
 

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This will revive an old thread.

Just handed back a rental SL63 (here in Beirut) with the 030 Performance Package (speed delimited to 186 mph, stiffer ABC, rear LSD, bigger brakes, lighter (and nicer) wheels and smaller steering wheel).

It was a blast to drive and 10 x better than the normal SL63 (better suspension IMO). Almost no body roll but still not the handling/nimbleness of the R8.

That being said, I'd pick the SL for everyday over the R8.

R8's r-tronic tranny at low speed is pitiful. It's also harder to get in/out.
 

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When I got my R8 in January 2008, I sent my SL55 down to Florida to use as my vacation car.

Over the ensuing year, every time I went down to Florida and drove the Mercedes, I found it less and less enjoyable. What had once seemed a very buttoned-down handler began to feel more and more like a powerful but seriously overweight cruiser. I also noted a pronounced looseness in the body and chassis of a car that had once seemed rock solid.

Another big difference -- engineering and build quality. My R8 was a nightmare the first few months, being in the shop four times in the first three weeks for various electronic component problems and twice more for a gas filler cap that would not open (finally resolved by snipping off the retainer strap). But in the ensuing year, the car has been absolutely problem-free (if you don't count scraping the front lip on every driveway entrance in Chicago).

The Mercedes, on the other hand, racked up more shop visits over a 4-year period than any car I have owned, including two brake system failures, a burned-out hytraulic pump, window motor failures, shifter lockout mechanism breakage, A/C compressor leak, seat heater failure, ad nauseum.

In a nutshell, the R8 has gotten me used to a level of tautness and handling finesse that I doubt I will ever see in another car. In a sense, it has left me depressed that the best of my car owning experience will be over once I put this part of my driving life behind me. I've had some nice cars over the years, but I've had nothing remotely like this car.
Aside from your quality issues (this is the first car I have had in 5 years that ha snot had a single thing go wrong) I agree with what you say.I normally keep cars 6 months but I have had the r8 for 2 years now.When buying it I drove the new m3,the 430 ,gallardo, and chose it above them,Recently I have tested the entire gen 2 rangeof 911's ,the maserati granturismo s,the new 500bhp jag xkr and the nissan gtr,and the v10 r8.
I don't want to change it.The v10 is tempting but I see no real world benefit of its extra perfromance here in the uk.It is also not quite as agile carrying an extra 150 kg.
Only the porsche gt3 has tempted me,it is the only car I have driven that I would change for,and even then It does not have the sexinesss of the r8 and is more uncomfortable for daily use.
 

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!50 KG or 150 pounds ?? Both are hefty amounts that anyone would notice while driving spiritedly . :)
 

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The R8 is an agile Capucin monkey that's able to run on a 1 mm cord while texting his buddies to meet up for a cold beer and looking back at the cute capucin monkey girl that just passed by.

The SL63 (with 030) is a silver back gorilla that ... whatever silver back gorillas do ...
 
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