Classic Mercedes SL300 convertible v brand new C63 AMG coupé Black Series

The paths to a motoring thrill-seeker's heart are many and this month Ade Holder takes two Mercedes for a spin that lie to either extreme of any proverbial fence.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2012

The paths to a motoring thrill-seeker’s heart are many and this month Ade Holder takes two Mercedes for a spin that lie to either extreme of any proverbial fence. Surrey Life’s resident petrolhead puts a classic Mercedes SL300 convertible and the brand new C63 AMG coup� Black Series through their paces

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Back to the 80s

Road testing brand new cars is fantastic: trying out the new innovations in economy, power, safety and a multitude of gadgets is always going to be one of the key reasons someone such as myself writes about cars.

However, when I got a rather humble e-mail from the super-friendly folk at the SL Shop in Godalming (a new satellite garage of the midlands firm of the same name), I saw a chance to take a spin in something a little different.

Picture this: it’s the late 80s, you have just been enjoying a picnic of various pre-hummus delights and you are thinking about heading home to catch another gripping episode of Howards’ Way – that you hope the video timer managed to record properly…

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What would be the perfect car in which to float across the Surrey Hills? Well, you could not go far wrong with a classic Mercedes SL300 convertible.

These days, you can hire pretty much any car to take you to and from your wedding venue, but that seemed to be where it stopped. Not any more.

The SL shop want you to hire this wonderful car just for fun: you don’t need to be getting married; you really don’t need an excuse at all. It’s yours for the day, the weekend, or perhaps a whole week!

Despite it rolling out of the factory when I was aged nine, the SL has lost none of its charm, presence or general wheel appeal.

The leather and walnut interior makes you feel like you’re a TV detective along the lines of Bergerac, and the engine; well, if you think this car is just for wafting you would be wrong. The three litre straight six still packs quite a punch.

Don’t get me wrong; you can cruise about enjoying the warm burble emanating from the twin exhaust pipes, but if you feel like being a little more heavy-footed, you will not be disappointed, especially with the roof down.

Clearly, I loved this car and the fact this service exists, but I wanted to find out a female perspective. So I drafted in my far from reluctant other half, Caroline, and her sister who was visiting from Miami.

They took the car for a slightly clich�d shopping trip to Richmond upon Thames and the verdict was very good; very good indeed. Opinion validated.

For more information on hiring a classic car from SL Shop, Godalming, visit 24-hour hire starts from �165.

Fast forward to 2012

Regular readers of Surrey Life may recall my various exploits at the famous Mercedes-Benz World track in Weybridge.

First, it was the stunning F1 safety car, the SLS, then the very subtle looking but brutally powerful C63 coup�.

Well, this time, I was invited to go and drive the most raucous car the team at MBW have apparently ever had there, the C63 AMG coup� Black Series.

When Mercedes make a fast car like the C63, they also like to just push things a little further in a limited run of their Black Series specials. This particular incarnation is no exception, and with only 66 cars coming over to the UK out of the total run of 600 globally, it was a rare treat too.

The Black Series clearly looks considerably more fiery than the other cars on offer with its racing spoiler and carbon diffuser, the super-wide wheel arches and muscular bonnet ridges, and it doesn’t stop there.

The Black Series uses the same 6.3 litre AMG V8 you will find in a number of AMG models, but with extra tuning and tinkering it flies to 60mph in just 4.2 seconds.

With encouragement from an instructor on one of Mercedes-Benz World’s driving experiences, you can actually get to try this gut-wrenching turn of pace – just make sure you are ready for how fast it can stop, too!

It is about this time you might just notice that this car makes about the most volcanic noise you will ever hear shy of a drag strip.

As your friends, or very generous better halves, sit having a coffee watching you enjoy yourself, you can be safe in the knowledge you and the Black Series are the only thing they are listening to.

This is a must for anyone who wants to really feel what it’s like to drive a powerful car, but the Black Series is also a must for people who think they’ve experienced it all! 

For more on the driving experiences run by Mercedes-Benz World in Weybridge, visit their website at The C 63 AMG Coup� Black Series Driving Experience costs �250.

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