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The Mercedes SLR Is A Supercar Bargain

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Over a decade later, the Silver-Starred McLaren is far more accessible than its contemporaries.

The next round of hypercars – like the Valkyrie and AMG One – are going to be ridiculously expensive. And the last round of hybrids are still trading hands for mega bucks. So if you don't have millions to spend, but are still dead-set on putting a top-shelf supercar in your driveway, you could either go a little down-market – to something like a Lamborghini Aventador or Ferrari 812 Superfast – or go back a few years to one of the flagships launched in the previous decade. And we're here to make the case for the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

Patrick Ernzen via RM Sotheby’s
Patrick Ernzen via RM Sotheby’s
Patrick Ernzen via RM Sotheby’s

Around 2002-2003, Ferrari launched the Enzo, Porsche rolled out the Carrera GT, and Mercedes parlayed its Formula One partnership with McLaren to produce the SLR. The resulting machine was somewhat compromised between Stuttgart's taste for luxury and Woking's penchant performance, but it was still one of the most exotic supercars ever to wear the Silver Star.

Its 5.4-liter supercharged V8 was good for 617 horsepower and 575 lb-ft of torque – more than the SLS that followed or any version of the AMG GT to date – (regrettably) mated to a five-speed automatic, and nestled in the front half of a carbon monocoque chassis.

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Patrick Ernzen via RM Sotheby’s
Patrick Ernzen via RM Sotheby’s
Patrick Ernzen via RM Sotheby’s

Though not as focused as its contemporaries, the SLR could still rocket to 60 mph in the low threes and cross continents at upwards of 200 mph (conditions and laws permitting). It was also produced in far greater numbers: 2,157 examples, all told – nearly twice that of the Porsche, and over five times as many as the Ferrari. But the upshot is that, over a decade later, SLRs are far more accessible on the second-hand market. Where a Carrera GT will set you back around $700k and an Enzo upwards of a million, you can pick up an SLR for around $300k.

Patrick Ernzen via RM Sotheby’s
Patrick Ernzen via RM Sotheby’s
Patrick Ernzen via RM Sotheby’s

A bit more for some of the rarer evolutions of the species that followed, like the 722 or the Stirling Moss speedster. But RM Sotheby's estimates this 2006 coupe, with 5,400 miles on the clock, will sell for $250-300k when it crosses the block in Scottsdale next month. That's about as much as you'd pay for a new (and far more ubiquitous) Ferrari 488 or Lamborghini Huracan. But even with a couple thousand made, you're less likely to encounter another SLR on the road... and the Benz is bound to appreciate to greater value. (Photos by Patrick Ernzen for RM Sotheby's.)

Patrick Ernzen via RM Sotheby’s
Patrick Ernzen via RM Sotheby’s
Patrick Ernzen via RM Sotheby’s
Patrick Ernzen via RM Sotheby’s

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