The Dark Knight of Knightsbridge


Under London’s grey sky, I sidled up to the office to take delivery of my shiny new Mercedes SL 350. Although shiny isn’t actually the right word. Nor is it correctly known as ‘matt’, as the rep kindly informed us. And indeed, I had to sign an indemnity clause regarding anything to do with this extra special designo magno paint job that adds a noticeable increase to the price tag (an extra £3,636 to be precise). The model was the ‘Night Edition’ which meant that it was black as night, but in a non-metallic kind of way. Sleek, smooth and sophisticated. In contrast, however, you could definitely call the 19” AMG 5-spoke alloy wheel design with its light titanium-grey high sheen finish, ‘shiny’. They stood out, gleaming against the glum weather above us.


I decided to test this chic little number out ‘in town’. And she faired very well. Although it was raining, meaning I couldn’t take her top down and don my Chanel sunglasses and headscarf, I did manage a suitably stylish city spin. We cruised a little way out along the A4, feeling the smoothness of the road beneath, or at least believing the road had been constructed so with the might of the SL’s 285/30 tyres. And then we headed inwards, along Knightsbridge and further into town for some suitably glamorous posing.

The beauty of this car is its finesse, and the ability to turn heads when you drive. Small enough for zipping around on essential shopping sprees, the sat-nav will reliably inform you where the traffic jams are located, and that you are definitely still in London: “Average Speed 5mph”.

But at least going this slow lets you get to grips with the flashy interior and all the gizmos and gadgets. And when you do manage to put your foot down and let loose on the adaptive accelerator pedal (once you’ve chosen from automatic or manual paddle gears), you can hit up to 155mph and relax into some serious adrenalin pumping cruising in 7th gear.

This model was built in celebration of the SL line’s 57 years in production, and this sentiment is perfectly captured; you do feel as though you should be en-route to a gala dinner, or to The Savoy for afternoon tea. You could be wearing a designer gown, but instead you’re wearing the Mercedes label, a statement in itself. The stylish interior further mirrors this – very easy to navigate with real added extras, although shamefully I didn’t quite manage to test the in-seat massage function. Parking was a dream with the added kudos of the lights dimming and wing mirrors folding away after you saunter off leaving others gazing on in green-eyed envy.

Cocooned in such resplendent head-turning luxury, it was easy to forget the rainy weather outside. A nifty new addition to the McLean garage wish list.

Prices start at £70,400. For more information, visit your local Mercedes dealership.


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