October 9, 2012
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet
2013 Mercedes-Benz SL 550
2013 Jaguar XKR
Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony and Michael Schlee
We here at Autos.ca are always looking to help our readers with questions on the minds of automotive consumers, and this week we decided to address the pressing question of “How should I spend my $150,000 dollars on a luxury automotive toy?” Er, what’s that? Okay, granted, this isn’t a problem many people face in their car purchase process, but the stars aligned and put these glorious machines at our disposal, so what could we possibly do but compare these three luxurious
convertibles sports cars grand tourers.
Jaguar XKR, Mercedes-Benz SL 550 and Porsche 911 Carrera S cabriolet. Click image to enlarge
We collected three cars that had us fighting each other for who gets to keep which one each night, and had constant lineups at our office cell (yes, it felt like a prison compared to the open air delights of the two convertibles and one coupe) of colleagues trying to beg, bribe, and threaten their way into a ride around the block.
Each one is desirable in its own right, with undeniable appeal, but each also demonstrates a unique character that different people and personalities will gravitate towards. Thankfully, none of us here at Autos.ca are burdened with the liquid assets to go out and buy one of these, so we are relieved of the incredibly difficult dilemma of actually deciding how to spend our own money (yes, we want all three, and more), though generally our choice changed based on whichever vehicle we were driving at the moment.
The three cars in question are the Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet, Mercedes-Benz SL 550, and Jaguar XKR. The Porsche 911 is a sports car bred by the undisputed kings of sports car production, but is also sexy and luxurious and much improved in everyday livability with this new generation. The Benz SL 550 is a hardtop convertible that is smooth and comfortable, but with power and capability that will have your passengers either holding on tight or quietly enjoying their latte in comfort—it’s all up to the driver. The Jaguar is the gorgeous wild-child that is always ready to party, but with power, pedigree, and panache that creates an aura of rarity and exclusivity.
You may find it odd that we are comparing two convertibles to a coupe, but you know what they say, when life hands you the keys to a $120K Jag, you shut the hell up and drive it and don’t complain that it’s not a convertible. Okay, maybe you complain a little, but you carry on in the face of such adversity (how do we ever survive?).
The key determining factor in this comparison was luxury—this was not a track test or a road trip, but we drove each of them to and from work on warm fall days, and took them out to our favourite country roads to see if they entertained when there was nothing on our schedule except for sun and open roads. We were looking for the driving companion that performed best in both those elements, and in its ability to captivate our hearts and inspire our imagination (of winning a lottery).