For 2006, the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is all but unchanged. SL500 and SL600 models equipped with the AMG Sport Package get new wheels, and on the exterior, Desert Silver has been discontinued, Storm Red replaces Firemist Red, and Iridium Silver replaces Brilliant Silver.

The SL-Class roadster is available as the SL500, SL600, SL55 AMG and SL65 AMG. All come with a metal top that folds automatically and stores itself under a hard tonneau cover at the touch of a button.

The SL500 uses a 5.0-litre V8 with a seven-speed automatic transmission with Touch Shift manual mode, and includes Active Body Control, six-CD surround sound system with eight speakers, auto-dimming rearview and driver’s side mirror, DVD-based navigation system, automatic climate control, leather interior, heated twelve-way power seats, integrated garage door opener, leather-trimmed wheel with power tilt and telescopic column, heated headlamp washers, rain-sensing wipers and Xenon headlamps.

The SL600 features a 5.5-litre twin-turbocharged V12 with five-speed automatic and Touch Shift manual mode, and adds active ventilated seats, AMG-design sport steering wheel with fingertip shift controls, first aid kit, integrated digital telephone, driver’s side knee airbag, eight-piston front brake calipers and exclusive Nappa leather interior.

The SL55 AMG uses a supercharged 5.5-litre V8 with five-speed Touch Shift transmission and includes 18-inch AMG wheels, AMG-design instrument cluster, carpeted shelf with luggage straps, AMG-design perforated leather upholstery, stainless steel door trim and Parktronic parking assist system.

The SL65 AMG carries a 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged V12 with five-speed Touch Shift transmission and includes anthracite-finished 19-inch AMG wheels, wind deflector, heated twelve-way power seats, integrated telephone, bi-Xenon headlamps, and AMG-design sand-cast aluminum or wood trim.

Beautifully styled, the SL-Class has an extremely rigid chassis that gives it superb handling characteristics and body integrity that’s evident even when the top is down. Body roll, dive and squat are virtually eliminated by Active Body Control, a system of high-pressure hydraulics controlled by microcomputers. Each model also comes with a leather-covered roll bar, which pops up in 0.3 seconds should it detect a potential rollover. The folding metal roof can also be optioned with a glass sunroof. None of it comes cheap, but hey, you can’t take it with you.

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