The SL63 had a list price of more than £100,000 when new, but values have plummeted in the intervening years and early cars now change hands for a little over £30,000. That really isn’t much to ask for a car that combines performance, grand touring ability and handling prowess as effectively as this. Lower-mileage 2010 cars can be picked up for around £36,000.
The 518bhp 6.2-litre V8 is even more impressive here than it is in the C63 AMG. Mercedes quoted a 0-62mph time of 4.6sec, thanks in part to the clever MCT automatic gearbox’s launch control function.
Clever though the MCT transmission may be, with its wet clutch in place of a traditional and less responsive torque converter, some owners have suffered persistent reliability issues. The electronics have been known to be somewhat flaky, too. The SL63 is a brilliant roadster, then, just as long as you can find a healthy one.
2003 Mercedes-AMG CLK55 - £7000
Most AMG coupés look so menacing that you’d think twice about stepping out in front of one when it was parked, but the W209 CLK55 was unusually discreet. It’s only really the badging on the rear and the oversized twin exhaust pipes that give the game away; the modest 18in wheels and subtle front-end styling suggest that nothing more potent than a peaky four-cylinder engine resides under the bonnet. In fact, the hot CLK was driven by a muscular 5.4-litre V8.
With 362bhp and a 0-62mph time of around five seconds, the CLK55 had supercar-baiting performance (this was the early 2000s…), but two simple factors limited its popularity. For one thing it cost more than a Porsche 911, and for another it was a contemporary of the sharper, more rewarding E46-generation BMW M3, which was arguably the best of the breed at the time. But those things don’t really matter 15 years on, and with tidy examples starting at less than £7000, the CLK55 looks like terrific value for money.
Check closely for rust around the wheel arches and make sure the five-speed auto shifts its gears smoothly. Earlier cars used Valeo radiators, which can allow coolant into the transmission fluid, eventually destroying the gearbox.
2008 Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate - £20,000
The C63 is the quintessential family AMG. It was available in saloon and estate body styles when it arrived in the UK in 2008 (from 2011 it was available as a coupé, too), but there’s such an appealing juxtaposition to a 451bhp wagon that it gets the nod here. Today early, well looked after cars are just slipping below the £20,000 mark.