I recently spoke with a customer who was comparing the 2013 Chevy Corvette Z06 and the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550. Both are incredible machines designed to keep the smile on your face long after you have parked the car at the end of the day. But the comparison is a difficult one because the cars are designed with different perspectives.
The Z06 is more of a track car in my opinion. It comes with a 505 hp 7.0L V8 and a six-speed manual transmission. Stomp the accelerator and you can hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Throttle response is immediate and the coupe willingly thrashes the car’s occupants wherever they are willing to go. Even with an adjustable suspension, one customer described the ride as either “hard or harder.” The car is not built for comfort, just speed.
The SL550, however, is a touring convertible. It comes with a 382 hp twin-turbo 4.6L V8 and a seven-speed automatic transmission. It has plenty of power but “pin the throttle, and the car takes a moment to gather itself, as if saying to the driver, ‘Okay, dude, you ready? This is gonna be pretty awesome.’ And with that, the seven-speed automatic downshifts, the twin turbos gorge themselves on air, and the whole shebang takes off, pulling hard to an observed 159-mph top speed (Mercedes claims an electronically limited 155)” (Car&Driver). Stomp the accelerator and you can hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds.
While the Z06 may have better acceleration, there is no comparison for ride quality. The SL550 comes with comfortable but supportive leather seats and an adjustable suspension (sport or comfort). The SL550 wins the comfort category hands down. But that goes back to the design. The Z06 is built for the track while the SL550 is designed for touring. It all comes down to what you want to accomplish. If you are looking for a car to thrash around the track with no reservation, the Z06 might be the better car. But if you are looking for a comfortable and quick hard top convertible which will keep you happy year round, choose the SL550.