Arguably one of the best looking SL to come from Stuttgart since the gull-winged 300SL of 1957, the current SL is certainly a head turner. Its trump card is definitely the electric folding hard-top. The folding /unfolding process is fully automatic, and transforms the coupe to convertible or vice versa in just 16 seconds. While folding hardtops in 1:18 have been done before by the likes of Gate and UT with their Peugeot 206CC and Mercedes SLK respectively, none have come close to the intricate mechanism that Minichamps has put into the SL500, the subject of this review.
About the model
The Minichamps SL500 is available in black and silver as dealer editions and in blue as regular edition. The black and the blue models come with cream coloured interiors and the silver comes with a blue interior. All versions are identical in terms of materials and features. The black model can be ordered at Mercedes dealers with the part number B6 696 2171. The part number for the silver is B6 696 2133.
What’s in the box
As mentioned earlier, this particular model is a dealer edition for Mercedes Benz and as such comes in a dealer exclusive box. The box is a typical windowed Mercedes dealer box with grey stripes and discrete labels. The model is secured to a plastic plinth by 4 screws. Doors, bonnet and boot are tied down by wrap around clear plastic straps. The model comes with the hard-top folded into the boot.
The stance and proportion of the model looks to be just right. While the wheels do not quite fill the wheel arches, it is the same story on 1:1 stock SL500’s. Panel gaps on the model are not bad, though they can be a little tighter in some areas. This particular example comes in a very shiny metallic black or Obsidianschwarz Metallic as it is officially called. The paint is so shiny in fact, that I had a lot of difficulty photographing it. The paint had been applied smoothly with no sign of orange peel, just as you would expect it to be. The size of the metallic flakes is spot on and looks very realistic.
The lights on this model are quite well done. No apparent attachment stubs on all but the rear center brake light. The central grill is perforated and the large three-pointed-star is shielded with fine mesh. The lower air intake is disappointingly made of a piece of clear plastic covered with mesh like decal. The creases along the length of the bonnet are very well defined. Also on the bonnet are 2 vents towards the rear. These are replicated with black plastic decorated with silver plastic fins. Two more similar vents can also be found on each of the front fenders just behind the wheels. All four vents are not perforated but are textured to simulate mesh.