I spent a short amount of time with this beast following May’s Coffee and Cars event at Vintage Park. It’s quite an unassuming car at first glance, and looks rather familiar because of all the other SL models you see rolling around Houston. But don’t be fooled by its somewhat “everyday” looks – this car packs enough power to keep pace with the Italians. Its 6 liter, twin-turbo v12 engine is rated at 604 horsepower and 738lb/ft torque (starting at 2,000 RPM), which gives it enough twist for insane passing power in any gear. All this done with no fuss whatsoever – so little fuss, in fact, that I find myself wishing for a little more of a dramatic soundtrack to go with the epic acceleration provided. With the exception of a nice raspy growl when cold started, the V12 burbles away quietly at idle, and only a muted sigh can be heard from the wastegates when you abruptly let off the throttle after accelerating.
This does seem to match the “under the radar” look that the SL65 sports. Driving it around town, you hope for someone in an exotic car to mistake you for a lowly SL55 so that you can dip the throttle down and ruin his afternoon. The car is supremely comfortable, with both air conditioned and heated seats that are infinitely adjustable, soft leather, and a great driving position. It eats up the miles and leaves you feeling just fine at the end of the drive, not soaked in sweat with a sore lower back like when you exit a Gallardo after a spirited drive. Of course, to compare the SL65 and the Gallardo is not necessarily fair – one is a powerful, beautiful GT car that gives you supercar power in an everyday usable package, and the other is an automotive scalpel – sharp, precise and unforgiving. Both have their time and place, and I love both cars for exactly what they are. If it were a perfect world, this would be my daily driver, and the Gallardo my “weekend toy”.
I chose a very modern location to shoot the SL65 as I thought that this car represented the epitome of clean, refined, efficient German engineering. Newly constructed row houses in North Houston seemed like the perfect match, designed with a minimalist’s eye and very clean, modern and efficient – just like the SL65. I wanted a nice, slightly desaturated commercial feel to the set, and I think they turned out very nicely. I added in some mountains from my recent trip to Santa Fe, to give Houston a little sorely needed topography. While shooting the rear of the SL65, a curious cat walked into the frame, perhaps wanting to check out the SL65, which was purring softly away. He stayed for the duration of the shoot, rubbing on my leg every now and then – nice guy!
I hope to have some more time with the SL65 in the near future, where I can take it to a few different locations and give it a more proper shoot. Stay tuned for that, and many more exciting sets in the near future!
I finally had an opening in my schedule to come out for Coffee and Cars this month! There was also an opportunity for me to take a monster of a car – a 2007 Mercedes SL65 AMG to the show as well, so when the 5:30am alarm sounded, I was more than ready to get going.
I met with some fellow C&C’ers early that morning for a cruise to Coffee and Cars. Once we got on the road, we were joined by a Ferrari F430 as well as the brand new McLaren MP4-12C Spyder. A Hyabusa chase motorcycle filmed a little but of the antics as we mad our way out.
Video by D Wright – Thanks for the coverage!
Once I arrived, I parked next to a gorgeous 1965 Volvo 1800S. Beautiful car, and definitely one that you don’t see every day!
The Italians, lined up all in a neat row.
The spoiler of a Lamborghini Super Trofeo Stradale signed by the man himself, Valentino Balboni
Loved the cosmetic work done to this Cayman S.
This guy arrived late and was seemingly lost in the crowd when the Aventador showed up. Couldn’t believe a Mercedes SLR McLaren was taking “second place”, haha.
As usual, I began to focus on the amazing details of expensive cars, like the heat vents on the hood of the SLR McLaren and the rear cover of the McLaren MP4-12C Spyder.
Loved the track day war wounds on this Porsche. So great to see a purpose-built car being used for just that purpose!
The always amazing Audi R8 V-10 and the supercharger perched atop the Ford GT’s V8.
Sun sparkling off the Ferrari 458 Spyder.
Slightly confused by the license plate on this F430…
High rent interiors by Aston Martin and Bentley!
The serpent-like eye of the MP4-12C Spyder, and carbon fiber everything on the Mercedes CLK63 AMG Black Series
A Porsche Carrera GT that was a little late to the party, along with the Aventador’s massive V12.
Awesome details on a Murcielago Roadster.
GREEN paint of a Dodge Viper ACR. Looked like candy!
Hopefully I will be able to make it out next month, as Coffee and Cars has truly become the place to see and be seen in your supercar. There is not a show like it in Houston, and it’s only getting better!
The McGinnis family met with me at the studio last week, where I was finally able to meet little Milo for the first time. We had a great time shooting, and I quickly learned his philosophy that Mickey Mouse’s “Hot Dog Song” was awesome, every inanimate object deserves to be tasted at least once, and never sit down when you can crawl! We got some really good shots in the session, and I can’t wait to meet with little Milo again for another set as he continues to get bigger!
The family together, with Milo cheesing it up!
Gabby and Milo, and the reaction to the introduction of the “Hot Dog Song” by Mickey Mouse.
I love the shot below, something about it makes me laugh every time!
This is a great one as well, while Milo was trying to figure out the logistics of climbing out of the pail.
Maybe this will take a little more effort than I’d thought!
Milo wasn’t sure which of his favorite toys he wanted to play with first!
This was his reaction to dad Ryan’s Mickey Mouse voice which was shockingly realistic!
Milo & Mom!
Tiger Woods in training.
Milo’s, taking mental notes about Michael Jordan’s dunking technique for later use.
Milo and Dad.