Buy/Drive/Burn: Big Ticket Convertible Time In 2009

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Last time on Buy/Drive/Burn, we perused three rear-drive, metal folding roof convertibles from 2010. But some of you seemed less than pleased with the convertible trio. Sad!

Keeping this in mind, today’s Buy/Drive/Burn ups the ante with three more convertibles, each costing over $90,000. Today’s convertibles sport luxury makes, rear-drive, and large engines to match their price tags.

Mercedes-Benz SL550

Mercedes has built the SL roadster since 1954. The first one sported gullwing doors, and would later become an automotive legend. Since then, it’s maintained the same proven formula of a big engine up front, driven wheels at the rear, and a tarp or tin roof in the middle to cover the passengers. In 2009, the fifth-generation SL was nearing the end of its life. The R230 remained largely unchanged under its skin between 2001 and 2011. A light refresh occurred in 2006, followed by a heavier facelift in 2008. For 2009, the SL550 came powered by a 5.5-liter V8 producing 382 horsepower, mated to a 7-speed automatic. 0-60 time? 5.3 seconds. Everyone always paid dearly for an SL, and this one was $98,500.

Jaguar XKR

The XK was a new thing for Jaguar in 1997. A swoopy and modern four-seat coupe, it took over for the very aged XJS that was in production since the year 1979. XK was always available in coupe and convertible formats, and all had a V8 under a long hood. In standard Jaguar operating procedure, the first-generation XK lasted a while. It was produced for model years 1997 through 2006. 2007 saw the debut of a second generation, with aggressive, modern styling penned by former Aston Martin designer Ian Callum. 2009 brought the model’s first refresh, with a more taught appearance and generally more angular looks. The top trim was the XKR, with a 4.2-liter V8 producing 420 supercharged horsepower. 0-60 arrived via the six-speed automatic in 5 seconds, as $93,700 drained from buyers’ checking accounts.


The 6 Series line morphed into a mess of various things circa 2011, but prior to that the 6 was strictly a coupe affair. The new E24 635i hit the streets in 1976, and carried on with its square and executive styling through 1989. BMW got distracted by all the other things it was making and dropped the 6 Series. In 2004, a brand new Chris Bangle design started dividing BMW fans into opposite camps based on its appearance. Shortly after the coupe debuted, a convertible version joined the ranks. 2005 saw the hottest-of-hot M6 coupe added to the lineup, with convertible following in 2006. A minor visual refresh in 2008 brought with it a wider look and stronger front and rear body creasing. The 2009 M6 was powered by a monstrous 5.0-liter V10 engine distributing 500 horsepower through a seven-speed automated manual transmission. Achieving 0-60 in 4.6 seconds required spending $107,900.

Three convertibles with 380, 420, and 500 horsepower. Which gets the Buy?

[Images: Jaguar-Land Rover, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Jan 03, 2019

    Buy BMW, I don't find it ugly at all, and V-10 power. Drive the Mercedes, I guess. That leaves the Jag. Honestly, these two could switch places and it wouldn't bother me. I loved the 1990s XK, but this one looks melted/droopy and sad.

  • Tstag Tstag on Jan 03, 2019

    Burn the BMW because it’s ugly Drive and Buy the Jag because the on UK shores it’s a bargain these days and will only go up in value and it also goes like a train.