By on January 3, 2019

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]

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30 Comments on “Buy/Drive/Burn: Big Ticket Convertible Time In 2009...”

  • avatar

    Buy the Merc, it’ll retain its value the most of the three.

    Drive the Jag, because it’s a timeless beauty.

    Burn the Bimmer, it’s flippin’ ugly.

  • avatar

    I’ll drive any of them, but they’re all to costly to own and chances are one will burn itself to the ground

  • avatar

    BUY The Merc, it actually looks good unlike the others and it will impress your dental hygienist.

    DRIVE The Bimmer because V10

    BURN Hindsight is 20/20 but I like to think I knew back in 2009 that the Jag looks like a squashed 8th gen Cougar.

  • avatar

    I am sure these are rolling around a BHPH lot at this very minute

    Buy The MB , it makes the most sense, it will be worth something when you want to get rid of it, it was fairly late in the game so hopefully MB worked out the kinks by this year.
    Drive the Jag, to me the best looking esp if it comes in Green and pray that you got a good jag.and Bonus points it looks like I could toss kids in the back seats unlike the others.

    Burn the BMW- a V10 sounds great but I do not trust BMW not to make me take a 2 mortgage to maintain it so no thanks.

  • avatar

    Buy the BMW because it comes with a manual and you can hear that V10 howling loud and clear

    Drive the Jaguar since it still looks fresh today

    Burn the Mercedes; too many styling cues tacked on in an effort to convince buyers it’s something new and trendy

  • avatar
    A Scientist

    Buy: The Mercedes. I’ve always loved SLs and this one looks great. It will retain its value better and will likely be more reliable than the other two.

    Drive: The BMW. It’ll be a total blast to drive. It will be, at least, until the V10 grenades itself, because apparently BMW considers rod bearings on V10s to be a wear item.

    Burn: The Jag. I must have different eyeballs than everyone else, because I think this thing is FUGLY! It looks like a frigging catfish. Combine that with Jaguars stellar reputation for reliability and….no thanks.

  • avatar

    Burn: Mercedes. It’s prestigious, but everyone has one. Plus, it’s not AMG.

    Drive: Jag. It’s sexy.

    Buy the BMW, with one very big assumption: the one you’re buying has been meticulously maintained. Otherwise, this thing might as well be straight off of page 121 of “Fifty Shades of Gray,” without the happy ending. But if it’s running properly, it’s a convertible M5 with a stick, and that, friends, is beyond f**king awesome.

    (Note – if the SL was an AMG, I’d buy that one and burn everything else.)

  • avatar

    Buy the Mercedes, because 9 years later, it still looks good (to me)
    Drive the BMW, because manual and V-10…
    Burn the Jag (one had to go…)

  • avatar

    Can’t play.
    • Wouldn’t buy any of them;
    • Would only drive the Merc because I like its looks;
    • None of them are worth the accelerant to burn them.

  • avatar

    Buy the Benz for its history and heritage.
    Drive the Jag because I have, and it’s sublime.
    Burn the M6 because it’s ugly. Also rod bearings and SMT (yes, I know a manual was available but good luck finding a convertible so equipped).

  • avatar

    This one is easy.
    Buy the MB, it will be a vault for a lifetime.
    Drive the Jag, because it drives like a dream and is deceptively quick.
    Burn the BMW because it’s ugly and it will cost you less to torch it than to maintain it.

  • avatar

    About 2011, I had the ‘opportunity’ to buy an M6 convertible like that for $28K. I spent the money on booze and sailboat charters instead, which provided more enduring enjoyment. I forgot that Mercedes even made that face-lifted SL, so long has it been since they vanished from the streets of people who buy their cars new. I do know a guy who still has the Jaguar. It holds up okay by being garaged and not driven, although it still requires major spending whenever he tries to drive it into town for its state inspection. I suspect selling all three of these wouldn’t raise the cash needed for last week’s IS350C, but perhaps you could buy a nice old Miata.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Buy: the Mercedes SL- Built like a vault and holds it value plus the roll bar looks good.

    Drive: the Jaguar XK- Classic, timeless style. An Aston Martin for less.

    Burn: the BMW 6 series- Butt ugly Bangle and horrid maintenance but the V10 does sound swell.

  • avatar

    A MB SL from 1971 – 1989 is far more desirable than any of these.

    This is why I decline to play.

  • avatar

    Buy the SL. There are a few expensive things that can fail, but in general are pretty reliable. My advice for these has always been to budget an extra $10K when you buy the car. You might spend it right away, or it might be ten years, but it will happen. The other two will coninuosly bleed you to death.

    Drive the Jag. It looks great.

    Burn the BMW. The worst driving, and most overrated of the three.

  • avatar

    Buy: Benz
    Drive: BMW
    Burn: Jag

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

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