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Mercedes-Benz SL 350 vs BMW 640d - Until December comes
Until the new SL arrives, the current SL battles its challenger from BMW one last time
By : Ruman Devmane | Published : June 04, 2012 | Photos : Pablo Chaterji
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Despite always being clad in parkas and gloves, the people of Geneva love convertibles. During the little-over-48-hours that I was there in March, roughly 60 per cent of the cars I saw were convertibles and one hundred per cent of them had their roof still on. ‘Maybe the weather will get even better in a few weeks’, I told myself. The Indian guy I bumped into at the bar drove a Smart 2-seater with rather cool illustrations of Lord Shiva all over the car, in vinyl. He was 52, owned one of the oldest Indian restaurants in Geneva, would wait tables there when he was 19 and was quite enthusiastic about cars. He drove a Toyota which he sold for a pittance before he bought the Smart (by no means an enthusiast’s car, but it at least brought his cool quotient up by a mile), a good decision, since driving a Toyota in Geneva is like going to a nightclub in Bangkok for a bowl of stir-fried vegetables. And a bowl of water.

The Mercedes-Benz SL, in that backdrop, wouldn’t be considered awfully glamorous but it is by no means dull and lifeless. The SL tag has travelled from iconic to unbeatable and currently hangs around slightly overshadowed by everything with a V12 motor and at least one thousand horsepower. Still, the SL is aspirational, not the least bit thanks to its automotive equivalent of an ‘item number’ in the brilliant movie Dil Chahta Hai. Pass by a happy family with the roof tucked away into the boot and they’ll love you and want you to marry their most eligible daughter. Or at least that’s what I was hoping for when I put on a bit of a show for that Parsi family in a blue GL 350 on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. The SL, with its top down, is the equivalent of Chitrangada Singh with hers. All right, she’s a bit old as compared to her contemporaries, but she’s got all the right bits, so you can’t help but lust after her. And I’m not just talking about the car, okay?

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