Mercedes-Benz SL500 - roof folding race. R230 v R231
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Folding metal hardtops on convertibles, they're pretty cool but they are nothing new. In fact, the first car to feature one was the 1957 Ford Fairlane Skyliner. But we're here today with the Mercedes-Benz SL, arguably one of the better known folding tin-tops that has been doing the retractable roof thing for more than 10 years.

Now both cars, as you can see, are 500 SL. This is the 2014 R231, where as the other car here dates back to 2001 and was the first SL to feature the Vario roof technology.

But how far have we come in that 10 years? Sounds like we need a race.

So boys, start your engines.

Gentlemen, drop your tops.

When the Vario roof is in operation, you can see the boot is actually double hinged and will fold back towards the rear to allow the roof to fold. But when you open the boot to put things in, it folds forward.

Now looking at that, it looks to me that the newer car is a little bit faster but it's not that far off the pace.

With your roof down, how do you know your golf clubs are going to fit?

Well, the SL has got a very handy little cover that shows you that anything that fits underneath it is yours to keep.

Showing again that the Mercedes-Benz SL is still one of the world's greatest tourers.

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