This special edition Mercedes-Benz SL fuses Italian flare with German grunt

The SL 417 Mille Miglia celebrates a historic win at one of the world's toughest races

Mille Miglia sounds like some kind of fancy pasta, what is it?

Our very poor grasp of Italian says it translates to "Thousand Miles", which makes sense because the original road race, held in Italy in 1927, was roughly 1,000 miles long and quickly became one of the most gruelling races on the calendar. It's still going today but it's more about enthusiasts getting together to drink expensive wine and show off their vintage wheels.

What has Mercedes got to do with it?

The marque famously, and quite unexpectedly, won the race in 1955 when American driver John Fitch brought a 300 SL home to victory after 11 hours, 29 minutes and 21 seconds of spine-shattering racing. This car celebrates that rather impressive endeavour.

What do the numbers mean?

The original 300 SL wore the number 417 and, as if by some sort divine intervention, the car crossed the finish line at 4.17am after speeding on public roads from Brescia to Rome and back. Spooky huh? That is weird.

So what's special about this model?

It's based on the latest, seventh-generation SL and is limited to just 500 models worldwide. Customers can either specify it in the awesome, Batmobile-esque magnetite black metallic paint scheme or opt for three other limited edition hues. Other bespoke stylistic additions include a dollop of red on the front and rear bumpers, red brake calipers and red accents throughout the cabin. Basically, if you don't like red, don't bother looking.

What sort of magic have they worked underneath the bonnet?

We're sorry to disappoint but the answer to that is nothing. Customers can choose either the SL400 or the SL500; with the former packing a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 developing 328bhp while the latter uses a larger 4.6-litre twin-turbocharged V8 with 449bhp. Performance isn't an issue, as the SL500 can crack 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and go on to a top speed of 155mph... With the roof down.

How much is all this limited edition fanciness?

There is a hefty premium to pay for red flourishes and '417' stitching in your headrests. Expect to part with almost £91,500 for the gut-busting SL500 and around £83,000 for the slightly less face-melting SL400.

That is very expensive...

You could always pop to Halfords and invest in a few red spray cans, but it probably won't improve the residual values of your beloved Merc.

Liked that? Read this...