There are certain rights and privileges afforded the Mercedes-Benz SL320 driver that are not ordinarily extended to drivers of lower-priced vehicles.
For example, after genuflecting, parking valets will make certain your car is parked in front, safe from all manner of dents and dings, as well as from the inconvenience of having to wait for your Mercedes to be brought around.
And on the road, left-lane squatters will quickly take heed of the broad, star-tipped hood in their mirror and virtually leap to the next lane, allowing for safe and expedient passing.
You see, the most important - or annoying, as the case may be - point of owning a the SL320 is that it is never invisible. Whether clean or dirty, moving fast or slow, everyone notices the SL320. Frankly, it's just too difficult to ignore.
Walking toward the SL320 with key in hand imparts a sense of awe mingled with delight. The awe is because the key might as well be a house key, for the SL320 costs about as much as the average single-family house.
As mind-numbing as its stratospheric prices may be, Mercedes is recognizing the importance of value - even in premium luxury cars. In fact, the automaker has loaded its new S-Class and SL-Class models with more standard equipment and lowered the total amount.
Mercedes Benz SL-Class models include the SL320, SL500 and SL600. For our test drive, we chose the SL320 convertible, which featured no optional equipment and came in at $78,775.