58k for a rear brake replacement?
Since we’re at it, we might as well be at it. With these posts, I don’t want you to question my respect towards Ed or VINwiki. If anything they show I’m a huge fan, I watch the content and I’m writing this while I’m wearing a VINwiki t-shirt. I’m writing it with the hope to continue a healthy conversation and, hopefully, offer another perspective on the ownership and maintenance costs of the SLR - this is what we do here.
I want to start by stating the obvious - it’s not a cheap car, it’s a modern exotic. Everyone in the market for such cars knows or should know what they’re getting themselves into. Owning such car doesn't end with buying it, it starts with it. The price you pay when you buy it is just you demonstrating your commitment. I want to add something very important: I often see these comments - “That’s why you should always test drive the car first”. I don’t know a single person who owns an exotic car to ever test the cars before buying them. This step doesn't exist in this market. You simply buy the car and hope for the best by relying on its history and servicing. I know it might sound airy, but that’s the situation. It’s a blind-buy. Also - in most cases, this car will be delivered to you from another country or continent. This step just doesn’t exist. So blaming Rustam for not doing this step is irrelevant. It is what it is.
But I can blame him for not understanding the car, though. The sound from the brakes he’s talking about is very common. It’s scary, yes. You immediately think something major is broken. You’re sitting in a rare and expensive car and then you have this loud boiling sound coming at you, like you have the kettles on in the trunk. But it is common. It happens when you haven't used the brakes properly for some time. Basically what McLaren told him - you have to brake in. The brakes on the SLR are bulletproof and are made to last forever. They’re from a racing grade carbon ceramic and are the second ever to be used in a production street-legal car. It’s almost impossible to have problems with them. It’s almost never the brakes in this car, it’s you who’s the problem.
Let’s say you’re in the 0,001% who actually needs to replace them. Because carbon ceramic is in the mix, you already know this will cost a lot of money. But how much actually? Well, definitely not 58k USD (only if you live in the US, maybe). I contacted dealerships and asked for a quote for a total brake replacement - front and rear rotors and pads. In the video they ask for 58k for the rear ones only! Here is what I received back (it’s in Bulgarian lev or BGN, I’ll calculate it in USD and EUR for you at the end) with part numbers, so feel free to double check if you want to.
The total is 43 132 BGN. That’s 24 262. 81 USD Or 22 044. 46 EUR
Of course that’s a lot of money, but it’s far from the 58k USD just for the rear ones only. You’ll also wonder how much they want for the work - 500-1000 USD (again - this is a total brake replacement).
I don’t know what’s going on in the US, but if the prices are really this high, how is it the largest market for exotic cars?! It’ll be cheaper if you ship your car to Bulgaria to get it serviced and ship it back than to service it in the US. I genuinely hope this is not the reality, because it’s ridiculous.
As much as these videos look like FUD, they only help and promote the car itself. If the purpose was to present the SLR as something not worth owning/buying, so that other cars can appreciate better instead, I can only say there’s no such thing as bad advertisement. Whoever is in the market for an SLR, they'll get an SLR. Congratulations to Rustam from SpeedTV and I hope he enjoys his dream car. My advice is to keep close contact with McLaren and MSO and consult with them before taking it to dealerships, if any problems arise in the future.