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Mercedes-Benz SL and SLK (all models)



  • lovemyclklovemyclk Posts: 351
    My guess is that your experience is somewhat of an anomoly. Is MB telling you to pound sand, or are they showing concern for a customer who purchased a $90K+ vehicle? The SL is certainly not a 911 and certainly a "difffernt" car from the 540 - both among my personal favorites.

    The SL55 was recently reviewed along with several other "Supercars" like the 911Turbo, Ferrari575 and Aston Martin. The SL was admirably represented and nobody complained about the niggling issues you raise. Sounds like you require personal attention from MB, as your post on the web is immediately read by MANY potential customers.

    Regarding weight of the SL, reviewers have all appeared to find the handling to be superior. Maybe you are more of a Boxster S or S2000 type of driver... the SL makes no pretense of being a lightweight sportscar like the aforementioned.
  • w210w210 Posts: 188
    The SC430 doesn't have a stiff enough body to take advantage of the suspension and wheel/tire upgrade. It will only rattle and shake more giving you an unacceptably harsh ride.

    The overly sensitive traction control and lack of electronic brakes cannot be overcome by bigger tires and stiffer suspension alone.
  • dschmidt4dschmidt4 Posts: 13
    I responded earlier, but I must have not hit the correct botton. The rental (in Beverly Hills) was around $500 a day. Thanks for measuring your windows. I will do the same at my dealer and advise. Are you still pleased with it? Mine arrives in October, but I am troubled with the reports of rattles.
  • w210w210 Posts: 188
    dschmidt4, I finally figured out what you mean. I noted that if I use the key remotely to open the top from outside the car, at the first stop, the front side windows will remain all the way up. If I continue pressing the button, the front windows will drop but will not go all the way down. At least one inch as you reported earlier.

    However, if you open the top from inside by the car by pulling the center console lever, the side windows do drop almost all the way down.

    Very happy with the car, reports of rattles (only when the top is up) can be fixed by dealer. Excellent handling and very solid car. The topless experience is unreal. I also experienced the SRS light but part is on its way.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282

    I am not surprised to hear your complaints on the SL500. Not to rub salt in the wound with 20/20 hindsight, but look at past and recent history:

    (1) The SL has never driven like a sports car or even as precisely as a BMW 5-series. It's always been overweight. Suspension improvements have not eliminated the "detached" impression you, me and others I know have experienced.

    (2) Mercedes has gotten out of control as far as "gizmos". Readily apparant from the complaints of the Command system when introduced. From a driving enthusiasts perspective, these are unnecessary displays of technology that don't add (and in many cases detract) from the driving experience.

    (3) Mercedes has clearly slipped in terms of basic quality control in recent years. Perhaps they should fire some of their gizmo minded techies and hire back some real engineers that can get rid of the rattles and the electronic polterguists that seem to plague many of their more recent introductions.

    With all due respect, the 2003 SL500 is a very attractive car that is superior in many ways to the car it replaces (the jury is out on dependability/durability). But it is not a revolutionary change from what the SL has always been - a GT cruiser. And it does not surprise me that this would disappoint someone used to driving a 911 or 540.

    And, just as a forewarning to anyone salivating over the upcoming SL55. One of my friends is chief lobbyist for Daimler Chrysler and had the opportunity to drive a test model in Germany with some other senior executives in April. His comments: "If you like driving the SL500, you'll love the SL55. But it's not going to win over me or anyone who knows how to drive and is looking for a true sports car". (Manfred's current weekend car is a Ferrari 360; previously it was a 911).

    I myself upgrded from a 540i 6-speed to a 2002 M5 this spring. And even then, I test drove a used M5 for an entire weekend, just to make sure that I wasn't buying the wrong car for me.

    Shoes - good luck with whatever you decide from here. At least you have some excellent choices in your garage.
  • w210w210 Posts: 188
    In respond to epn2, I think both BMW and MB are adding more gizmos to their cars for better or worse. Personally, I find the COMAND *MUCH* easier to pick up and to use than the new iDrive. If you think COMAND is difficult, you will be very frustrated with iDrive in the new 7 series. Let's hope BMW will improve on it before it appears on the new 5.

    As far as quality control goes, I have had initial problems with all 3 newly acquired German cars, malfunctioning power seat on the new Audi A4, major recall on the 7, SRS light on the SL.

    Do these problems turn me into a Lexus owner? Definitely not, it's one thing to visit the dealer to fix minor bugs every now and then but it's another to have to live with cars that don't handle well day in day out.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    BMW's iDrive on the 7-series is even worse than the Command system. I have not yet driven one, but I've never been a big fan of the 7-series. Even with two kids, I've never felt compelled to go up to a 7 or S-class in size. If I did - and money were no object - I'd probably go with an S55. Recent flaws aside, I still think Mercedes does big luxury better than BMW. Fortunately, we have an SUV for serious hauling.

    I also think my previous post was too harsh. I was not trying to dump on the new SL. It may not be a sports car, but as a luxury 2-seat convertible, it's about as good as you can do at any price.
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    Maybe I am also looking at the SL500 the wrong way. It will never have the visceral thrill the way the Porsche 911 does, but at the same time, the Porsche will never have the comfort of the SL500. It is hard to jump from one car to the next for me. I have the tiptronic in the 911 (I know this is sacriligeous, but I am an old guy and my left foot is worn out) and everytime I get into another car I am always looking to downshift by toggling a button on the steering wheel.

    Look, the SL500 fulfills the mission of the world's most luxurious two seater (although the Lexus is also very nice in this way), so maybe I am just not the right driver for it...
  • jstylejstyle Posts: 129
    I just drove the new SL500 while my S500 was getting a oil change and new tires and alignment. I was with the car for over 2 hours and about 50 miles around town on freeway and city drives and found it rattled with the top up! When it was down it was much better. This is strange to me. I also feel that all the electronics are over done. And Shoes is right about the brakes. They are different and really have a poor feeling. I love the look and design but would never buy a car like this. A 911, or if I had the cash, a Ferrari Modena is a much more fun/exciting way to spend my dollars. I see some 2001 Ferrari 360's for about $145K which is 20K more than the premium charged to get a SL500 now and my dealer told me the SL55 will be bought and "flipped" for around $185K. Which would you choose?
  • w210w210 Posts: 188
    Each to their own I suppose. SL500 my choice as the best all round convertible bar none.

    Not crazy about the regular 996, neither here nor there, and that cheap interior. M3 seems like a far better value, for performance, the 996TT is superior at a reasonable premium over the regular 996. I'll pick the 996TT over the 360 and Z8 any day too.

    On the other hand, the new E55K is the best value pick with 470bhp in the brand new E-class body at a price less than the SL500.
  • joe249joe249 Posts: 95
    I'd go back to what made you feel good a Porshe or a BMW. I don't know you but,your not having any fun.
    I never saw a Brinks truck follow a funeral so don't dye your hair silver and stop listening to the bells and whistles of the SL and become a driver again.
    Who knows you might sleep better at night too.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Not to change the subject, but I hope the new E55K has a much improved chassis and suspension to go along with the 470hp engine.

    AMG had already proven to me that they can build fantastic engines. I don't think they give up much, if anything, in that department to BMW's Motorworks. Although I happen to prefer the higher revving M3 and M5 engines, the C32 and current E55 certainly have more than enough punch.

    However, IMHO, AMG is two or three rungs down the ladder in the handling department to their BMW counterparts. Statistics aside, the E55 feels like a much heavier, less nimble handler than the (heavier) M5. And from my test drives, the C32 can't come close to competing with the M3 in handling and steering.

    I came damn close to buying a 1999 E300 Turodiesel. It drove like a tank, but it was a tank, without sporting pretensions. If AMG wants to get my attention in the future, they will need to build a serious driver's car (preferably with manual transmissions), not just put more and more horsepower under the hood. I, for one, wouldn't have bought the current E55 even with 470 horsepower over the current M5 with 394.

    I don't think I'm alone in my feelings. I know of many former Mercedes loyalists who have switched to BMW on the basis of overall driving dynamics.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    That's true, but that's just it...MB isn't trying to out-sport BMW. They aren't going to do manuals. AMG cars are more complete "cars", meaning something you can use everyday
    AMG cars don't have the engine and trans problems of their M-Series competitors either. BMW will always be sportier, Mercedes will always be more well rounded and thats the way it should be. There is no lack of demand for either M or AMG products. Together along with the upstart "S" and "RS" products from Audi they rule! Jaguar's "R" cars are right there too, and now Volvo S60R (300hp) is in the hunt. They all can't be BMW clones.

  • boo20boo20 Posts: 85
    Doesn't this constant griping about the SL not being a 'true sports car' ever annoy you? Why is it that people just don't understand that those of us who drive SLs largely have no interest in a 911 (which appeals to a different audience altogether). Why would I want a car with a plastic interior, a manual trnsmission for city driving, road and engine noise and an uncomfortble ride anyway?

    To me this is like the idiot comparisons in the car magazines (meant to increase sales) where they compare different makes. And then declare a 'winner'. What people fail to realize is that every car is a compromise in some way and what I am willing to compromise on is something you may feel is non-negotiable and vice versa.

    Please consider that we differ in what we want in a car and that the SL makes no pretensions of being a 'true sports car.'

    I don't want a 'true sports car'--you got it?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Yes, I got it.

    Apparantly you misunderstood my intentions when I responded to "shoes". He seemed to be having buyer's remorse that the SL wasn't what he expected (in comparison to his 911).

    I never intended to suggest that the SL was inferior in any way for NOT being a sports car. Rather, I intended to suggest that if one (i.e. "shoes") was looking for sports car like performance and driver involvement, the SL was not the best choice.

    You and I seem to agree that the SL is not a sports car and that it's fine luxury attributes appeal to a different buyer profile / priorities than a 911. And I agree that comparisons between clearly differently positioned cars is of no useful value other than to sell magazines.

    Let me be clearer on my point. Anyone fortunate enough to have $50k, $75k or $100k+ to spend on a car should take the time to know what THEIR priorities are and get the right car for them. Apparantly you did. As did I. Let's leave it at that.
  • w210w210 Posts: 188
    Did you really find the M5 lighter than the W210 E55? I feel actually the opposite after fairly extensive test drives.

    While I agree with you on the M3 handling much better than the C32, I personally prefer the more neutral characteristics of the E55 and find it more nimble than the M5. To me, where the M5 wins is the steering feedback which is less artificial than the E55. Funny I do feel the E55 being a much lighter car than the M5.

    For normal street driving where I use my sedans, I enjoy the big engines with lots of low end torque so that I can easily merge without the fuss and the uncivilized loud engine noise that goes hand in hand with the higher revving engines. For this purpose, I prefer the automatic as well and I want a user friendly car with lots of room. This is my biggest criticism of the current 5 series, way too little room in the back.

    Of course, track is another animal altogether and a manual is a must.

    I have much faith in the handling department of the new E55K after being totally impressed by the suspension setup with the ABC in the new SL. The heavier car with less tires has less roll than the old E55! I can take a corner much more quickly which is something I did not expect from a cruiser SL.

    If the E55K has a similar suspension set up, I am quite sure I will be more than pleased with it and it will be miles ahead of the handling of the W210 E55. And who knows where BMW will be heading with the new 5 series. While the new 7 handles beautifully (thanks also to the current superb active anti-roll electronic suspensions), its iDrive is a failure in my opinion. Too slow between screens making it difficult for users to familiarize with the system.

    I think I'm going off topic but the bottom line is, to me, the E55K will be a superb all rounded car. Would I pick the E55K over any other high performance sedans out there? Definitely, no competition when it goes on sale next year. Would I look at the new M5 a year or two down the road? Surely!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    No Audi RS6?

  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    I am keeping the SL despite my dealer's offer to buy it back for more than I paid (nice). When I want to feel coddled and comfy, this is the car I will drive. Also, we had some nice weather in San Francisco and I have been driving it with the top down and really enjoyed it.

    The Porsche 911 is my gonzo car. This morning I raced with a motorcycle across a mountain road and came to work feeling energized. So what if the interior is cheap and all the plastic rattles. I had so much fun driving it, I forgot to even open a window or turn on the radio.

    I would also like to rant a bit about those AMG boys. I joined a group named "German Auto Tours" for a weeklong trip to Germany last Fall and visited the AMG factory. These guys treated us, their loyal customers, like we had the plague. They can do this because they sell everything they make, but I don't like it and may not buy any more AMG cars because of it (I suppose this is like not going to a particular doctor because he has no bedside manner). I have owned a couple of E-55's and AMG doesn't understand ride quality at all, plus the handling is just good, not great. Of course, the engines are amazing. I just wish BMW would make an automatic (or even an SMG) M-5 so I had an alternative.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Funny, I was on the wait list for a C32 last year and had an interesting experience with an AMG rep who was in town for a charity promotional event (for which my company was a co-sponsor). We had fun chatting about the latest developments at AMG, but when I politely asked him if the C32's were experiencing any of the electrical/key problems I had heard of in the standard C-Class, he got very testy.

    A couple of months later, I ended up buying an S2000 after I decided to go the roadster route instead. I don't think the AMG rep's attitude had anything to do with my changing car types, but I certainly didn't feel like they were customer friendly. When I had a faulty latch on my S2000 roof, the regional Honda rep personally called me to schedule a service appointment and called back after the repair to make sure I was satisfied.

    On the M5, have you ever driven the 6-speed? It is as smooth as silk, IMO.
  • w210w210 Posts: 188
    Not really excited about the RS6.

    After test driving the A4 and A6 back to back (both non sports suspensions mind you), I was totally disappointed with the way the A6 handled. Of course, the RS version should be completely different but without a test drive and also considering the questionable resale value, I'll probably stick with the E55K or the new M5.
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