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Mercedes-Benz SL and SLK (all models)

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Comments

  • dhornedhorne Posts: 4
    I have a build slot for the 3rd week in April for June delivery. It actually got pulled in a few months (due to the economy -- I assume). When I ordered in 2002, I was thinking that I'd end up with a 2004, which I preferred. I was hoping to avoid first-year quality/design problems. Has anyone heard when the factory will be switching ovwer to 2004's? Does anyone know of any ECO's (Engineering Change Orders) that might have gone in since the 2003's starting being built last year? I hope to own the car for quite a while and I'd like to avoid first-model-year problems.

    Thanks
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    No SL55 owners seem to be posting comments here, and since I just received mine this past week, I will give you my thoughts. Please note that I bought one of the first SL500's almost a year ago and will compare it to that.

    The SL55 is faster than light! It is almost too fast until you get used to all the power. The ultimate luxury is too much power. The brakes feel much better in the SL55 than the SL500. Note sure if AMG did something or if one year more manufacturing practice at Mercedes made a difference. I can honestly say that I now like the brakes and in the SL500 I hated them. The handling is other worldly- it feels like you are on a cushion of air and gravity has been eliminated. You have a sense the car can do anything. The ride quality is excellent- perfect compromise of comfort and performance. I like the seats better in the SL55. The SL55 feels like it weighs half of its 4400 pounds. It really feels completely tossable and fun to drive. I cannot tell you how much better I enjoy driving the SL55 compared to the SL500.

    The negatives are minor but there are a few. The brakes squeak- I know they squeak on every Mercedes but it just seems less appropriate here. The fuel pump makes a crackling noise behind your head- the SL500 made a similar noise and this time it is less noticeable, but it is still there. My dealer pulled out the fuel tank and replaced the fuel pump in my SL500 and nothing improved. Seems that this may be a design flaw of some sort. To use the manual shifting buttons on the steering wheel, you have to push a button next to the shifter and put the transmission into manual mode. The buttons do nothing unless you make this change. This is a hassle and renders them sort of useless. The Porsche Tiptronic allows you to use the buttons whenever you want although it will return to automatic mode in 12 seconds if you don't place the shifter in manual mode. I think this is a much better system. Lastly, the fuel economy is seriously bad, but I suppose if I spend $120 large and complain about the fuel economy, there is something wrong with me, not the car.

    I love it! I strongly recommend it. The only other car I considered was a Porsche 911 Turbo tiptronic and I feel that car is too strongly biased towards performance and is uncomfortable 90% of the time when you just feel like cruising. The SL55 is whatever you want it to be whenever you want it to be.

    A few final thoughts- the exhaust sound is very 1960's muscle car, which I like but maybe not everyone will. I had mine de-badged which makes the car look very snarky with the four pipes sticking out the back and no label besides the discrete Mercedes symbol. Most people stare appreciatively- the look of the car is really elegant and aggressive at the same time.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Very interesting. Weren't you the one that couldn't see the point of the SL55? Anyway good hearing about it. Do you still have the CLK500?

    M
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    Yes, I was the one who could not see the point of the SL55. But now I understand that the ultimate luxury is power. Also, I was put off by the notion of driving a car that weighed 4400 pounds, but my experience driving this is completely different from those fears.

    Yes, I still have the CLK500, although it seems a lot slower to me lately. I also picked up a C32, so I own three black Mercedes.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    If you ever need someone to take your SL55 to the gas station to get some gas, I'm your man!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    What a revelation. I kinda thought you'd at least test drive one eventually considering your past with Mercedes-Benzes, but I didn't expect you to buy one after your experience with the "regular" SL, the SL500. A 540i, SL55, C32 and CLK500, gawd man what do you do?!

    M
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    As you probably know, it is next to impossible to get a test drive in an SL55. Having said that, I was lucky enough to get one and was very impressed by the car.

    You might wonder, can AMG really transform a Mercedes into something different? My answer is emphatically yes. In the case of the old model E-55 (1999-2002)I thought they seriously compromised the ride. However in the case of the C32 and the SL55, the cars are transformed into something special. The C32 for example, is as quick as an M3 but has none of the harsh ride issues. It is perfect for slicing and dicing traffic in the city.

    The SL55 fixes all the flaws I suffered in my SL500. Frankly, it is possible since my SL500 was one of the very first produced for the US (I took delivery on April 10, 2002), there were a number of production teething pains. There were an abnormal amount of rattles and strange noises plus the brakes were very hard to modulate. Besides that, the SL500 felt ponderous and somewhat slow. The driving experience was nowhere near fun.

    The SL55 is better built, very fast and I even like those electronic brakes better than the hydraulic ones in my C32 and CLK500. The SL55 is the best Mercedes I have owned (it is number 10) and the best vehicle I have owned (number 86).
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Wow that is something coming from you. You were just about "finished" with Mercedes a few months ago. How many miles on the CLK500 now, and how has it been reliability wise?

    M
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Off topic, but since you are here, your input would be appreciated.

    I have an opportunity to buy an excellent condition 2002 C32 w/ 30k miles from a private owner in our neighborhood for $35k. The mileage is high for a 2002, but the car is used to commute between DC and Pittsburgh 2-3 times per month.

    It's been 18 months since I previously test drove a C32 and then elected to keep my current sedan and get an S2000 instead. I also test drove an M3 at the time and have driven an M3 several times since.

    Here are my questions: When I test drove a new C32 18 months ago I was very impressed. When I test drove my neighbor's used one, it didn't seem quite as quick as I remembered, nor did it handle quite as well as I remebered (i.e. compared to my S2000 or the M3). From your experience, how would you rate the handling of your C32 to the M3? Also, do you think that some diminishment in performance over 30k miles is normal? How "durable" are AMG cars - i.e. is it reasonable to think that if I got the C32, I could get 150k miles out of it without extraordinary maintenance and repair expenses? I am going to try to test drive a new C32 again for comparison, but I'd like your opinion.

    Thanks in advance for any insights / comments.
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    There are about 6,000 miles on my CLK500. The only problem I have had is that the windshield wiper blades were noisy so they replaced them free. The mileage is disappointing compared to my previous 5.0 liter engine experiences. Nothing above 20 mpg. Otherwise the car is a joy, although it seems slower now compared to the C32 or the SL55.

    Not sure I can help on the C32 issue since I only have 1,000 miles. There is no doubt that the car is quick and I like the handling and the ride. There is a comparison on the C32, S4 and M3 in the new Car and Driver and they placed the C32 last for exactly the reasons I would place it first- it is easier to live with and the trade off is less extreme performance (like the harsh ride they cite for both the M3 and S4). Maybe your priorities are different. For me, there is no way I can depress that heavy clutch on the M3 day in and day out.
  • I'm about to order out an '04 SL 55 and am concerned about the charcoal leather being too hot in summer. Anyone pro's or con's charcoal versus the ash or berry color?
  • I have the light ash interior color on an SL500, because my dealer (who had both colors in stock) admitted that the charcoal color can get hot to the touch in direct sun.

    The downside of ash is that it does show the inevitable scuff marks you'll pick up on the door jambs, lower door panels, and protruding seat bottoms.

    Berry would probably pick up more heat than the ash (which does not get hot at all) without giving you any appreciable improvement in hiding scuffing.
  • mpyles1mpyles1 Posts: 90
    I spent most of the spring and summer trying to buy a new SL55. Since almost all the production run had been presold, about all I could find were "low mileage" units that we're being offered for resale at $20-30K above sticker. Even had I been willing to pay the mark-up, I really wanted to break the car in myself.

    Finally, I gave up and bought an SL500 two months ago, and it has turned out to be a great car. The other day, a dealer called me to say he had a new SL55 "on the water" that I could have for sticker . . . and he would give me sticker price less $1K in trade for my SL500. Not a bad deal.

    About 90% of my driving is in urban Chicago (a great city but utterly devoid of interesting driving venues). The SL500 feels quicker than I thought it would, and I'm now wondering whether the SL55 is worth the extra cost. The SL500 easily chirps the 385-series tires before the traction control kicks in. My guess is the traction control on the SL55 would do the same at about the same acceleration rate.

    So . . . would I really get much of a usable acceleration bang out of the SL55's much heftier torque? Or would it just get siphoned off by the traction control system on those days I'm not willing to fry tires? (I'm sure the SL55 would give me appreciably more punch from higher speeds, but the only "safe" way to have fun with an accelerator pedal in Chicago traffic is acclerating from a stop up to moderate speeds.)
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I haven't driven the SL500 and SL55 back to back, but I have for the E500 and new E55. There is no comparison. I was not a fan of the old E55, finding it ponderous and somewhat unrefined compared to my M5 6-speed. The new E55 is a couple of rungs up the ladder and while I sill prefer BMW steering and handling to Mercedes, the difference is minor.

    If you really never get a chance to "drive" either car given a mostly urban commute, then the SL500 is probably more than satisfactory. But my guess is that the SL55 is a significantly superior car in every way - handling, steering, etc. - not just in raw acceleration.

    The deal you have been offered also sounds very good. In my area, SL55's are still selling for a premium and new SL500's are being discounted. There is no way you would be able to sell a 2 month old one here for anywhere near the trade in price you've been offered.
  • dhearddheard Posts: 2
    How do I find a ground fault. I have a constant drain from the battery; I pulled all the fuses shown in the owners guide (i in trunk, 2 under hood) and I still had the current drain. Does anyone know where I can find a wiring diagram?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Here's a way:

    Buy a cheap test light.

    Remove the positive battery cable from the post (do you remember all your radio codes?) and connect the test light in series with (as an extension of) the positive cable so that the test light itself completes the connection to the positive battery post by "extending" the disconnected positive cable.

    If the test light lights, you have a serious drain. If it doesn't light, you either have no drain or a very minimal one that might be due to an LED readout or an alarm system.

    If the test light is lit AND NOTHING IS OPEN OR ON IN THE CAR, then disconnect the fuses one by one until the light goes out. When it goes out you know the circuit the short circuit is in at least.

    You will need, if not a wiring diagram, at least a chart showing what each fuse controls.

    I'm not sure what you meant by: "i in trunk, 2 under hood" when talking about fuses. Do you mean fuse boxes, because there are certainly more than 3 fuses in your car.

    so first determine if you really have a drain or just a bum battery. Then isolate the circuit and depending on what you find we can go from there.

    MODERATOR

  • I just saw a new SL55 black/black in chicago at a new dealership, and they were asking sticker.
    Its on thew ground and has I think 20 miles on it. It is sweet looking and I wish I could get my hands on it!! If you want to know where Email me and I'll hook you up with the sales guy I use over there!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    A "new" dealership, where bout?

    M
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    underhood, in the trunk, in the passenger compartment, etc. you open a door to pull fuses, and lights go on, probably should pop out those bulbs. in fact, because of security computers on the pin switches which may actually control those lights, pull the appropriate fuse for those lights that come on before working through any others.
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