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Mercedes-Benz SL and SLK (all models)

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Comments

  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Someone has to be the trail-blazer.

    Personally, I think you are looking for someone to tell you to go with the SL600. You're trying awfully hard to rationalize it. I don't have any real world experience with either car but I can tell from your posts which one you want. Just get the V12 already and let us know how you feel about it afterwards :)

    As someone who's had seat time in the SL55, YOU could be the one telling us which of the SL55 and SL600 you prefer.
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    OK, I accept! I will get the SL600 and give you all my take.

    Then I can agonize over whether I should get the new Bentley GT.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Well I'm not telling him to buy the SL500 but it's hardly a slouch. For a mere extra $50,000 or so an SL600 will give you 1.3 fewer seconds to 0-60 (4.7 instead of the SL500s 6.0). That's a lot of $$ per tenth of a second.

    Now you do get more prestige with the SL600, it being the epitome of extravagance, this is true, and a nicer ride I'm sure than an SL55. (but no more speed).

    So what's next year going to bring us? An SL700 with a V-14? When does this kind of thing start to get...ahem...excessive?

    Twin turbos,12 cylinders and 590 ft lbs. of torque? Well, okay, if you really NEED it---LOL!

    MODERATOR

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Are you going by the old SL600 or have you driven the new one already? So far the press is saying the new car isn't nearly as nose-heavy feeling as the old car.

    Whats next you ask? A 605hp SL65 AMG of course. Debut: Geneva, March 2004.

    Shoes,

    Are you keeping the E55?

    M
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    I am keeping my 2003 E55, it is the best Mercedes and the best overall vehicle I have owned (I am up to 92 at this point).

    I will tell you something that might shock some. The E55 is so good and spoils you with the addictive power, that it is hard to drive cars with less than 400 horsepower. In December, I picked up the new CLK55 Cabriolet, with the 365 horsepower AMG engine and it feels too slow and boring.

    This is why I need the SL600, Mr. Shiftright. And yes, when the SL65 arrives, I will take a look.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Are you able to use (I mean really use) the E55's power on a day-to-day basis? Liabilities and disclaimers assumed, what are your driving patterns such that the power would make such an impression?

    I'm nowhere near 400hp ownership but as I find myself driving faster and faster cars as daily drivers, I also realize that I am drifting farther and farther away from the limits of those cars.

    I'm afraid to launch my S2000 at more than 3k rpms for fear of spinning the tires at a light and getting a ticket for "unsafe acceleration" or some such. I wouldn't know what to do with a E55 if I didn't have my own dragstrip and road course.
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    My theory about these ultra high powered AMG cars is that all this power is the ultimate luxury. The E55 has so much power available at virtually anywhere in the rev range in almost any gear, it makes it easy to indulge yourself at a moment's whim. I know this is the opposite of cars like the S2000 and RX8 and you may enjoy hunting for the powerband, but I like knowing there is a mountain of torque always availble. I don't even drive my E55 in the sport mode, I leave in the comfort mode all the time. I remember showing off one time to a passenger, by turning off the traction control and flooring it from a stand still. Lots of wheelspin and tire screeching and excitement. Only later did I realize that I had started in second gear. Scary to think what a first gear lauch might have been like. Call me immature, but I didn't get that Oldsmobile 442 when I was 16, so I am still catching up.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    My basic complaint is that the SL600 is overpriced IMO. I think it's just a big money maker for Mercedes and not worth just a huge premium for an engine and not much other advantage over an SL500 or SL55.

    Besides, you are going to nose-bleed when it depreciates.

    I can't say historically that the AMG cars have faired much better on resale, but I thin it will do better than an SL600.

    Right now a 2002 SL600 can be had for around $80,000, and a 2002 SL500 for about $55,000. Do the math if you dare.

    Out the door with some options you are in an easy $150,000 and so it's possible you will lose as much as $30,000 per year over the next two years, or $60,000 total.

    MODERATOR

  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    You are right, Mr. Shiftright, this is the most compelling reason not to get the SL600.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    While I understand what you're saying, that kind of power still seems to be a bit of an odd luxury... insofar as it seems like a luxury not easily utilized.

    You see, a fantastic sound system could yield hours of enjoyment during a long drive in a luxurious car. Comfortable, cozy seats could do the same. These are luxuries that you can enjoy day in and day out in almost any passenger vehicle that offers them. "Luxury" is typically defined along very accessible lines.

    Twin-turbo V12s are a bit of a different story. It's power and it's luxury. No arguments about that. But, it's power that's difficult to fully tap into. Seats will cradle you from point A to point B, but that engine only stimulates during acceleration and there's only so much acceleration one can do on during that same trip. (Unless, of course, you conduct 0-100-0 tests all the way to work and back.) Once in a blue moon you can spin the tires in the first three forward gears, or you can hurtle forward from 60 to 90 in a few seconds without any care as to what gear you're in, but isn't that it? It seems like an awfully inaccessible luxury. Maybe that's what makes it the ultimate drug amongst premier passenger cars these days--its presence and yet its seeming distance. There's something sexy about power so wild that you can only exercise it occasionally.

    If you don't mind my asking - you've tried the SL500 and the SL55. You seem to have the werewithal, so why not sample V12 power in the form of, say, an Aston Martin? Specifically, is the SL the best platform with which to sample a V12, especially when many of its characteristics (for example, chassis flex or throttle modulation) are likely to be very similar to either of the SLs you've already driven?
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    I find that I toe into the wonderful acceleration capabilities of my E55 often, so while your points are well spoken, they may be more applicable to your driving style than mine. When I get into a "lesser" car, I find that I get myself into trouble trying to squeeze into spots my E55 would get into effortlessly. I am sure my neighbors think I am overly aggressive in my little town.

    The reason I have't wandered over to the Aston Martin dealership is that I am devoted to Mercedes especially AMG. I have owned enough cars by now to know that this is the one. I am pondering the new Bentley however- what do you think of that one?
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    I am not qualified to discuss the Bentley GT. I drive a 2.2L S2000, remember? :)

    If I had to venture a guess, the salient difference with the Bentley would be a matter of perception... or lifestyle... or culture perhaps. You see, the E55 is an understated sedan. Even the SL series, attractive as they are, exude understated elegance. This is the dominant undercurrent of Mercedes styling in my opinion, and the predominant theme of all sub-$100,000 passenger vehicles short of, say, a Hummer H2. I do not believe the E-Class defines the driver so much as the driver defines the E-Class. Even in this rarified air, these are passenger vehicles first and foremost, and you might even describe them as supremely capable appliances.

    If I had the werewithal to own a SL55, I would not be anxious about parking it at malls or even driving it through the pick-up lane at Taco Bell.

    Now a Bentley seems like a different beast. The GT is a bit more understated than previous Bentleys, but it still is what it is, and you could argue that the perception of the car could be more affecting than the driving experience itself---depending on where you live of course. The GT might have the same driving dynamics and interior opulence as the SL600 but my personal attitude behind the wheel of one would be markedly different. This I can say without hesitation, despite not having behind the wheel of one.

    I can't put this difference in words. Does this make sense? All I can say is that I would feel awkward driving the GT to Taco Bell, just as I would feel awkward sitting in the back seat of a Maybach 62 on a trip to the mall.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that successful Bentley ownership may require more than money. It may require a change of mindset. Or, it might force one. I suspect the ownership of a Bentley would be much more.... provocative... than ownership of even the most lofty Benz.

    P.S. Given the location in your profile, can you recommend a good, light dessert wine from the region? I bought a couple of cases of Mondavi Botrytis when I was there a couple of years ago, which are nearly exhausted. Last bottle will be opened tomorrow :(
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    Once again, you have distilled the essence of the issue quite well. I cannot imagine telling someone that I drive a Bentley, it carries too much baggage which I don't want to resemble. But with VW ownership and the rumor of mass production, the Bentley image is likely to evolve over the next few years. I am just not sure I want to be one of the change agents.

    My solution to the problem of the SL55 and E55 being perceived as either arrogant or expensive is this- I take the badges off. My E55 has no markings of any kind so that the neighbor kid with the Mustang won't feel obliged to challenge me on my way to work. Same with the SL55, when I owned it (I couldn't get that "V8 Kompressor" badge off quickly enough). Only people with the rear view of the quad tailpipes will know what passed them, and by that point, it is too late.

    Desert wines are not my expertise (I am in the wine business) but you can never go wrong with Chateau Y'Quem.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Bentley is kind of a [non-permissible content removed] car now, don't you think? Is it British or German?

    MODERATOR

  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    I agree that Bentley is becoming something other than it has been and I will bet you that five years from now, it will be a better brand for this.

    I wish the Germans would buy all the beautiful car companies like those in England and Italy and improve their engineering without losing their beauty. There are probably more of us thinking about Lamborghini now that Audi owns it and possibility of getting a V10 in an Audi is also exciting.

    I definately favor more of this, but I am still struggling to understand the merger of Mercedes and Chrysler.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Well that should warn you that not all corporate cultures will blend easily. Some cars could benefit from mergers but it would be death for companies like Porsche and Ferrari, which depend so much on heritage for sales strength.

    Bentley was lost as a car with a real identity when it was sold to Rolls Royce in the 30s. It's never been an important car after that anyway. So I agree, let anyone build it who can.

    MODERATOR

  • Can this car be had for under MSRP?
    How long for delivery?

    I notice there are many 2003 Starmark models for sale. Am I better shying way from these - 5 speed, two tone interiors?
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    Having owned 2 '03 SL's, I would advise a 2004, maybe even a 2005. There seemed to have a couple of common problems that I am hoping more production time will cure. There seems to be an ample supply of 2004's right now, before the Spring weather gets here.
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    Today I test drove the SL 600 and since I have owned the SL 55 I can now give you my comparison.

    The SL600 is mature. It feels like a large sedan. It is more polished and feels more luxurious. It does not feel like a sporty car. The acceleration is quite capable, but driving fast and agressively is not its strong suit.

    The SL55 on the other hand is a monster. It feels like you could not drive it slowly if you wanted to. Despite the weight, it feels like you are driving on air. It is still too heavy to be a true sports car, but it is very sporting and the engine makes you feel like you can do anything. I always loved driving past a crowd of people then nailing the throttle. The NASCAR type roar always gets attention.

    I would recommend the SL600 to anyone over the mental age of 60. The SL55 is not for the faint of heart. It is not a relaxing car to drive, since it always seems like everyone in front of you is driving too slow.

    I also tested the 2004 SL 500. The new 7 speed transmission really transforms this car, making it feel more lively. Also, the now standard 18 inch wheels help the handling quite a bit and make the sports package redundant.

    Every SL I have ever owned or driven has a clicking sound from behind the driver's seat that eminates (I am told) from the pump on the fuel tank. It cannot be fixed by the dealer. Most times you get used to it.

    I am hearing that during the MY 2005, the SL will have an SLR /SLK type redo of the nose.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    God I hope they don't do that to the SL's classic good looks. I can accept that look on the SLR and SLK, but not the SL. SL, CL and CLK should keep the same look, SLK and SLR should keep their look.

    So Shoes are you getting the SL600?

    M
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