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Mercedes-Benz SL and SLK (all models)

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Comments

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Style is of course your opinion, though it's not shared in the least. What other car in it's 5th year is still a hard to get item? It certainly wasn't the previous SC300/400 from Lexus. It most likely won't be the current SC430 either. The CLK has been a consistant hit ever since 1998. Period. After 1995 Lexus couldn't give away SC300/400s. The CLK has the weaker design? What in the world are you talking about? The CLK has rollover protection and a more rigid chassis, two essential things in a convertible. I believe it's the other way around, the SC430 comes off as the non impressive one, loosing to a car that has been around in it's basic from since 1998. In reguards to the new SL, you're dreaming even higher now. The SL is easily one of the best looking Mercedes' ever, and better looking than any Lexus will probably ever be. But this is a matter of opinion, but you'll find more that like the SL over the SC, guaranteed. Please tell me what these "luxury touches" are that the Benz can't touch on the SC430, I'm dying to hear. Don't tell me a thing about a nav system or cd player placement. Cause if that's all the Lexus sells on those items can be had in a cars for half as much.

    M
  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    Where does Benz get off NOT offering in dash changers and DVD NAV? Where is the extra $5-10k premium going, anyway? I'd give some of the over-the-top safety systems back for a more functional car with more useful features. When I look at a $60-80k car, I don't want to see ANYTHING that REEKS of cost-cutting, period!!! Do you disagree? To Mr. Shiftright, Lexus being only 12 years old, still has the right (cajones?) to build bold new designs! 5 years ago, everyone said Lexus only builds boring appliances. Now they build sexy convertibles, and here come the critics defending Benz conservative style. Those who can, do. Those who can't......don't........ THe Benz SL is a better car (I don't know about $25k better!), and the Lexus is sexier. That's my opinion. Lexus is building all the SC's they can to meet demand, but if they don't offer a sportier version with better seats/suspension settings, demand will wane in 2 years.........and Merc, all I'm saying is the current CLK took advantage of a market that wanted the latest safety features (ASR, side airbags, VDC, a convertible option) that the Lexus didn't offer, and a large customer base of Benz owners looking for ANYTHING new in 96. The design is nothing special, and the performance was competitive, but a new flavor of the month, combined with fewer competitors, gave the Benz the market by default. Lexus abandoned the SC after 7 years to work on the new SC. The current CLK in no big deal...... All I'm saying is for the dollars Benz wants, I want a sexy, awe-inspiring car with all the features (safety AND luxury), the softest leathers, the most convenience, the best powertrain, and great drivng dynamics. Lexus left out the last part. The Benz CLk leaves out some things (beauty, convenience, interior luxury compared to SC). Neither car is perfect, so don't break your fists pounding your chest...... I think the new SL is hot, but the gills on the hood and fenders are a poor attempt at style/retro, and the interior MUST have the latest convenience features for $85k+, this is 2003, and for that chunk of change, it BETTER be perfect. The perfect convertible STILL as not been made........
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    "The perfect convertible STILL as not been made........"

    This I'll agree with. Lexus has awkward styling, the Germans are all afraid of CD players, and American offerings seem to lack the build quality. The perfect convertible hasn't been made yet. Maybe Acura or Infiniti can get it right. (In fact didn't Infiniti nearly hit a bullseye in the early 90s?)

    In the meantime you have to admit, the SL500/SL55 is about as close as you can get to the perfect convertible.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Long as you yourself say the Benz is the better car the rest of your post is rendered pointless.

    No convertible is perfect true, but Mercedes is the best there is at Luxury convertibles. Only Ferrari and Porsche build one any better.

    Your theory about the CLK having the market to itself in 1998 is just an excuse, it isn't Mercedes' fault Lexus was late to the drop-top-luxury party. You can't be serious of blaming Mercedes for quote "taking advantage of the market".....hello(!)....that is the purpose of building and selling cars. The Japanese are masters of this, as well. If you're seriously stating that as a reason for the CLK's success, then you've lost all of what little credibility you had with me. And just an FYI the first CLK cabriolet didn't come out until 1999, that being the CLK320. The 430 Cabrio followed in 2000.

    To top it all off now you're claiming that safety features aren't important??? Better leather, but no rollover protection?? Right?? Better Nav system, but no thorax airbags??? Lets have a creaky body, but a better sound system to drown out the cowl shake??

    I've said this before and I'll say it again. CD players, Leather and Nav systems are not what a Benz make.

    The SL's premium over the SC430 is clearly visible by glancing at the SL's equipment list. New generation technology costs money.

    Try again, you're arguement is dust.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Ah......the SL500/55 being as close to perfection as possible, you can see that too huh?

    M
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Of course I can, it looks like a great car.

    Close to perfection != perfection though. I think some of toyotas1's comments are off base, however at this point I don't think there is any excuse for cars of this calibre to not have DVD nav systems or in-dash changers.

    A SL55 with a slightly prettier front end & more up-to-date audio and nav would be the perfect convertible IMO. Which means that MB is really really close. Fix a couple of things and cut the price by about 80% so that I can afford it, and I'll be all over it.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    If they cut the price by 80% you'll have to wait in line behind me! I agree, Mercedes needs to update a few minor things.

    M
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,660
    Once again, I think Mercedes suffers from not showing off enough. Much of the car's quality and uniqueness is not apparent. You really DO need to saw the car in half, and saw a Lexus in half, to see the difference. Or at least disassemble the cars down to bare bones. That's where the $25K is, and that's why my 1980 Benz look as good as the day it was built...or should I say over-built.

    If you aren't interested in what you can't see, buy a Lexus. No argument from me. You can have a fancy CD player or you can have ASC, ESP, ASR and ABC from Mercedes.

    If you want the most technologically advanced car in the world, there is no other choice at the moment.
  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    First off, check the review in C&D on the SL. The article didn't show the, anywhere, that the SL is hands down the best luxury convertible available. Their cup didn't exactly runneth over with praise, did it? Let's quote, shall we?...... "ABC doesn't do anythig for ride quality, which is on the tranquil side but DEGENERATES INTO QUIVERING CONCUSSIONS over Midwestern frost heaves."........ "The twin aluminum rings that control the temperature for driver and passenger wobble slightly in their faces and feel as if pilfered from the HYUNDAI PARTS BIN."...... How 'bout that, Merc? You must be brimming with pride and holier-than-thous now, huh?.......I know you want throw "That was a pre-production unit, anyway!" into your response, but full Road Test are on production units only. The CLK seemed to have rigidity over BOTH HARDTOPS, probaby more a tribute to structural tweeks over it 5 years it current form. Maybe the S2000 has structural rigidity topping all three??....... Where I'm coming from is that every company has strengths and weaknesses. The Benz cars will ALWAYS do well because they have a super heritage/legacy, are innovative, and have a reputation for endurance, even if they don't sweat the details. That's what they do well. What they don't do well is make a stick, make a fittingly opulent interior for their high prices, or build a bold, original designs. Lexus has strengths and weaknesses too. They are mre innovative than German-lovers would have you believe (The original SC, the DESIGN and features of the new SC, the RX300, NVH poneering achievements), they are willing to take styling risks (the new ES and SC430, the GS series), the quality standards, the ride quality (that Americans prefer, not Germans), fair prices, the quality of materials used. Their weaknesses are they don't offer the variety the Germans do, the options, and the safety features are usually a couple of years behind the Germans, and a manual is hard to come by. I feel BOTH cars are clos to perfection! The Sl still has some structural issues, interior quality/feature issues, and is still $10k over priced. The SC needs sportier seats, two SEPERATE suspensions for different buyers (Sport or Comfort, use the ES adjustable suspension?), and a shorter first gear would get the 0-60 time lower. Obviously, the car is biased a little too much to the aging baby boomer. But Lexus hears you a lot better than Mercedes does, so next summer I'm sure the tightening will be made. I think the SL is a SLIGHTLY better car, but the Lexus is the pound for pound champ! They both have many strengths, just allow that there are other great convertibles besides Mercedes, huh?.......
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Have you sawed a Lexus in half? I know what you are saying about the strength of MB and I don't disagree with it. However you also seem to be implying that Lexus does *not* share that same strength. I'm not so sure. Obviously there is no 1980 Lexus to compare with your 1980 MB. However if we sawed a 1990 Lexus and a 1990 MB in half, would they be that different? (They might be, they might not be; I'd like to see some evidence that they would be, given how over-engineered the LS400 appears to be from my time in them.)

    This isn't to say that the SC430 is a better or equal car to the SL500, I haven't driven either, much less sawed either of them in half. However, I don't think any of us can claim that the MB absolutely *does* have a greater degree of overengineering than the SC430 unless we've done our fair share of time inside the SC430 as well.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Something MB needs, especially for the SL500, is a stunning visual example of engineering excellence. This is something I haven't seen MB try to advertise to the public for a while. Not many companies make an effort to do that, however when they do try the effect can be stunning.

    I think most people here remember the wine glass television commercials that accompanied the debut of the LS400. (The stack of wine glasses remaining perfectly balanced on a LS400 doing 150mph on a dyno.) That simple ad caused half the jaws in America to drop. MB needs something like that for the SL500. Fact or fiction, the encroachment of the luxury imports, the steady progress of BMW and Audi, and the growing QA concerns about MB are starting to tarnish the image of excellence that Benz has enjoyed for quite some time. If the SL500 is MB's response to the last five years, then it should be mated to a stunning advertising campaign that shows what the car is or means. For better or for worse, the press reviews on the SL500 are generally filled with praise but as the previous poster pointed out, they haven't had that "this is the best car in the universe" quality that the forum posters here were alleging the new SL to have prior to its actual release. If the SL500 is supposed to be something more special than "a very nice car for a lot of money" then now is the time for them to make a statement.

    Says edmunds.com:

    "What really separates the SL from its competitors, which we'll call the Porsche 911, Jaguar XKR, Maserati Spyder and the already-referenced Lexus SC, is that thrill you get from constantly discovering new features not even dreamed of in those other cars."

    Note that they didn't pin the SL's strengths on its build quality, or on the stuff "inside" that may not appear on the surface. On the contrary, the review essentially boiled down to, "the SL500 is a really cool car because it has a lot of gadgets and buttons." I can't explain why, but that isn't what I was expecting an auto journalist to take away from an experience in the new SL. This car should not be wowing auto journalists in the same way a 3000GT VR4 wowed journalists.
  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    Good to have a Merc writer who isn't a quivering mess of cliches! Love the SL, but cosidering how long they've had to design it, and what the word is on what it delivers, I'm disappointed. I think Lexus offers a car about as good for $25k less with a more glamourous design. And the vents on the hood and fender suck..... still a great car though.....
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    For the record I think the SL500 is a nice car. However comparing its MSRP versus that of the SL55, the SL55 seems to be a lot closer to the car the SL500 *should* be for its price, and the SLK32's bang-for-the-buck makes me wonder about the value of the SL500.

    Which would you rather have: a new SL500, or a SLK32 AMG and about $40k cash? I could be wrong in saying this, but the only thing the SL500 seems to have on the SLK AMG are electronic gimmicks, a thousand pounds and "heritage"... I guess I'm not as impressed by the SL500 as I figured I ought to be, given what I believe are (in my opinion) two much, much better convertible hardtop roadsters in MB's own model lineup.

    Maybe the problem isn't so much that the SL500 is bad, but rather that the AMG models are so GOOD.
  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    But I see the SLK as too small and toy-like. I'm well over six feet and need a full size ride. How much is the AMG upgrade? $20k? $25k?
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,660
    The reference to "sawing the Mercedes in half" was only partially related to the idea of body strength. My point was that there are many hidden quality features in the construction of the car, which includes, besides strength, elegant forms of wiring, insulation, alloys, couplers, braces, hold-downs, and beautifully machined parts you will never see.

    I know a lot about Benz because I used to work for them and toured their factory many times as a VIP. I can't say how a 1990 Lexus compares point for point. My point was that if you can't see the $25K difference between an SL500 and an SC430, THAT DOESN'T MEAN THERE ISN'T ONE (emphasis added but no shouting intended). I was only suggesting WHY you or someone couldn't readily see the $25K. It's in the a) technology, and b) the details.

    As for Car and Driver, well they are the "bad boys" of the automotive press, and also it's a free country (more or less) . Personally, I thought their comments were pretty dumb. When you have to rail about dash vents you are getting fairly desperate for criticism. As for the ABC remark, I am no fan of automatic controls of any kind on a car, so I revel in any criticism of them.

    Basically it always comes down to this: If you cannot see and feel how the SL500 has raised the bar over the SC430, with your own test drive, research, and eyeballs, then buy the Lexus and be happy, because in truth then you have made the wiser choice.

    As for the Hyundai air vents, it well may be true. The Japanese probably copied them, just like Mazda Protege copied EXACTLY the air vents from my 1988 Alfa Romeo Spyder! I consider it a compliment, that from all the engineers in all of Japan, they chose my humble car to copy. Love it.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Again your point is meaningless because you YOURSELF say that the SL is the better car. That should be the end of the discussion. If the SC is not the better car then why are still going on and on about it?? Your coments in post #50 about the CLK's structual rigidity make no sense at all. Read the introduction articles about the CLK320 Cabrio when it first came out the car was solid when it debuted and it's still more solid than your new Lexus of today. Period. Shows how much you know about Mercedes-Benz. You post is nothing more than continuious harping about the SC430 being a lesser car than the SL500, which you've (you yourself) have already agreed on. I don't understand what you keep bringing this up for. You can talking about Lexus until you loose feeling in your typing fingers, but the fact remains that Mercedes makes better convertibles, easily the best luxury convertibles on the market. If all you can do is quote C&D you're lost and will thus never get it. More dust.

    What I find truly amazing about your theories is that they're all exuses for Lexus, yet if Mercedes would have lost that comparo and I in turn said that the CLK430 should have lost due to it being the older car of the two....you wouldn't be trying to hear any of that. The Lexus SC430 looses to the CLK430 and the SL500, get over it.

    sphinx99,

    What are you talking about??? Mercedes needs a showcase of engineering achievements? The fastest folding hardtop, Electronic brakes, active suspension, rollover protection (they were first in 1990 to do this) not to mention all of Mercedes' traditional strengths, all wrapped in some of the best looking sheetmetal on the road.

    What you fail to realize is the Lexus needed something like balancing wine glasses on it's hood because it was a new brand and it had to prove itself. Mercedes would never need such hype (bs) to sell the SL, people who know Mercedes already know that the SL is where Mercedes does their best work. Mercedes needs no such fluff for a car that is sold out worldwide.

    Both you all pick up a copy of Sports Car International. Car and Driver believe it or not doesn't really like Mercedes, they're BMW fans overall. Neither of you have been able to answer this question for months. If the SL500 isn't the best in class, what is?

    It's seems to me that the SL500 is so untouchable in you guys minds to the point where you have to reach for something, anything to try and get around the facts about this car. Now the SLK32 makes the SL500's "value" questionable. Please.... The SLK32 is a completely different car, with much less technology, space, features, and it's playing the performance card first, luxury second. In the end it doesn't matter much, because Mercedes sells all the units available on BOTH cars. Yes you are wrong here.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    They (C&D) have to reach to find something wrong with the car. Yeah the vents aren't as solid as they thought they should be and he retro styling details didn't set well with them...wow! I guess that make the SL a terrible car.

    M
  • kdudekdude Posts: 22
    Last week I attended a launch party for SL at our local dealer, and over the weekend had a test ride. This car is beautiful & solid. I have had an SC430 for the past year. The SL has a much more solid feel and more responsive as well. Creature comfort is everywhere. The trunk "felt" as it had twice the room compared to SC. The SL trunk is deeper and goes a little further back. Although you have to push a button to have the folded top raised a bit before you can reach all the available space. Two more features on SL which are not on SC:
    1 - You can operate the top with your remote key.
    2 - Top can be opened and closed with the Windows up.

    One thing I did not like was the lack of in-dash CD changer. Although the cartridge is positoned behind the driver's seat and somewhat easy to access.

    Folks, MB did its job well. I have orders for both SL & SL55. No complaint about my SC. It's just time to move on. New orders for SL here in West LA have an eight months wait and growing. SL 55 should be here in March/April 2003.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Did they mention if there was a SL600 coming? What's the price of the SL55?

    M
  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    Shiftright........ the two probable factors in the price difference of the Sc and the SL are one, lower labor cost/efficiencies, and two, the extra safety/engineering technologies added in the SL. Obviously, if JD Power has a worthy opinion, Lexus vehicles are built to last as long and as reliable (if not more so) than any Benz....... and you seemed to miss the criticizm by C&D. They're saying that Bex TOOK HYUNDAIS interior pieces, implying lower quality/luxurious interior materials than may be required for the price. This ties in with the disappointed tenor of the article, harping on what they expected, but didn't get in the 2003 redesign......... Merc - YOU are the one pushing this argument by ignoring facts, being stubborn, and showing no respect for the competition. I'm TRYING to be HONEST! Now C&D all of the sudden has no credibility? Can you HONESTLY say sfter reading hat article that they were IMPRESSED by the redesigned car? And you LOVE the vents on the hood and fender? It doesn't smack of "Pontiac-esque", tacked-on style? Should they ignore such a gaff on a car that is redesigned every three presidents? Are you willing to allow that someone else makes an appealing competitor? Your silence on these issues borders of cowardice. I'm showing proper respect for a legend. That certainly doesn't mean that the Lexus is "dust" or outclassed by any means. The integrity of the SL was definitely questioned in the article, do you deny that?...... If I was there, I would have picked the CLK too, as driving dynamics are of supreme inportance i these comparisons. All I'm saying is this issue is a PERFECT bass for discussion of the differences of the two cars (SL and SC). Both are flawed, both have some integrity issues, one has the seats and the drive of a Buick, while one has the interior of a $35k car, not an $85k car. That's my point. The issue clearly sowed that these cars are more alike than different. When you can show fair respect for the new competition, and admit the new car's flaws have been exposed, you let me know........
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