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Mercedes-Benz SL and SLK (all models)

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  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Sorry, don't have a dog. But I'm glad to see that you are putting your skills to work.

    As it turns out, my hometown Acura / Mercedes dealer did have an SL65. Also had a nice cherry red SLK55 and a few other AMG models. But guess what the owner of the dealership just picked up for himself? A 2006 Speed Yellow Porsche Cayman. And to think they gave me friendly grief when I bought a 911 last fall. Go figure.

    Perhaps by the time you are old enough to afford (and drive) an SL65, AMG will figure out how to make a real sports car - i.e. somethong that weighs less than 2 tons, has a real 6-speed transmission, and has a suspension that can at least match the handling of my old S2000. Until then, if I were you, I'd be dreaming about the Ferrari while I was pounding those nails on the doghouses.

    Keep up the good work. Seriously. :)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Nothing wrong with a good GT car either. ;)

    M
  • I was just wondering about an SL65. I might get a Mercedes for my second car but my dream car is a Ferrari F430 Spider. I like the way they show off the engine and my other favorite thing is, you guessed it, that its a friggin Ferrari. Thanks for the feedback on the jobs. I appreciate it.
  • zeamanzeaman Posts: 2
    As a recent purchaser of a 2005 SL500, I'm writing you to find out if you have any information for me about what is going on with these once-coveted cars. My local dealer has a brand new 2005 SL500 which I thought would be a good deal. However, the dealer is not discounting the car much even though the new 2007 with the redesigned tail-lights is due in a few months and his two 05s on the lot will be two years old. Yet, I'm being pushed to buy the 2006 because the difference is price is minimal. Help me understand. What's going on with these cars that once were wait-listed, and sold above sticker?

    Thanks,
    Zeaman
  • "Help me understand. What's going on with these cars that once were wait-listed, and sold above sticker?"

    The interest has definitely worn off.

    Part of it is the general decline in Mercedes reliability and build quality. My not so prudent brother-in-law bought an 2004 SL55 at over sticker, had numerous problems to the point that Mercedes gave him a new one and then sold that at a $20k loss less than a year later. He bought a 2005 911 Cabriolet and is the "happiest he has ever been" with a car (first Porsche, after at least 8+ Mercedes).

    The other part is supply / demand. There was a time when you had to wait 6 months to get any AMG model and even some non-AMG models. Now the unsold inventories are starting to rival GM. And substantial discounts are available if you look around.

    We are inundated with business headlines questioning when GM and/or Ford are going to be filing for bankruptcy. But, IMO, the demise of Mercedes reputation over the past 10 years is the most signifcant challenge they have faced in the company's history. If I polled 100 of my friends and business associates to name the likely brand of their next car, I am certain Mercedes has fallen completely off the top 5 list, whereas it was probably #1 or #2 5-10 years ago.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well I don't think it has as much to do with MB's recent bad press about reliability as it does age and supply/demand like the previous post says. The SL has more than a few younger competitors now and its a niche car to begin with. There are all sorts of cars playing in the space the SL literally had all to itself just a few years ago. You have Maserati's Spyder, Jaguar's new XK, a new 911 Cabrio and Bentley (though not a roadster) is on fire right now. There is even worthy competitor from Cadillac angling for a piece of the SL's market. Mercedes is being squeezed from all sides, and the reliability issues don't help. However with any car once production catches up with demand this is what happens. Unless the car is a Ferrari or some other model where they have a set number they're going to build and then that is it.

    That said watch the sales numbers go up once the 07' model arrives. A base SL with 382hp should really be popular, it almost makes the 55/600/65 models irrelevant, IMO.

    M
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    As someone who bought a 2005 911S Cabriolet, my sense is that, as merc points out, the SL now has a lot more players in its space. And make no mistake, at 4,000+ lbs, it's no svelte sports car. There are a lot of other 2 seater and 2+2 GT cars that compete in the $100k territory. I would also put the new AM V8, the 650i and M6 on that list.

    Personally - and obviously I am biased - I could never see getting the SL over the new 997 911 Cab. The old 911's were edgy (to the preference of purists) but the new 911 is both an extraordinary performing sports car and a pretty comfortable, well equiped highway cruiser. I have nearly 6,000 miles on ours in 6 months and a third of those have been with the kids in the back. Not to mention that the 911 has received high reliability ratings:

    Most reliable luxury cars

    I also think Mercedes is cannibalizing on the SL with its other models. It used to be that the SL was the only non-sedan in Mercedes lineup. Now you have the CL, CLS and SLK and CLK Cab all nicking away at the SL's market. It also used to be that the SL500 was the top dog in terms of Mercedes performance. Now, unfortunately, compared to the competition, it is just a dog. The added horsepower of the 2007 may help, but it could also go on a 1,000 lb diet and a (non AMG) suspension upgrade as well. In the long run, I am not sure how many "niche" models Mercedes can profitably maintain. One of my friends is a Mercedes fleet leasing specialist and he's indicated that there are "deals to be had" on every one of the aforementioned models, including every AMG variant.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I also think Mercedes is cannibalizing on the SL with its other models. It used to be that the SL was the only non-sedan in Mercedes lineup. Now you have the CL, CLS and SLK and CLK Cab all nicking away at the SL's market. It also used to be that the SL500 was the top dog in terms of Mercedes performance. Now, unfortunately, compared to the competition, it is just a dog. The added horsepower of the 2007 may help, but it could also go on a 1,000 lb diet and a (non AMG) suspension upgrade as well. In the long run, I am not sure how many "niche" models Mercedes can profitably maintain. One of my friends is a Mercedes fleet leasing specialist and he's indicated that there are "deals to be had" on every one of the aforementioned models, including every AMG variant.

    Not true. The CL (S-Class Coupe before 1997) has been around for ages and the CLK has been around since 1998. The only victim of the SLK was the underpowered SL320 version of the previous R129 SL. The CLK, SLK and SL are all in different price ranges and though the SLK and SL are both 2-seaters they aren't even close in price. Yeah I know you don't consider the SLK a sports car either, but it is the sportier of the two and is no slouch. The SL is the luxury GT that is still entertaining to drive.

    We've had this conversation before about the SL and its intended purpose which is not to compete with your car. ;) I know you're just talking when saying that SL is a "dog" so I'll let that go.

    M
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "We've had this conversation before about the SL and its intended purpose which is not to compete with your car. I know you're just talking when saying that SL is a "dog" so I'll let that go."

    Thanks for forgiving me that momentary indescretion. ;) The SL500 is hardly a dog, but if it is due for an 80 horsepower upgrade, that should help push its 4,000 lb curb weight a bit more forcefully.

    And I guess you are right about the other models being around in the past, but they have definitely gotten a bit more competitive recently. I know of someone that traded an old 500 SL for the redesigned SLK 55. Would never have done that with the old body style SLK.

    It also seems that Mercedes is pushing AMG models in higher volumes. It seems like I see about 1 SL55 for every 2 SL500's here in the DC area.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I know of someone that traded an old 500 SL for the redesigned SLK 55. Would never have done that with the old body style SLK.

    True. I thought the first SLK was cute, but nothing more. This new one especially the SLK55 is really a great little roadster, all that is missing is the stick for some folks.

    M
  • bosco42bosco42 Posts: 20
    There are plenty of good deals out there now. I just picked up a brand new 2006 SL500 for $12,000 off list.
  • zeamanzeaman Posts: 2
    You beat my deal by $1,000. Is your car loaded? Mine has Sports Package, Trim Package, Xenon and invisible bra. MZ
  • Does anyone know how to get the trunk open on a 450SL when the battery, which is in the trunk, has died?. I've had to do it once before and can not for the life of me remember how I did it. The key opens the trunk but with the assistance of an electrically controlled release mechanism. I don't want to damage the chrome or paint. It's a '78 450SL. I just bought it a year or so ago and it did not come with an owners manual. They are out of print.
  • carnut100carnut100 Posts: 7
    There are plenty of good deals out there. I just traded in my 04 SL500 for $67500 and got the 2006 SL500 for $11k off window (because 07 is coming early). I think the reason for the softness in the market is that there just are not a lot of buyers for this niche and interest rates are rising. The Porsche is really for a different buyer. My wife and I wanted to change this time (third SL in a row after a series of Jag XKs) and test drove the Porsche S with Tiptronic. A comparably performing and equipped Porsche was actually more expensive, but was a little to rough for us and had too much wind noise with the top up. The Cadillac is a toy, in that you cannot go away for the weekend with the top down and luggage ... or go to a golf course with your spouse. We like the SL because it is practical and with the hardtop, a good winter car. It is a driver for us so the extra room behind the seat and in the trunk (versus a cadillac) is important. The new Jag may be a competitor, but the front end looks like a Taurus and traditionally, does not hold its value as well as a Porsche or Mercedes.
  • Dave, If you take a flat crowbar, slide it up )the end with the hook) above the trunk key button while you have the key inserted and turned counterclockwise and depressed to where it normally should open it will release like you effected it with a key ...my battery died as a result of leaving a parking light on overnight - after posting here and getting no response, I used the crow bar again...With the battery in the trunk dead and the activator of the trunk lid key opener non-functional because of the need for battery power, I do not believe that you have any alternative but to use a crowbar...Also, Important: make sure that you have unlocked the front door(s)before trying to unlock & open the trunk...If you know a better method I'd like to hear from you...I'm at peter@abbaart.com. Circumvent this forum because it sent me an e-mail for the latest post, and I still can't figure out why I never got directed to your earlier Feb post using a search term which included the word "trunk" for basically the identical request, other than our models being different. Peter/theroadster
  • dispencer1dispencer1 Posts: 489
    I rode in a friend's 560SL the other day and thought it would be nice to get rid of my 2000 Mustang convertible and all the associated stuff and look for either a 560SL or a 1990 300SL with the newer body. Has anyone had any experience with the 300 ? I'd use the car as a "show" car -detailing it and just using it on weekends. It wouldn't be a daily driver. I put about 300 miles a year on the Mustang. Which would be more dependable -the 560 or the 300? I'd look for a garaged one from the original owner with service records -I don't buy "beaters". I haven't sat in a 300. I liked the 560 because it didn't have a cab forward design with the windshield slanting over your head or the sun visors hitting your forehead. How is the 300 windshield? Any help that can help me make up my mind would be greatly appreciated.
  • martywmartyw Posts: 1
    I was wondering when the SL is going to be totally redesigned, not just tweaked or freshened. Anybody know???
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Best guess is like 2010.

    M
  • raysl500raysl500 Posts: 1
    I have a 99 SL500. From time to time, I get the indicator light saying I have a light out. I have checked all the lights I can think of an can not find one bad.
    Any way to check why I am getting this light or which one is causing it?
    Raysl500
  • laxatl1laxatl1 Posts: 2
    I just bought a 1999 sl500 w/o the owners manual. What does the warning light that is an explantion point surrounding by little marks mean? It only comes on when the headlights are on so I figured it had something to do with the lights, but all lights are working
  • laxatl1laxatl1 Posts: 2
    I have the same trouble. did you ever find out what that warning means?
  • mhancockmhancock Posts: 1
    hello, i have a 2000 model slk 200 manual six speed, and i have a transmission problem.all gears are smooth and selecting fine, except for second gear.i am unable to enter second gear when car is mobile or stationary.there was no indication of any problem before, and the problem was immediate.the car is still driveable,but i am not sure if it will cause any more problems.i have been advised it may be a linkage problem, and i am looking for any advice anyone has to offer.
    many thanks for reading this, mark.
  • jimbo409jimbo409 Posts: 17
    I am considering buying a used sl 91 thru 95 which one do you guys recommend. are there anythings I should look for when buying. I am a novice with these cars.
  • cosito1cosito1 Posts: 2
    I just recently bought a 2006 SL 55 AMG. I know my question might be out of context to the topic at hand , however I will try just in case.
    The problem has to do with the manumatic -speed shifting .
    This car has 5 speed and 3 settings , comfort , sport , and ,manual . the manual can be done by pressing buttons on the back of the steering wheel or by tipping the shifter to the left or right.
    This trans, in manual is crazy , say you want to take a 2nd gear turn, you come on 5 hit the downshift button 3 times (spaced) and the software which has a mind of its own chooses 1st gear instead.
    It is certainly not a sequential shifter .

    I am wondering if any of you has experienced the same with any Mercedes with manumatic.
  • jomanojomano Posts: 1
    I have been looking for a 450SL for a couple years and just found one online, in CT (the car is originally from CA--emissions sticker claims). The car is in really good shape (almost no cosmetic problems) with 170K miles and the seller claims it runs well. Would someone with knowledge of these cars let me know if you think $5900 asking price is okay for the year and mileage. The prices are ALL over the place. Also, can anyone make a suggestion on if I should look for something specific in the engine, etc.... I'm not a mechanic. Is 170K too many miles? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • dispencer1dispencer1 Posts: 489
    I've asked this question before with no response. I need some advice. I'm looking for around a 1990-1995 SL. Which one would be the best to buy based on reliability? All of them seem to fall in the $12,000-18,000 price range for a good one with records, original paint (a must) and relatively low mileage. I don't care whether I have a 6 or 8. I understand there have been issues with the 5 speed automatics. This is the info I need.
    Help me out so I can start nailing down what to look for.
  • cosito1cosito1 Posts: 2
    I had a V6 and a V8 .There is a world of diference between the two . I beg you not to buy the V6 , it is very , very slow , also it starts on 2nd gear unless you hammer the throttle .You will be frustrated . The V8 on the other hand is much better and has better resale value
    Had no problems with the transmission .
    I hope this helps.
  • dispencer1dispencer1 Posts: 489
    Thanks very much for the advice. There are more 500SLs around anyway so I'll concentrate on those. I'm not worried about the lack of speed though. This will simply be a fun car for weekends and for detailing -not a daily driver. I have other cars for daily chores and road trips. I'm glad the 5 speed automatic was not a problem though.
  • jmancinijmancini Posts: 3
    I have been looking, test driving, looking, etc. for close to a year now for my perfect SL500. I would only go with the 500 as those engines are pretty much bulletproof. The price differential between the 300/320 and the 500 is minimal.

    Keep in mind the 5 speed electronic transmission didn't start until 1996. From 1990-95 they were 4 speed hydraulic, which worked fine but a little slow on the downshift.

    The V8 engine used until 1999 was a 4 valve, DOHC V8 that was replaced in 1999 with a 3 valve per cylinder, SOHC. The earlier engines pack 322hp with 353 +/- ft lb. torque vs. 302 hp / 339 lbs. torque. Not much difference, but still. (Please excuse me if I am off a little on hp/torque #'s). Suffice it to say these cars move.

    You can view the production run of the R129 in three phrases: 1990-95; 1996-98; 1999-2002. IMHO, while not taking anything away from any year of the SL R129 run, I have focused on the years of 1996-1998 in my search.
  • dispencer1dispencer1 Posts: 489
    The 1990 300SL had a 5 speed automatic. The 500SL had the 4 speed. I understand that the 4 speed was more dependable. Thanks for the advice. I'm going to look for a 500SL.
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