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Mercedes-Benz SL and SLK (all models)



  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "That's because you don't know the difference between an ancient NSX and a redesigned NSX-R. "

    WOW sphinx99 I had no idea. Thanks for such enlightening info.


    Since this NSX-R is such THE track car it should have won over those more street oriented cars, ain't no miracle happening there. That was a given. That doesn't say much for the NSX-R to win over the SL55 and 575M both being around or over 4000lbs. Was the 911 GT2 present? If not then the NSX-R had easy pickings.

  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    "WOW sphinx99 I had no idea. Thanks for such enlightening info."

    You're welcome.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    "Or can we expect to see supercars from Toyota & Nissan running with the ones from Germany and Italy? I bet on the latter!"

    I'm not so sure. Right now the domestics seem to be hungriest to challenge the German crowd (new Viper, new Ford GT, new C6 Corvette all in the stretch of a year or two) while Japanese automakers seem to have been focused on utility and sport sedan markets. My guess is that the last thing Toyota and Nissan want to do right now is start trying to compete at this level when they're fighting tooth and nail in the sedan and truck markets. If anything inspires Toyota and Nissan to build supercars for the U.S. market, I doubt it'll be the German competition or the American competition, but rather Mazda, Subaru and Mitsubishi. These smaller Japanese companies are adding a healthy dose of sport to their lineups, all three have had a tradition of building streetable race cars, and I'm sure at least one of them is thinking about the idea of a six-figure supercar.

    I don't know if it'll happen, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Mazda or Mitsubishi near-exotic concepts at auto shows two years from now. Depending on who does it and how it's received, perhaps we'll see a glut of Japan-sourced supercars five years from now. Until then, however, I think the NSX will continue to be Japan's sole exotic "supercar."

    Is Mercedes thinking about building a stripper SL55 as a track-oriented car, or are they leaving everything to the SLR (or whatever it's called)?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The "Domestics" have always had the Viper and Corvette and they still haven't dented the Euro crowd's supercars' appeal or anything else. The Viper is too hot, literally. The Vette is well a Vette, it gets no respect from that crowd. Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, Lamborghini aren't in the least bit worried.

    As far as the Japanese doing anything, Toyota is the one to watch. There maybe a SC500 to truly challenge the SL500. Toyota also has a V12 or V10 supercar on the drawing board, has for some time now. I can see Nissan doing a twin-turbo 350Z eventually, and the next GTR is coming here also. Mitsubishi, I doubt it. Then there is the next NSX to ponder, as secret as it's engine and specs are.

    The true "sportscar" or supercar from Mercedes will be the SLR. I doubt if they'd ever strip down a SL55, thats not their game.

    Of course the Euro crowd isn't sitting still either. The new Lamborghini Gallardo will be unveiled in March at Geneva. The Ferrari 456 replacement is also due in 2003 as is a facelift for the 360 Modena. Aston-Martin has the DB5 coming. A mild facelift of the 911 is due in 2004 (997). The Carrera GT, Pagani Zonda, and a rumored BMW V12 supercar are all due in the 2003-04 time frame. The Japanese aren't going to be able to keep up with this. Only Toyota has deep enough pockets and they can't take on the whole continent.

  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    I know it's a bit off topic here but,

    "Toyota also has a V12 or V10 supercar on the drawing board, has for some time now."

    They do?
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    but not supercars. So do Focus & Peugeot. I doubt if Subu & Mitsu have the financial and technical whereabouts to develop supercars. Among the Japanese, only their big 3 have the means.

    I doubt if the detroit Big 3 have it either. Vette still has OHV, for Chrissake! Ford GT probably will leak from whichever holes, and they can only build 3 of them next year.

    The real supercar battle will be fought over by the Germans and Japanese. I'm very interested in that super beautiful SLR. The Italian makes, including Ferrari, may be foreign owned before too long, just like the British.

    For now, the Japanese do not seem at all interested in putting super engines in their sedans, undoubtedly because their premium makes are not well established like the Germans. But that will probably change in the future.

  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    NSX-R won that evo contest eventhough its relatively low on HP, 280 (conservatively), which is less than the Lancer Evo in the same test. The car in second, 911 c4s, has 320, also few nowadays.

    The new RS6 & E55 are more powerful than the M5 but still trail the Bimmer in handling & finesse, by all accounts. So are some German makes emphasizing hp too much, and not emphasizing enough the really hard arts of handling and balance?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    No they aren't becuase the RS6 and E55 are probably better all-around cars than the single purposed M5. Outside of the "track" either are easier to live with. And it's not like the E55 and RS6 are "poor" handlers. The M5 just happens to be that much better.

  • Can't wait until it comes in. I am told 2 years is worst case. But I was able to buy a new 2002 Porsche Turbo with no wait. Has anyone recently picked up a new SL 55? For people who already have the SL500, any problems with the top?

  • kdudekdude Posts: 22
    Had my SL500 since September. No problem with the top (it's the nav system I still dislike). I have an order for a 2004 SL55 which we'll pick up late 2003. This one will go to my son. Another dealer would not even accept a deposit for this car (the same one I got my SL500 from!!). I am thinking of putting deposit down on a 2005 SL600 (late 2004 delivery), hoping that it will be more refined and quieter than a 55 and still deliver respectable performance.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The local dealer here (MB of Naperville) has a very sinister Black SL55 in their showroom right now, unsold.

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Yes, mariner7, I do believe that AMG in particular has gone off the deep end with respect to horsepower. In my opinion, they would be far better served addressing some other deficiencies in their model line up. I can somewhat understand why Audi, with their checkered past, needs to do something extreme to get attention. But as an owner of an original 300SEL 6.3, I hold AMG to a higher expectation of true engineering excellence.

    I currently own an 2002 M5 and my nearest neighbor owns a 2001 E55 which we have traded on several occasions. Neither of these cars, with a mere 350 to 400 horsepower, are lacking for power. But, with all due respect to the E55, it's chassis and (subjective) handling feel are stretched to the limit. Some would say beyond.

    merc1: Please explain what, pray tell, makes you think the E55 is a "better all around car" than the M5? I trust you have put both of these cars through the paces yourself? IMO, the E55 achieves it's improved handling through a considerably harsher ride compared to any other E or S class Mercedes. For normal driving, the E55 is not as smooth as the M5. Under more "spirited" driving, the E55 performs well, but still feels considerably heavier and less nimble than the M5 in spite of both being 4,000 lb cars. That's not just my opinion, but my neighbor's as well. The ONLY reason he bought an E55 is that his wife doesn't drive a stick. So if an automatic transmission and bigger back seat are what make the E55 a better all around car, they are the only reasons I've identified in driving both.

    Across the board, AMG had already raised raised the bar on horsepower and torque. And, as far as automatics go, the AMG units are the best in the world. But the idea of further increasing horsepower seems to be almost an affront. It suggests that those that can afford an AMG are basically of the same IQ level as the motorheads that drag raced GM and Ford muscle cars in 1/4 mile sprints in the 60's. Which, by the way, would still beat the newest E55, if 1/4 mile bragging rights are really that important.

    I certainly wouldn't buy a 15,000 square foot MacMansion because it is "bigger" than my neighbors. Give me a 4,000 square foot Frank Lloyd Wright arts and crafts home that uses real stone and real wood. I hope some of the AMG engineers are old enough to remember the 300SEL 6.3 and hold themselves to a higher standard than simply jamming the most horsepower and torque humanly possible in a 4,000 lb sedan (or worse yet, a 4,300+ lb 2-seater).

    Maybe if I lived at the Bonneville salt flats I would feel differently. But I actually drive my M5 the equivalent of 20,000 miles a year and some of those roads have curves.

    Happy New Year to all.
  • w210w210 Posts: 188
    I am a past E55 owner and was in the situation where I seriously considered the M5.

    I find the E55 far more user friendly in the real world, as some of you have pointed out, my biggest complaint about the M5 or the 5 series is the lack of rear seat leg room. For me, it is an important issue as the reason why I needed a performance sedan was the 4-passenger space.

    Sure, the E55 has a bigger trunk too, it can fit two of my large Hartmann suitcases while the M5 cannot. I also feel more confident taking long road trips in the E55 as it has the spare tire and the M5 doesn't.

    I personally find the E55 more nimble with its lighter weight, I enjoy the M5's more precise steering but find the E55 much faster than the M5 for daily stop and go driving between office and home, phone calls, radio, etc. Yes the autobox has something to do with it too, just so user friendly, point and shoot with the massive torque.

    For spirited driving up the mountains, one may find it hard to believe but I find the SL500 more enjoyable than the M5 or the E55. It's not unlike a video game with its flat cornering it has less body roll than the M5 and the E55 if you put the ABC in the sports mode. It's the heaviest car of the 3 but somehow, the active suspension makes it kind of fun perhaps I'll grow out of the novelty testing the ABC's limit.

    I hope the new E55 will handle as well as the SL500.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    What did you replace your E55 with? If it was the SL, I'm curious as to how its rear seat leg room compares to the E55/M5?

    Just kidding, but I am surprised as to how many times I hear from some E-class owners (and Mercedes sales people) size being a deciding factor in their choice of an E. It's a bit bigger for sure, but to hear it described, you'd think they were comparing an 3-series coupe to an S-class. I suspect that for 95% of the buyers out there, the decision to go with and E over 5 or vice-versa is based upon another factor, whether they realize it or not. Namely preference for luxury vs. performance. AMG blurs those lines, but still maintains the basic Mercedes values. And in spite of the unexpected luxury upgrades the M5 offered over my previous 540i 6-speed (interior dash, door, headliner materials, standard navigation, unbelievable "M" sound system), I still wouldn't have bought if it only was offered with an automatic transmission. (The next M5, purportedly to be offered only with an SMG, will not likely be on my future shopping list.)

    Back to the SL500, I must give the AMG engineers credit for maximizing the handling capabilities of a 4,300 lb 2-seater. That's not an easy task. It's hard for me to objectively compare the SL500 to an M5, since it's a different category, quite a bit slower, and I really do prefer a manual transmission for a (almost) sports car. But for those who have traded up from the previous SL, I have heard nothing but high praise. It certainly looks beautiful and I congratulate anyone who is fortunate enough to own one.

    P.S. My 2002 M5 (and previous 540i) came with a full size spare standard. Fortunately, they've never been needed.
  • w210w210 Posts: 188
    Have they put in a spare tire in the M5 now? Last time I checked, they only have a spare for the regular 5 series and you're only stuck with the M mobility kit with the M5, at least in North America.

    Regarding the SL500's handling, I'm curious whether it's the center of gravity, the active suspension setup or whatever that resulted in a car that handles in my opinion, better than the W210 E55, considering that the car is almost 500 lbs heavier!

    I think most M5 buyers pick it over the W210 E55 for the manual transmission, I would have picked it for the superior steering response and higher interior finishing.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I was talking about the new E55 compared to the M5, as being a better all around car. No I haven't driven the new E55.

    Going purely by the few reviews of the new E55 I would find it to be a better all arounder than the M5. It's bigger, rides better and is faster for starters. The M5 only beats it in the corners. The new E55's air suspension will undoubtedly give it a better ride than the M5. Don't get me wrong about BMW and their M products, they're great, but I don't hear anything nice about them when it comes to actually "living" with them. There are too many engine issues with most M products as of late, things I don't hear about AMG products. Yes, BMW gives you the ultimate track car, but out in the real world I think AMG products are easier to live with. There is a reason they BOTH sell so well.

    As far as AMG increasing HP, they have too don't you think. They aren't going to be competitive with M products and their manual transmissions unless they offer greater hp/torque to overcome having a automatic.

    We've had this conversation before about AMG and M cars and I fully understand where you're coming from, but Mercedes just has their philosphy about cars, as does BMW and those views are even more pronounced in their tuner products.

  • My '03SL's tire pressure monitor has been malfunctioning -- and the local dealership can't seem to fix it, although they replaced it once already. Anyone have this problem -- anyone get it fixed? Other apparently chip related problems as well, such as the alarm going off for no reason (with no one in car); lights going on for no reason (with no one in car); massage seat going on for no reason (without hitting the controls on the seat). Also, the phone system did not capture all the input in the V60 phone when inserted (only bits and pieces were captured by the car's system, even though the phone itself had all the information Anyone have any of these problems? If so, what did you learn? Thanks.
  • ejerodejerod Posts: 86
    And I have noticed that my brakes squeak on my 03SL500, at first I thought it was because I did test to see if it would really do 155 and it did and I forgot to downshift and really put some wear and tear on the brakes. Then I drove my 02 S500 and noticed the same squeak when I brake. It seems that the brake liners tend to do this in lower temps. The brakes are fine. No unusual wear and tear were found by the MB techs. So I have no complaints about my toys. My wife's GS 300 still gives me a kick too when I decide to run to a 7-11 or something. Somehow I still find ways to make what should be a 10 minute trip turn into 30 minutes or more...
  • Just got word from my friendly dealer that my SL55 is being built in March. Can't wait. I am still curious about the top. anyone having any problems? Meanwhile, my Porsche Turbo is still rolling along. It is probably the most well-built, perfect car I have ever driven.
    One problem I had recently, however, involved the battery discharging after the car sat for about six weeks during a rough winter month in New York. Is this a usual occurence?
  • hsteihstei Posts: 6
    FHILL1, Please advise history on your order; ie when did you order, what date did dealer indicate, is your build date earlier than previously stated and any other info. you can provide.
    My reason for asking is I ordered one, and yet to hear date other than 4th quarter this year.

    Thank you.
  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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?!

  • 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?

  • 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.
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