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Mercedes-Benz SL and SLK (all models)



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Well, I kind of "inhale" an entire automobile. No car suits me perfectly, or impresses me totally. Some items are SMALL and irritating, some LARGE and irritating.

    So I guess my position is that, in its ENTIRETY, the SL500 impresses me more than the SC430, or any Lexus product (so far). Do I like everything about it? No. Some aspects of German design and engineering are not my favorites.

    If the SC430 wants to say it outdid the SLK, I'd have to say that could be true. But next to the SL500, I just don't see where it approaches it much less matches it. Looks, technology, prestige and performance---- "match goes to Mercedes".

    If further hands-on experience changes my view, I will be sure to post it.

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  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    The new Benz design, while classically elegant, might be "played out" in 2-3 years. Some say the Lexus design is too "trendy", but Toyota/Lexus more aggressive designs tend to age very well (Supra/Orignial SC/RX 300/GS). Since the Benz will probably be with us 'til 2010, let's see if it is seen as iconic in 2009 as it is in 2002. I wish it well, I LIKE the car.......
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Oh my gawd....if I'm "silent" on these feeble little issues that you've brought to the table then that must mean the "issues" that you have on the SL500 aren't "issues" to me. Seems like to me that you and to a lesser extant C&D had to find something to nit-pick on the car, because the market (i.e buyers) are standing in line for the car. Who on earth cares about the dash vents and two minor retro styling cues when the rest of the car is so right? Please, your argument is so tired and weak to the point where you're constantly saying the same thing over and over, dash vents and 2 retro styling cues....big deal. The car is a masterpiece. Seems like to me that if you can fault is dash vents and a couple of retro styling details, you've got a hell of a car on your hands.

    When are you going to wake up...the Lexus SC is OUTCLASSED by the SL. Everyone can see that, and I didn't mean the SC430 was dust, it's your argument that has been reduced to dust. I never said the SC430 wasn't a good car, but I am saying the SL500 is a better car. Clearly. Did you not read what I just said about C&D and Mercedes-Benzes? They aren't big fans of MB cars. Again pick up another magazine to get another perspective on the SL500. Styling is a personal thing because if you bothered to read Road and Track you'll see they like the retro cues. Again, see what SCI (Sports Car International) had to say, or better yet, read post #59 again.

    One has the interior of a 35K car? PROVE IT! Where oh where have you read that or better yet when have you seen or been in a SL to know this? Never, thats when.

    Never said the SL was perfect. What (more than a few posts back) I said was that the SL is a lot closer to be being the perfect convertible than the SC is. When you're ready to believe your own admission that the SL500 is better than the SC430 you let me know.

    "Pay respect to the competiton", are you serious? You simply haven't a clue.

  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    someone needs to spend some time in the angry corner! All of the sudden, you're Oliver Stone? I've got your gunman on the grassy knoll, ok? Is Motor Trend biased against MB too? Pick up this months issue and explain the FOUR lost comparisons? All I'm saying is that for $90k, I don't want to see ANY chinks in the armor! You can throw all the gadgets in the world on the car, after 10 years between redesigns, it could have been better. And show some respect! You are sound so ? a Mercedes engineer in 1989 (Lexus? Big Toyotas? Selling against us? They won't last 3 years!)....... who's your Daddy now?.....
  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    against Muhammed Ali. When you show respect for Lexus, I'll stop taggin' you. What's my name.......
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    The boxing analogy is a good one. I like boxing because there is no BS about it. You are in the ring for all to see, and there's no bluff.

    So if you want to put the SL500 and the SC430 in the marketing ring, I think I'll play the favorite. One never knows, but I've seen the SL use its muscle before to knock out many a bragging contender, whereas I've only seen the SC430 beat up on the little Audi TT and Saabs.

    I don't think Lexus wants to go toe to toe with the SL just yet (maybe someday, if it gains confidence from the SC sales), and this is why the SC is marketed conspicuously lower in price .
    You gotta remember, the SL reputation has been going strong for over 47 years!

    Like it or not, the car has racked up an unprecedented record.

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  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    (No disrespect, Shifty.) He's talkin' stuff, the he has to leave the country to find blind love for his beloved SL. Who reads Sports Car International? What's it's circulation? 50,000? I LOVE R&T, especially when they compared the IS300 to the C320 and 330i and the IS won by TKO, BUT they are the Audi of the big three! The runt of the litter! C&D and MT are the lead dogs, and their love for Benz is obviously waning. "Benz" better show Lexus more respect, or I'll never leave him alone! To sell over 15000 units of a $60+k convertible in one year is nothing for HIM to lift his nose up at!! Show respect, Benz! Whose your Daddy! What's my name!.......
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    What's really startling here is that 'kdude' is the only person here who hasn't spouted off about things he doesn't know. (Yes Merc that includes you too, unless you've done some serious seat time in the '03 SL500... please let us know... and yes you too toyota1... how was your testdrive of the SL.... and yes, me too...)

    I'm willing to allow that the SC430 might be a better car than the SL500 until I see a head-to-head that says otherwise. I'm also willing to allow that the SL500 might be better than the SC430. I think the problem here is that some people who potentially have spent zero time in *either* of these cars are nevertheless proclaiming a judgement in absolute terms. I'm *not* willing to blindly pray to the SL demigod because of the star on the hood; I haven't done a lot of seat time in Benz cars but I did put enough time in a ML to know that the company is capable of putting $15k interior quality in $50k cars, and that being my first MB "experience" I guess you could say that Benz and I didn't have a good first dance. I'd consider it highly unusual that they'd make that sort of mistake on the SL. I don't expect that they did. But none of us here can say that the SL500 is absolutely worth whatever the premium is for it, when in most places you have to get on a list just to do a test drive still. As far as I'm concerned, the 2003 SL500 is as unproven as that shot-in-the-dark Cadillac XLR - it's a classic when its owners and evaluators say it is, but not a moment before. (In my opinion.)

    If kdude owns a SC430 and feels that the SL500 is worth the SC depreciation hit + SL premium to step up to the SL, *that* says a lot more to me than one person claiming that Toyota styling ages well or another person claiming that Benz quality really comes through when you cut a 1980 model in half.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    "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."

    I agree with this. However the third option, namely "c) the difference isn't there" always, ALWAYS needs to be kept on the list until you've actually cut both cars in two, examined both and compared notes. That's my only point.

    I still feel that the SL55 is probably the closest thing to a perfect convertible currently on the market, unless they decide to make a topless Vanquish. I honestly don't know about SC430 vs SL500. I'd rather have a SL55 over both of them.
  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    the Lexus is better, just as close to perfection as the SL. It needs better seats, a lower first gear, and some suspension tweaks for better ride/handling balance. The SL needs to upgrade the interior materials, add some 1998 interior luxury features, lose those stupid hood vents, and lower the price below $80k. And where is "Benz", Mr. Talk-a-lot-of-stuff.........I want him to read my last two posts, and have a report on my desk by 9AM.......
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    As far as I'm concerned, the SC430 is not the equal of the SL500 until the year 2049, which is 47 years from now. Certainly the LS400 hasn't dethroned Mercedes these past 12 years, so I don't know where all these magical Lexus powers are coming from. The SC430 is an upstart with no track record. It could turn out to be the biggest turkey of the decade. How can we know? Look at Toyota's grief already with sludge, etc.

    Every SL I ever drove was MUCH better than the one before it (excluding the first Gullwing, which was really a race-car derivative and not in the "family").

    After doing this for 30 years, I've come to have faith that the new one will be great, without yet driving it. But I will soon enough, and I bet I won't be disappointed.

    So what's wrong with me relying on my own experience? Seems fair enough that I should have faith in the new SL500 and its ability to continue to blow off any competitors. Unlike boxers, cars don't get weak in the knees if their creators keep re-creating them.

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  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    Toyota/Lexus is no ordinary "competitor"! The SC sales are HUGE! The days of shrugging off Lexus ended years ago. Lexus is THE #1 selling luxury marque in this country, bar none. THAT'S how far they've come, in 12 years. Imagine what they can do with another 12? Mercedes BETTER start adding some content and value to their cars, SL included. Lexus has passed them, BMW is flashing it's lights, who's next?? The idea here is to sell cars, there can only be one "Raw Dog". Right now, it ain't Mercedes.....
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    There's nothing wrong with trusting experience as long as we all keep in mind that we all will have different experiences. Mine doesn't speak well to MB. The first MB I drove was full of squeaks and rattles, my "formative" enthusiast years have been full of magazine comparos that consistently rank the MB entry 3rd place in a field of seven regardless of the review, and the majority of people in my age group looking for cars of this class appear to favor BMW and Lexus by a pretty wide margin.

    Therefore (the following to answer Merc1's question) this is why the SL's heritage may be good enough for you, or for shifty, but it's not enough for me. I *need* the wine glass commercial for a Mercedes. I *need* ten stunning reviews in a row. I *need* to see the press giving a Mercedes the kind of gushing praise that is currently given to Z06s and S2000s and 330i's, because I never owned a 1980 Benz, I didn't grow up on the cars, and I only sat in a SL at NAIAS and thought the seats had no support.

    What I'm saying is that it's *not* good enough for a carmaker to rely on its heritage forever. Maybe for stretches of a few years at a time, but this industry takes no prisoners. Everyone is after everyone else's market share, and everyone is painfully aware of the inevitable turnover in owners as potential customers finish school, get a job, and turn to the television and magazine and friends (and not to the SL's "heritage") to figure out what they want to drive.

    Moreover, MB knows this. That is why the company is selling a mid-$20s coupe. I saw one in the parking lot where I live today, white paint. It looked great. It was perhaps the nicest looking car in the parking lot. It caught my attention, as well as my brother in law's attention as we drove past it. THAT is a positive lasting image. That's why the SL500 will ultimately be hurt, not helped, if the press is criticizing its lack of an in-dash CD changer, while its proponents say that problems with the current model should be brushed aside because the SL of the 1970s was so great. Some of us weren't even alive in the 1970s.

    I don't think MB is in terrible shape. But I do know that everyone seems to think that the 7-series is a lot more fun to drive than the S-class, and that the LS430 is a lot more luxurious and solid. Everyone seems to think that the Boxster is more prestigious and the S2000 more fun than the SLK. That the 330 is more desirable and the Audi more classy than the C-class. In the last few years I haven't really read anything that was truly superlative about a MB vehicle. Everything usually ends up sounding like, "the Benz was nice but it was expensive and xxxxxxx was more fun while yyyyyy offered more value." And where MB does grab headlines is with the cheap headliner on their new SUV, or their low ranking in reliability. If MB wants to stay on top of the hill, I think they need to start scoring more unquestioned home runs. And no, that's not because Lexus alone is going to dethrone them. Lexus is just one company. If they don't start building best-bar-none cars, then Lexus, BMW, Audi, Cadillac, Porsche, Acura and Infiniti *all* will dethrone them. Like I said, this industry takes no prisoners, and if MB manages to fend off the SC430 without taking too much of a beating, the XLR is standing next in line with a baseball bat... and behind it a BMW 6-series... and behind it a G35 coupe... and behind it an evolved Acura Dualnote come alive... and behind it... etc. etc.
  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    I mean, sphinxy (I couldn't resist!). I'll save my assessment of the C230 coupe for another time. Benz better ante up and kick in, because World War Three has begun. The Americans are waiting for reiforcements, and the Japanese and Germans are really knee-deep in it! I LOVE the car indusrty! The new 6 will take care of the CLK Cabrio, the SC fights the SL (from the sea) and the CLK430 (from land).....
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Don't take this personally toyotas1 but you're too pro-Lexus for us to be on the same side. Lexus has thrown up some stinkers, and as far as I'm personally concerned, if I were blindfolded and forced to choose, I'd choose the SL500 over the SC430 any day. I think the LS430 is a fabulous car in its own right. I'm not sure about the SC430. However, that decision to choose the SL500 has more to do with the ugly SC styling (IMO) than with the SL's innate strengths which I still believe need more attention.
  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    you had good taste, just a good point!
  • v12powerv12power Posts: 174
    How about the way these cars DRIVE?Does anybody care about that anymore? I paid more for a BMW first(over a Lexus), then when I didn't like BMWs new offering I chose an MB. Lexus cars, while fine machines do NOT drive like the Germans. I have driven the SC400, LS400, LS430, RX300, IS300, NONE of these cars drive like the direct competition from Germany. That is worth something, it adds to the heritage, gives it a value, something you can enjoy on every drive. The Lexus vehicles are typical Japanese, they are very common feeling, too composed. The cars have no soul. I am still willing to pay for the "personality" of a given model. I used to own Hondas almost exclusively. Once I had a taste of BMW I was hooked. I have been through 4 now. Even the added service required by these cars was worth it. I for one do not see the quality issues with the MBs. I had them in spades with BMW but my Mercedes have been excellent. MB has always come through for me. I look at the Lexus' but until they make a drivers car, I will stay away.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Any news on the V6 version of the SL? The "Preview" and "First Drive" on both make reference to a V6 version of the new SL being made available. Any data on engine, price or due date?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Sounds like someone needs to spend some time in the REALITY corner. I don't see a road test of the SL in Motor Trend. So again what does that have to do with the SL500/SC430 debate? Nothing, that's what's called a save-face tatic. You can't come with any facts so you try to save face with complete nonsense. Figures. As it still stands the SL500 trounces the SC430. Did you or did you not read post #59 from an actual LEXUS OWNER that recently spent time with the SL? Since you're a R&T fan why don't you read the issue in which they tested the SL500. Naturally you won't coment on that. What did they say about it?
    And it's no secret that enthusiast prefer M models AMG cars, mainly because of manual transmissions. Again, with emphasis...lets see if you can get this. The SC430 is a good car, but the SL500 is better.


    I have done everything but drive the car. Thats too bad that a wine glass commercial is needed for you. I feel for you if need something like that to "sell" a car to you. I remember you saying just a few months ago that you didn't even know what an SL was until about 5 years ago. Right? Those of use who know about Mercedes' and the SL don't need for the car to be "proven", in that sort of sense you're talking about. The SL is arguably where Mercedes' does its best work, in the same manner you knew the LS430 was a better car than the LS400 it replaced. Neither of you will ever get it. The SL500 would sell-out even it didn't have a CD player at all! Can't you understand that a CD player does not make a Benz??

  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    What me, and sphinx somewhat, are doing is just showing you the pattern that Benz is falling into. Their cars are merely competitive, not class-leading anymore. The headlights of the SL are shared with other Benz. It isn't setting itself apart as simply the best! How is it doing that? This ain't 1992. The Benz is selling on heritage, not excellence. Car and Driver wasn't impressed by the car, and it put up great numbers! The car is just as flawed as the Lexus, so when you have proof that the SL is overall better (in more ways than just tenure), you let me know......
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    I think we should get Rage Software to put these two cars on "Crash" and run them on the X8 and settle this once and for all :)

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  • kdudekdude Posts: 22
    Sorry, but I do not have accurate answers to either of your questions. I suppose most of us expect SL600 to come here. I do know that CL63 will not (as of the last time I checked - about 2 months ago). I did not ask the price on SL55, but I suppose it will be in the low teens. "shoe" had quoted a number a while ago. I will call my dealer and ask.
  • kdudekdude Posts: 22
    My objectivity on trading cars mey be a bit different than most. Uncle Sam encourages me to lease cars on two year terms with 80% depreciation. My "kid of the year" usually ends up with a hell of a good deal at the end of each lease term.

    Two things I do not like about SC430 (again, not complaints):

    - A bit lose on semi-bumpy roads
    - Attracts too much attention, even after one year in production. I can not count the number of times when I felt obliged to demo the top, give technical detail info, ask people to move aside so I can get into my car, or have to look the other way to avoid eye contact. It's getting much better now.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Again, (this being about the 5th time) what car in the SL500's class is better? Answer that. You've haven't had a valid point since you entered this topic. I'm not talking about Mercedes-Benz cars in general, we're talking about the SL500 vs the SC430. The SL500 is clearly the better car, point blank. Flawed, smawed, hawed, doesn't matter, I and others know what the better of the two cars is here. What you didn't read (again) is that I said the SC430 is a good car, but the SL500 is better. Why is that so think for you to understand? I notice that you keep harping about C&D but you won't even acknowledge other publications reviews of the same car. That in itself is very telling about you position of lack of a soundly based one on this issue. You go one review, but won't even so much as read the others and concluded that the SL is "just as flawed as the Lexus" please! Do you actually believe what you're saying here?
    That has to be the one of the weakest arguments I've ever here, even some of the "converstations" I've had with GM fans had more basis. You simply don't know what you're talking about and have no case. I guess C&D is the end-all now right???

  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    I'll take their opinion over yours anyday! R&T loved the car, C&D didn't, and MT hasn't tested it yet. MT and R&T loved the Lexus, C&D didn't. With a more aggressive suspension tuning, the car is BETTER than the Benz! What car is better than the SL right now? None. Is the SL head and shoulders better than the SC, and worth the extra $25k. No. If it is, show me. If you can't, just admit it. The only real differences I can see are price, handling, and interior features. Prove your point, ONCE, and I'll leave you alone......
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    By the way, Road & Track is not the "little guy" in auto magazines.

    Rough numbers:

    Car & Driver 1.3 mil
    Motor Trend 1.25
    Road and Track 800K
    Automobile 650K
    Autoweek 330K

    Also R&T and C&D are owned by the same parent company.

    Also Road & Track is the oldest I believe.

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  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    I read the preview, first drive and road test of the new SL500. Frankly, none of them were especially positive, and some of the comments were quite negative.

    That isn't to say that the SL500 is a bad car but the competition has definitely caught up. I think what folks like Merc1 are finding is that it's not enough to say "the SL500 is clearly better than the SC430 in every way, because it just is" nowadays, and that will sound increasingly fanatical as more competition arrives. If I'm not mistaken, the SL500 hasn't *had* to sell itself on its own merits for a while now, because correct me if I'm wrong, but it's pretty much had no volume competition for at least a decade. The SC430 changed that, and there are at least two more volleys (from Cadillac and BMW) that the redesigned SL will have to repel in the next 24-48 months. I for one am going to dismiss the value of heritage & past sales success because those things are not nearly as relevant as the how the SL matches up against a set of competition that it didn't have to face back in the 1990s.

    One thing is for sure; the 10 year life cycle of SL redesigns is probably a thing of the past.
  • jeremy25jeremy25 Posts: 1
    Since any one can give an opinion and all are valid I thought i would compare the R&T test dat of both cars to compare.

    HP: Mercedes 302 hp
    Lexus 300 hp

    Torque: Mercedes 339 @ 2700
    Lexus 325 @ 3400

    Weight: Mercedes 4045lb
    Lexus 3870

    0 - 60 : Mercedes 6.1 Seconds
    Lexus 6.2

    Quarter Mile: Mercedes 14.5 seconds at 98.4
    Lexus 14.6 at 98.1

    Skidpad: Mercedes .90g
    Skidpad .84g

    Slalom: Mercedes 67.6mph
    Lexus 61.7

    Braking from 60: Mercedes 117 ft
    Lexus 121 ft

    From 80: Mercedes 205ft
    Lexus 217ft

    Ok now a little analysis. Both cars have very similar engines. The Mercedes has slight advantage in having more torque over a broader torque band. However the SL is about 200 lbs heavier. This acounts for the virtually similar 0-60 and Quarter mile times. However when it comes to true handling capabilities through the slalom and skidpad the SL clearly is ahead. The SL's Active Suspension system helpes it achieve .6g's higher which is very much a considerable amount. And regarding the slalom R&T wrote "Posting a 67.6 slalom speed second only to our all time champ, the Porsche 911 GT2". And for those that doubt the merit of ABC they also wrote ""The secret s as simple as ABC, which makes Sindelfigen's hot new coupe corner likea DTM racer". Another technical advantage the SL has over the SC is its electro-hydraulic brakes which give supreme stopping power. To sum it up the new SL has "stunning god looks, cutting edge technology, scintillating performacne, world-class handling, plus nearly ever luxury in the industry". However the SC is arguably just as luxurious, albeit much more luxo then sport, but at nearly $20,000 less. So when it comes down to it i think its a classic, to each his own case. sorry for the long post.
  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    Way to stay on top of it!! And Sphinx makes an exellent "pirnt". The SL will go from "icon" to "also ran" if their product cycle is as long as the last one. When there is more competition, you have to get off your "toukas" a lot more often. Mercedes will change with the times, or else become the next Cadillac (may they struggle in peace!). The C&D article did expose a soft or "tall" first gear for the Lexus, again pointing our the luxo-cruiser design objective, not the Autobahn terror tuning of the SL and CLK. Hopefully, for the youger than 60 set who might appreciate it, Lexus will see clear to make some units truly "sporty". L-Tuned? In fall of 2003, I expect to see some modifications....... I can't say that I agree with R&T on the SL's luxury quotient when it doesn't have CD in dash, DVD for the NAV, illuminated scuff plates, auto-tilt steering, power doors for stereo and NAV, fully automatic AC and stereo equalization based on top operation, etc.... I DO LOVE how you can tilt the top IN THE TRUNK to access luggage, and power the top from the KEYFOB ALONE. But at it's price, I see cost-cutting, a major o-no.....
  • dave328dave328 Posts: 30
    I had the opportunity to drive a '99 SL500 for about two months a couple of years ago. Very nice car but it was not my cup of tea. It felt heavy and cumbersome. Couple of things it had going for was that the car had presence. Also, the car was built like a vault. Little things like the glove compartment and the cubbyhole in the armrest locking when the car was locked were thoughtful touches that went above and beyond ordinary cars. There was an article in Car(British rag) a few months ago, that pointed out the cost cutting measures of the new SL model compared to the old. I'm sure the new model is an improvement over the old in many ways but you have to pause when the new model is not better than the old in nearly every way. MB has to abide by the automotive economics like every other manufacturer and they are cognizant of things like cost and value and it may be taking a toll. Sit inside their SUV and you get the picture very quickly. I'd certainly choose the SL over the SC if only from the aesthetic standpoint but at least for another thirty years or so(until I'm brittle), I'd buy a Porsche 911 over either car in an eye-blink.

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