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Mercedes-Benz SL and SLK (all models)



  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    On a different note...I'm really impressed with the new SLK.

    From it's 268hp V6, 6/7 speed trannies, mini-SLR styling, and the much better looking and higher quality interior, it seems Mercedes really put some effort into this car.

    The interior alone is a night and day difference from the old car.

    What y'all think?

  • I wasn't a fan of the new nose when I first saw it, but it's started to grow on me. It seems like one of those things that looks better and better the more you see it. :)
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    I think it looks great. Compact and athletic, which is what a performance roadster should be. I'm interested in what the resale value for the first two years' of SLKs will be like now, as the new SLK trickles into the market. 3000GT Spyders never were plentiful enough to offer much of a choice among lower-cost used hardtop convertibles, but the SLK is a higher volume offering whose first year models are just starting to move into old age.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Get this instead.

  • hgileshgiles Posts: 66
    I absolutely love the new SLK. With the sports suspension, 6 speed manual and 3.5 L V6 , I am hoping it will be a worthy comptetitor to the Boxster and Z4. If Mercedes can deliver on the performance potential then they will sell a lot of cars to people like me who would never have considered them otherwise.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Ahh...the CLK-GTR....ahh to be rich.

  • mpyles1mpyles1 Posts: 91
    Remember how Harold in "Harold and Maude" turned his Jaguar XKE into a hearse? The possiblities of money combined with taste are apparently endless.

    Here's a question about less-extreme mods. My SL55 has a black AMG steering wheel (the only wheel that comes on this car, and a strange design choice for a convertible). I haven't driven it with the top down yet, but I suspect the black wheel will get very hot in the summer.

    I seem to have a choice -- get a regular Mercedes SL500 wheel in light ash (and thereby lose the gearshift buttons) or try the Renntech wood and leather wheel, which retains the shift buttons. Renntech says they build their wheels on the Mercedes/AMG wheel carcass and claims they are perfect fits. (They do require that I trade them my existing wheel as part of the deal). My dealer says he has never seen or put one on, but he is willing to give it a go.

    Has anyone had experience with the Renntech steering wheels? Do they work well?
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    If you think your black steering wheel gets hot when the top is down, wait until you feel the aluminum center of your gear shift knob after it bakes in the sun. Remember the scene in "Raiders of the Lost Art" when the nazi grabs the amulet that has been sitting in the fire and it sears his hand? Same thing.
  • mpyles1mpyles1 Posts: 91
    You're right, Shoes. The shift knob on my SL500 would get hot. But at least I could grab it below the top, and I only needed to touch it a moment. I haven't yet figured out how to avoid touching the steering wheel for long.

    Right now, though, this is just worrying for worrying's sake. We're probably another month away from dropping the top in Chicago. Right now, I wouldn't mind getting my hands burned a bit.

    I did order the Renntech steering wheel, though. I saw a picture of their wheel for the S-class on, and it was beautiful. However, I still cannot find anyone who has tried one for an SL. And Renntech says they have just switched vendors. Don't know if that bodes ill or well.
  • Hi, Can anyone tell me if they have read anything about a Panoramic Glass Roof option available on the new second generation SLK model? I'm referring to the stationary glass panel in the retractable metal roof panel complete with sunshade much like the one available on the SL 500 series? I'm looking into buying a 2004 SLK Special Edition, but may wait if I find this Panoramic Roof option available for 2005. I've checked with Mercedes Dealers and they have no info or option lists available for 2005 SLK's. They went on to mention that dealers in California are set for early 05' allocations once stock of the 04' SLK's deplete. This could be real soon as we've had 12 days of 85-91 degree weather lately. My local MB dealer only has 3 04's left due to the unusual heat wave we're having. Any information or thoughts would be much appreciated.
  • billymaybillymay Posts: 59
    Don't buy the 2004. I just sold my '98 (for $24,200) and put a deposit on the '05. Awesome car, but resale on the '04s will be bad until they get to collector status many years from now. Despite what the press says, it's hard to tell the difference between the existing SLK230/320 (except nicer exhaust sound on the v-6). If you like the current one, buy a gently used car. Depreciation will hit hard this fall when only bargain hunters are out for the current version of the car.

    I would LOVE a panorama roof on the SLK. But I've heard nothing about that and my dealer didn't mention it. I'm guessing (only a guess) that M-B wants to keep some features for the pricier SL, because a 270-hp SLK is awfully close to a 302-hp SL, and they're both 2-seat toys.

    Already looked at a new Boxster and Z4. The SLK350 looks to outperform the dated Boxster S, and Z4's are already piling up on used car lots. I have some reservations about the SLK, given the recent downturn in M-B initial quality ratings, but my '98 was virtually problem free (bad gas gauge and instrument cluster being the exceptions) so I'm still leaning towards it.

  • mpyles1mpyles1 Posts: 91
    I just put 6300 miles on an '03 SL500 that I traded in for an '04 SL55, now with 1400 miles. Neither had a single quality problem that I noticed. It turned out the SL500 had a faulty wiring harness on the rollbar, but the dealer service shop found that before I even knew it had the problem. (The rollbar worked whenever I activated the switch.)

    Contrast this to my '02 Audi A6 4.2 and my '02 Audi S6, which each went through electronic control modules at 12-week intervals like clockwork. And to my '00 Jaguar S-Type, which went through two modules, one transmission, and one suspension recall. And -- worst of all -- to my '98 Corvette which was in the shop 13 times in the 15 miserable months I owned it with more problems than I can recount in anything shorter than a novella.

    For a car with as much technology and as many motors, switches, and gizmos as the new SL, I've found the initial build quality to be remarkably good.

    BTW -- just got the new Renntech Monolite wheels put on today. They look quite good and are considerably lighter (20 lbs. vs. 31 lbs.) than the AMG 5-spokers they replaced. Maybe it's just a delusion, but the suspension feels quicker and more planted on the rough Chicago streets with the new wheels. Perfect fit, too. For anyone looking to upgrade wheels, they're worth considering, IMHO.
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    I too have had good luck with Mercedes and have owned 14 of them. The 2004 SL500 I have now is just about perfect. I must admit though that the early SL500 and SL55 had some teething pains with the brakes. My 2003 E55 also seemed to be developing problems right around 6,000 miles.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Do you have any pics of your car?


    You got rid of the E55??

  • mpyles1mpyles1 Posts: 91
    No pics. I'll try to take some this weekend. You can see the Renntech wheels on a black SL on their website:

    That car appears to have the 19" (which Renntech usually puts on these cars) instead of the 18" I have on my car. I do most of my driving in a pothole-ridden city and didn't want to go with ultra-low profile tires.
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    Yes, I sold my E55 back to my dealer since the values were still strong and I was beginning to be bothered by minor issues that, taken together reduced my ownership satisfaction, like: the ride quality was becoming rougher, the brakes were becoming more difficult to modulate and electronic gremlins were surfacing (my favorite gremlin is where you get a red warning in the center of the dash, but the words were in German. This really scared me, like I was supposed to ship the car back to the motherland or something).
  • psedrishpsedrish Posts: 49
    I've had no problems with any MBs I've bought in the last 10 years, but it seems the seats keep getting harder and harder. The '04 SL500 seats (with comfort pkg!) are just killing me. Any suggestions?
  • carnaughtcarnaught 'zonaPosts: 2,403
    Didn't you have the Cad. DHS? Did you come back to the Mercedes fold?
  • psedrishpsedrish Posts: 49
    That's too funny! How would you know (or remember) that? I did come back, first with an '03 S430, which I got because my kids made fun of me driving an "old man's car" I caved and got back into a Benz. Frankly, I think my rear end was spoiled by the DHS (yeah, I know about all that lateral support & cornering stuff.....but it felt good!)
    Anyway, I thought the "comfort seat" pkg in the '04 SL500 would make me happier than the rather hard seats in the S430, but on long trips, they're even more Teutonically cruel!
    Right this minute, my dealer is padding the seat for me and providing some downward angle potential for the cushion, so I hope that helps. Otherwise, kids be darned, I'm heading back to Caddyland.
  • dwcoltdwcolt Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 SL55 with a very persistent crackling, popping sound coming from the fuel tank behind my head. Has anyone else experienced this problem? Has anyone had any luck with Mercedes coming up with a fix or repair for this problem? Thanks for the input!!
  • dwcoltdwcolt Posts: 2
    Hey Shoes,

    I've got a 2003 SL55 with that fuel tank problem you described and it drives me nuts. Do you know of anyone who successfully had this problem fixed by Mercedes?
  • drencheddrenched Posts: 1
    Has anyone had a '99 SL500 leak when the soft top is on? Going through the car wash is a very soaking experience. The dealer said "they all leak". I find this hard to believe. Any information will be very helpful. Thanks.
  • billp8billp8 Posts: 56
    ...between a 1993-1995 E-class cabrio and a 2000-2002 SL (those years because I want Desert Silver, new for 2000). Would purchase within the next year or two. There was an excellent article in the April edition of MERCEDES ENTHUSIAST magazine (printed in England). Basically, it said the the R129 SL was currently affordable, but a bit complex, while the E cab had likely reached its low point in value and would possibly appreciate. The car would be driven maybe 2000-3000 miles per year. It seems that the common complaints with the E are head gaskets and climate control issues, while with the SL perhaps problems with the power top? I don't know just how complext the SL is--I can't remember if it was based on a shortened S-class chassis. Anyhow, all insights would be welcome!
  • mpyles1mpyles1 Posts: 91
    I just received the Renntech wood/leather steering wheel in light ash to replace the black factory wheel on my '04 SL55. (I don't know why AMG uses only black steering wheels in a convertible. They get mighty hot in the sun.)

    Renntech advised me ahead of time that I would have to pull the airbag out of my existing wheel to install in the new wheel. So far, so good. What they did not tell me was that I also had to pull the steering wheel menu and audio buttons and the large center cap off the existing wheel. Big problem. All those items are obviously black, and Renntech knew they were . . . both because I told the salesman and because Renntech claims to specialize in converting SL55's. Renntech did not supply the buttons and center cap, and they won't take the wheel back, since they say it was a special order item. So I've either lost the $1700 I spent for the Renntech wheel, or I've got to spend another $1000 to order the light ash components from Mercedes to complete the wheel change-out.

    I'm just going to throw the Renntech wheel in the garbage and write this off as a bad experience with internet purchases. But I'm disappointed that a company with Renntech's reputation for quality will not accept any responsibility for not disclosing to me that additional parts would be needed to complete the wheel swap.

    CAVEAT EMPTOR, I guess.
  • cprcprcprcpr Posts: 1
    Thought I should chip in my 2 cents worth. I have had my lovely SL500 for ten months now. I love the car, but it has been so very unreliable I cannot stand it any more.

    The ownership experience is severely blighted by the regular appearance of faults, which always necessitate a visit back to a Mercedes service department. And the SL-specific parts are often not available immediately which means your car sits, un-drivable, in the repair shop waiting for a back order part.

    In the last 10 months of ownership, I have spent a month driving loan cars, whilst waiting for various parts and repairs. Now let me say quickly that Mercedes has paid for every repair under warrantee and every loan car under courtesy, but that does not take away the irritation of the continuous unreliability of this flagship car.

    This week’s fault is the seat-belt pre-tensioner (car unsafe to drive, we have been waiting 10 days for parts), but previous failures have included hydraulic suspension (car not drivable), exhaust system failure (car not legal to drive) and the electric seat adjustment getting stuck in the full-forward position (so that you cannot get into the seat!).

    If you are buying an SL500 as a sunny-day third car – go ahead. But don’t buy one if you want something reliable to enjoy whenever the sun comes out - because, as likely as not, you'll be in a diesel C-class estate loan car when the sun actually comes out for a day.
  • zilioxziliox Posts: 6
    I've had my '03 SL500 for about 18 months and 8000 miles, and have had recurring electrical problems for the past 12 months. At any moment while driving I am likely to get a potpourri of warning lights - BAS, ESP, check engine, engine coolant, and the most frequent light: Transmission! Visit Workshop. Except for the tranny warning, all are false alarms, and disappear after shutting down the engine and then restarting. The transmission warning is much more interesting. Nine times out of ten it too is a false alarm, but every once in a while it illuminates and continues to re-appear even after clearing the message. When that happens, I know what to expect. The car will not shift out of first gear without careful and serious coaxing. Though that has only happened to me four times, it is a real attention getter and has left me quite frustrated with the car. Needless to say I have become a regular at the M-B service shop, and while the shop has been great and accomodative, replacing control modules, batteries, harnesses, etc., the problems keep coming back (in fact I'm waiting for a call from the service manager as I write this).

    I've owned various M-B models for 14 years (2 S class, 2 CL class and this SL) and I can honestly say this is the first time I've had problems with the quality of a Mercedes or had a car that couldn't get fixed. Except for the occasional fisrt gear issue, the problems I've experienced aren't debilating as the car still works, but they are extremely frustrating.

    Before I got the SL I had a 2000 CL, which I absolutely loved, and as I await my next service appointment I find my thoughts turning more and more to a new CL55. Electrical gremlins aside, I've found my SL to be a wee bit too small, and at 6'3" I find getting in and out of the car difficult. Without a doubt the SL is a beautiful car, and tooling around with the top down simply can't be beat. But I'm going to get rid of this SL, and I think it's time to return to a CL. My only question is whether or not M-B will be changing the body style for the CL any time soon.
  • psedrishpsedrish Posts: 49
    I've had my '04 SL500 for about 5 months, and it seems to have many more little issues than any previous MB I've had (3 S-Class, 1 ML, 1 E & 1 SLK).

    It spends too much time in the shop, though they do treat me nicely & I too get a decent loaner (C class) while I wait for this or that.

    I've had no problems that have yet rendered the vehicle undriveable, but seat motor probs have been recurrent (oh the comfort seat pkg is a real waste). I do sometimes feel the tranny getting stuck in 1 st gear, esp when it's cold, but so far it hasn't stranded me.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The current CL has at least 1 more model year (2005) to go, if not 2. The next S-Class is due to be shown at Frankfurt in 2005 (Sept) and the CL will surely follow at either Detroit or Geneva (Jan and March) of 2006 which would make it a 2007 model.

  • law4youlaw4you Posts: 7
    I now own three Mercedes (1999 SL 500; 2002 S 430; & 2003 CLK 430 Cabriolet)and sold a 1993 300 SE with 40,000 miles on it 2 1/2 years ago. I had so much trouble with the '93 on things that should never go wrong starting around 35,000 miles and costing $6000 to fix the next 5000 miles that I thought I just had a lemon. Now the '99 SL 500 is starting to have things go wrong that should not that I am thinking Mercedes quality is terrible, particularly with only 40,000 miles and 7 yr. 100,000 Starmark warranty which does not seem to cover anything that does go wrong. I say beware of Mercedes quality. My replacement for the '99 is likely to be the new Cadillac or some other worthy car.
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