1997 Mercedes-Benz SL Reviews

1997 Mercedes-Benz SL 320 3.2 from UK and Ireland

Model year1997
Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission 3.2 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10
Distance when acquired94000 miles
Most recent distance97000 miles
Previous carBMW 3 Series

Summary:

A 70 grand convertible for £7k - buy one!

Faults:

Nothing serious has gone wrong with this car; probably down to the fact that they were massively over engineered when they were designed and built, and mine has been looked after by its previous owners.

I've replaced the battery and some worn front suspension parts - thanks to 97000 miles on British roads with potholes and speed bumps. There's no rust as long as you keep on top of the stone chips, and the engine and gearbox seem bombproof.

General Comments:

It's no M3 away from the lights, but wafting around with the top down in the summer is what it's all about with these cars.

Mine's the facelift 320 with a nice quiet straight six. It rumbles along nicely, and gets a bit throaty when you hoof it. They also handle very surefooted, thanks to the wide track and low centre of gravity.

The 320 does about 26 MPG, and 29/30 on a run.

In the 1990's SL's cost a fortune, starting at about 60k to 80 grand if you bought loads of extras.

Tip - get one with the glass hardtop, fab!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th June, 2012

1997 Mercedes-Benz SL 500 V8 from North America

Model year1997
Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission V8 Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.6 / 10
Distance when acquired94500 miles
Most recent distance95000 miles

Summary:

Sexy Sherman Tank

Faults:

Replaced tires with wider tires on the rear to fill out the wheel well; new K & N air filters; new slotted brake rotors with ceramic brake pads; replaced radio; added aftermarket alarm; exhaust tip; replaced rear plastic window and restitched 2 side windows as well; replaced both fog light bulbs.

General Comments:

The car is a sleeper, with rock solid feel, my very first Benz. What a joy to drive.

It is one of the most beautiful cars to look at, the curves and body profile are so classy, with the aggressive stance.

The soft top is a marvel to watch opening and closing, and with the addition of the hard top, gives you two different vehicles, winter and summer.

I upgraded my ride with chrome trim and new chrome wheels and chrome grill. The nice V8 gets up and moves on down the road.

There are no squeaks or rattles. When new, this vehicle was $90,000.00, purchased in 2010 for $8,000.00. What a blessing!!!

Never will this baby be driven in snow, and if I can help it, in rain either.

Dealer service is crazy. I have my own body man and mechanic for this vehicle, which costs half of the dealer cost, with just as, or better than, service.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st June, 2010

23rd Jul 2010, 09:07

Does anyone know if you can get a manual gear box in the 500?

22nd Aug 2010, 15:54

No, the 5 litre SLs only had auto boxes. They were 4 speed up to 1996 (approx) and thereafter had a 5 speed. The early 3 litre models were available with a manual gearbox, but I am not sure how long this remained an option, and I don't ever recall seeing one for sale, so I don't imagine that they made many of them.

8th Jan 2011, 14:37

Nice to hear all the good stuff on the SL500.

As for the gearbox, I have just finished installing a 5 speed manual. Very hard project!!! £££ Will update the site once I know it will run OK without ripping the box to pieces.

27th Nov 2012, 19:04

How difficult was it to replace the soft top windows? Was it expensive, and can most auto upholstery shops do this? Would appreciate any information regarding replacing them, as mine are cracked and the plastic has become very "cloudy".

Thanks.

10th Apr 2013, 23:45

Did you ever finish the manual transmission conversion?

I did see a 300 with a stick.

Average review marks: 8.0 / 10, based on 2 reviews