1999 Mercedes-Benz SL Reviews

1999 Mercedes-Benz SL 320 3.2 from UK and Ireland

Model year1999
Year of manufacture1999
First year of ownership2011
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 3.2 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired125517 miles
Most recent distance128000 miles
Previous carGrinnall Scorpion

Summary:

Get one and drive it on a nice summer's evening with the top down - heaven

Faults:

Given the car is 11 years old, it has been good so far.

I had a few problems such as a broken front suspension spring, door speaker not working, a few dashboard lights blown, and a broken plug lead, but overall it's in good condition.

I will need to replace the front shocks at some point, along with their mounts.

General Comments:

I have always loved these from the day they were released in 1989.

It's not a sports car, being too large and heavy, and you do notice the lower centre of gravity - even when you have the tyres starting to squeal, you're not pressed against the driver's door with 'G' force, unlike a normal saloon car. I don't actually drive it like that very often, as it's more a car for wafting around in with the top down.

Performance is pretty good, with sufficient power to overtake most dawdlers, and the automatic gearbox kicks down quickly (better with a fluid change).

The interior is a bit dated, but that's part of the charm, and you do get a lovely instrument panel with 6 gauges, which is a pleasant change from the modern day practice of 'two is enough'.

I have the glass hardtop, and I love the swish coupe look it lends the car. With the soft top up it's quite noisy, which surprised me given Mercedes alleged proficiency with such contraptions, but I only use if it rains, and to keep the fag butts, phlegm and litter out of the car when I park it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th July, 2011

20th Dec 2011, 18:52

I have now owned this car for 9 months, and have changed the front shocks and mounts, and it's much nicer to drive now, with less roll through the corners, less dive under braking, and also less road noise.

It's a lovely car, although I am getting curious about the V8. The 3.2 V6 is fine and feels particularly 'grunty' at part throttle and low revs, which leaves you expecting much more at high revs and full throttle, but there isn't that much more to come. Having said that, it's only an issue when you can find an empty road. However, I feel a V8 coming.

25th Jul 2012, 15:15

I still have the car, and it's running nicely and I haven't felt the need for a V8 yet, although I did drive a Jaguar XKR recently, which was very fast and refined.

I am probably going to change the front lower wishbones next, as the car makes a slight clunk when going from forward to reverse, or vice-versa, and there's also a slight steering wheel wobble at motorway speeds, which remains, despite having the wheels balanced twice.

I have a done a few long motorway runs at around the speed limit, and always get 32 MPG, which is fairly good given its age, weight etc.

1999 Mercedes-Benz SL SL500 5 litre V8 from Sweden

Model year1999
Year of manufacture1999
First year of ownership2007
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 5 litre V8 Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired134000 kilometres
Most recent distance148000 kilometres
Previous carBMW 7 Series

Summary:

The last truly great convertible

Faults:

Fan wing broke off (£600).

Rust bubble on panoramic hardtop.

General Comments:

The last edition of the old R129 SL was one of my dream cars, so it was natural that I picked one up when I was offered a fully equipped (xenon, panoramic roof, GPS, tele etc) car at a good price. I was considering a newer R230 SL, but I could not stand the quality issues and cheap interior despite the beautiful supercar looks, so I settled for a late R129.

Overall this was one of the last of the old-school Mercedes' which I like, the feeling of robustness and quality was unbeatable. I used this as my daily driver for an entire year, and the only thing that I truly disliked about the car was the weight of the glass roof, that I always had to have a buddy come over and help me put on, since my wife and I could not manage it ourselves.

A well kept R129 SL still gets positive attention.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th December, 2008

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