Dead Again - 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster Long-Term Road Test

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster Long-Term Road Test

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Dead Again

June 6, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

So the convertible top is broken on our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster...again.

We took the car back to the local Mercedes-Benz dealership, W. I. Simonson, where we've had good experiences in the past. We were told that the parts would need to be special ordered and that they'd give us a call when the repairs were complete.

After a week and a half had passed, we called the dealership to get a rundown of the situation. We were told that the top was fixed, but that they were waiting on a cosmetic piece that had to be sourced from overseas. Rather than wait another week or more, we elected to pick the car up and bring it back when the part finally arrived.

One baffling thing: They were adamant that we not put the top down, no way, no how. This was odd considering the missing part was supposedly cosmetic. If this part is merely cosmetic, wouldn't the top still work without it? And if not, said part is not merely cosmetic, but mechanically integral. Whatever.

One other thing: When we stopped by to pick it up, the battery was dead. Not just low, where the engine tries to turn over and goes nowhere. Dead dead. No lights, no sound. Nothing. If you've been following these posts, you'll recall this happened at the dealer once before.

Now, we're giving Simonson the benefit of the doubt, since we've had good luck with them in the past. Hopefully, sooner rather than later the mystery part will show and we'll finally get the top working again. And hopefully the battery doesn't die this time.

Karl Funke, Associate Vehicle Coordinator @ 24,755 miles


  • throwback throwback Posts:

    The SLS is a nice car, but if a convertible Mustang had this many problems in such a short time, I think you folks would be losing your collective minds.

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    Wow, this dealership is throwing up red flags all over the place and yet you keep taking it there. Somehow they have managed to completely drain your battery twice and there is evidence that they didn't fix the top correctly the first time. If this were my car I would be nowhere near as forgiving.

  • wdrauch wdrauch Posts:

    What a hunk of junk! M-Bs are certainly no longer built to a standard, but rather to a price!

  • zcalvert zcalvert Posts:

    this qualifies as good luck?? i'd be terrified to hear your definition of bad luck.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    I don't think I would be using this dealer again, either...but honestly, this car is a piece of crap. Yeah, the battery died at the dealer's before, but it also died at the home of a staffer before, too. And while it doesn't look like the dealer did a very good job of repairing the retractable roof, why did the roof mechanism fail at 20k miles in the first place? I don't consider this a reliable vehicle. It was driven to Montana, but given the list of failures, I would not want to take it to Montana again, let's put it that way. Shame to have to say that about year-old car with 25k miles on it.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:


  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    I hesitate to blame this all on the car. Instead of two separate failures, it could have been one improperly repaired failure. The blind loyalty to Santa Monica dealerships despite the bad attitudes, shoddy work, and absolutely insane prices even by dealership standards just baffles me.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    This car stinks as does the dealership. "It's only a cosmetic piece but don't lower the roof" ?!?! What a crock.

  • lmbvette lmbvette Posts:

    One thing I have learned about taking a car to be repaired at a dealership is not to leave it there until ALL THE REQUIRED PARTS ARE THERE!

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    agentorange is right - this doesn't have to be an either/or - it sounds like both to me. lmbvette is correct, also - leave it there until they sign off on it, or there will be finger-pointing by both you and them later.

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    @fordson, Honestly, this SLS isn't that different from most German cars and I would have no fears about taking it on another long road trip. So far it has been mechanically without fault (a rarity for exotic sports cars, mind you), but electrically/cosme

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    @mercedesfan: I have a 2011 GTI. It has had exactly nothing wrong with it in 26,000 miles, other than a nail in the tire. It's German car. A convertible top that has actual broken hardware in it that prevents it from going up and down, which is its des

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    @fordson1, Firstly, you are lucky. The GTI, while fantastic, does not have a particularly good reliability record. Owners forums are full of little issues. And it is a relatively simple car with few electrical systems. Secondly, a dead battery is a dead b

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    You're making this tough...I think I am about average with the GTI. The last few VWs Edmunds has had here - the GTI, the Jetta TDI and the Beetle - have been bulletproof. If the top fails in the down position and you have weather, it WILL prevent you from getting where you're going. The map light in the SLS was left on by Riswick for AN HOUR. It killed the battery - ? And the repeat dead battery situation has been going on in tandem with TPMS warnings that don't mean a thing, with warnings that reverse cannot be engaged that also don't mean a thing, etc. Just too much funky [non-permissible content removed] goin' down with it. Plus the dealer that can't fix the top and can't figure out the apparent way-above-spec ignition-off power draw it's experiencing. I would not be surprised if M-B USA decides this little public experiment has been going on long enough and it disappears on an M-B USA flatbed.

  • 330i_zhp 330i_zhp Posts:

    While I realize supercars are very high-strung, I can't imagine paying that much for a car that requires so much upkeep. Sure, the people that buy them have no problem affording the maintenance, but when you can get 90% of the performance for the 25% of the price from a Corvette which you can fix with a hammer(just the example that come to mind), it seems like a no-brainer. That said, If I were a 1%-er, I'd take the exotic. :)

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