I have owned 3 other MB's, 2 New and 1 used. This 500 SL was puchased from a reliable dealer. (non-factory) I have always had good success with MB but this older, two owner SL has surprised me with its reliability. All systems have performed flawlessly. Many reviews have spoken disparagingly about this series of SL so I had some concerns about its longevity. So far it has been perfect after 18 months of ownership. The performance is exhiliarating but my best surprise is my fuel mileage. In the city I get a consistent 22MPG while on the road it is 26MPG or better. This model year (1996) or perhaps the care given by its previous owners had provided me a car that's a joy to drive.
This is my 5th Mercedes. Have had an older 230SL, 2 diesels and my most recent large sedan 300SE. Have sold my 300SE and Miata convertible and combined the features of both in SL320. This car is fun to drive, very comfortable and quick (even though it is only a large 6 cylinder). I got the SL320 because it had the same engine as my 300SE.
This is my 8th Mercedes, including 3 turbo-diesels, and 4 gas-sedans. The build quality is excellent. The ride is somewhat firm but it sticks to the ground and handles turns easily. It quietly reaches 100+mph and there's no wind-noise. The top and rollbar operates with 1 button. The auto-pullup windows are kind of awkward. The break- pedal travels toofar before stopping making easy stops difficult until you get used to the car. It can use a backseat and a larger trunk. The gas mileage is around 16 in city and 22 on freeway, as high as 26 on straight freeway. Car is a bit too heavy at 4170 pounds which affects it's acceleration. 6.3Sec 0-60 is a bit slow for a 315HP $90,000car. Parts overpriced
I have owned my 1996 320 SL for for 4 years and 20,000 miles. I have never been more pleased with a car. Performance, reliability, etc. are superior. It gets 24 mpg. and is serviced by an after market shop. If I ever sell it, I will buy another.