1997 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review

Used SL-Class for sale
List Price Estimate:$1,824 - $4,030
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Beautiful, high-performance, wind-in-your-hair, roadster.
  • Price.

Vehicle overview

For years, the classic roadster to own was the Mercedes 450SL. From 1973 to 1989, Mercedes peddled so many of these convertibles to the rich and famous that they became as ubiquitous as cocaine vials at high-society social events. Then, Mercedes revamped its classic, upping the technological ante by light years over the old car. The redone SL has been available in three styles since then; 320, 500 and 600 Series droptops.

The SL600 is a whompin' V12 two-door roadster. The SL isn't merely a S600 coupe with no roof. It is lighter, more nimble, and based on the SL-Class of roadsters. The bloodline it shares with the gargantuan S-Class is the 6.0-liter V12 that makes 389 horsepower and moves the car with authority. Stuffed into the SL, the V12 is a better performer and costs less than its big brother coupe, but at a stupendous $123,000, that's kind of a moot point.

The...ahem, lowly SL320 and SL500 are the more reasonably priced and more popular Mercedes roadsters. Prices for the SL320 and SL500 fell dramatically in 1995. The SL320, which was base priced at $95,000 in 1994, is starting at about $80,000 this year. Likewise, the SL500 fell nearly 10 grand to $90,000. So, do you get less car for your smaller payment? No. The SL320 and SL500 have gained equipment since then.

We don't think you should go for the SL600. The SL500 is just as good, and better in some respects, than its more muscular brother. And with your savings you could get a Jeep Grand Cherokee for the kids to take to Keg-A-Beer University in the fall. In fact, with the soon-to-be-released SLK on the way, it doesn't make sense to buy any of these big beasties. The SLK is faster than the SL320, has a convertible hardtop, and costs less than half what M-B is asking for its SL320.

1997 Highlights

A Panorama hardtop is now available, and it helps improve top-up visibility. ASR traction control is now standard on the SL320. A rain sensor is now standard on all models as well.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4 out of 5 stars
Love my buggy
Sean,03/22/2016
SL320 2dr Convertible
This is my 1st SL and I am having fun, Purchased it to be a weekend toy but find myself driving it more and more. i have had no maintenance issues and she is 19 years old.....finger crossed. Everything is expensive on this car so when it breaks I am mentally prepared to deal with that. All in all...just a great and fun car!
4.88 out of 5 stars
A True German Classic Roadster...
Realtor,08/18/2005
SL320 2dr Convertible
I came across my SL320 after the hurricanes took out my Mercedes ML with a 32 yr old oak tree. I can't say enough good things about this car. The car demands attention, a true head turner. I usually only put about 5k miles per year as a leisure car. This car is a blast, I leave my BMW at home and have racked on the miles-12k. I haved the hardtop stored, and the storage compartments behind the seats accomidate my briefcase. The best feeling to crank the A/C to 60 and drop the top, turn up the Bose system and let my cares fly off with the wind in my hair. Handling is surperb. Power is very impressive, and am thankful I got the 320 over the 500 and 600-with gas at 3bucks+, & lower insurance
5 out of 5 stars
Love It
emoore40,10/13/2003
SL320 2dr Convertible
This is my second Mercedes but first SL. I purposefully purchased the 320 over the 500 and consider I made an excellent choice. This car has performed far above expectations.
5 out of 5 stars
what would you expect
Christopher Panza,04/17/2015
SL320 2dr Convertible
We all know the mystique behind the name Mercedes and its the same mystique that porsche and bmw and now the audi's have. Engine power and design and the blue print of a car that is/was ahead of its time. My SL is what it was when it was 100,000 of the showroom floor, an engineering marvel. Just as the porsche's I have owned. If you spent $100,000 on an American made car in the mid 90's the only ones that would be worth a damn today would be the ones never or rarely driven. German or Japanese and you cannot go wrong. Stay away from the audis however, they havent figured out the turbo debacle yet

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Used 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview

The Used 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is offered in the following submodels: SL-Class Convertible. Available styles include SL500 SL1 Sport 2dr Convertible, SL500 2dr Convertible, SL320 2dr Convertible, and SL600 2dr Convertible. Pre-owned Mercedes-Benz SL-Class models are available with a 5.0 L-liter gas engine or a 3.2 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 315 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automatic.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL-Classes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.

Can't find a used 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz SL-Class for sale - 10 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $10,525.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 9 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $13,423.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz SL-Class for sale - 9 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $8,171.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz for sale - 11 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $11,064.

Should I lease or buy a 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials
Check out Mercedes-Benz SL-Class lease specials