The newest of the R129 cars (last built in 2001) is now 16 years old. Automotive engineering has progressed a long way in the interim. My daughter told me that her 2014 Nissan Altima rides better than my 2001 SL 500 and I agree with her. That said, the R129 is one fine automobile. No Mercedes Benz is a sports car but they corner well and have a comfortable ride even if they don't quite match the highway ride of a new car. What's not to like about a 300+ horsepower vehicle that gets 26 mpg on the freeway and has a smooth shifting 5-speed automatic that always seems to be in the right gear or quickly downshifts to a lower gear for any situation? The car was @$84,000.00 new. Fourteen years later I bought it with 37,500 miles on the car for @15% of the original purchase price. Things that I don't like about the car- my SL is a few inches longer than my 2015 Mercedes GLK250 but has less driver leg room (it has enough legroom for my 6'-01" frame but it is not excessive); the beautiful chrome 18" sport wheels need regular waxing or they will rust in a heartbeat and MB strongly cautions against the use of chains and/or cable chains on these rims (not convenient in a region where the occasional surprise snowfall happens); the view backing out of a parking space is not as good as I would like; the car has been very reliable, the local MB dealer less so. Overall a fine car that is lots of fun to drive.
I've owned my SL 500 for five years. No, as in none, maintenance expense beyond routine oil and fluid changes. I bought it with 42,000 miles. 48,000 now. Suburban driving only. A/C is great in Arizona summers. Cars and Coffee monthly, Club car shows, out to dinner a couple of times a month and now being used for routine trips too. We have a CLS 550 and a GLE 350 as well so quite familiar with the Mercedes-Benz brand. Two previous owners: None under 65. The high beams didn't work when we got the car...probably never out at night! After a couple of on/off high beam flashes, the high beams started working fine. So it goes with the car. Subsequently, traded on a 2013 SL 550 with 7,000 miles and warranty to seven years. Why? Easy to drop the top, dynamic seats, ventilated seats, lots of safety features enjoyed on CLS and GLE. Sigh every time a 129 SL passes. I traded the car in on a R231 SL550 as the new technology was appealing as was the trade-in price offered by my retailer...he had a buyer for a concours quality R129. I miss the lovely colors and analog driving experience...until I want to put the top down or listen to my music.
Was shopping for a Mustang GT when I came across this beauty. One test drive and I was hooked. After having owned many sports cars their is no comparison. I have had C3, C4, C5 Corvettes, Many Mustangs, MGB's, MR5's, 350Z's, just to name a few. Not one of them could even come close to the fit and finish of this Mercedes. I was parked right next to a brand new Corvette at a car show so I had plenty of time to study the fine details of the paint etc. Mind you my Mercedes is already 14 years old. Looking close at the Vet then at the Mercedes it was no contest! The paint on the Vet had small waves in it the Mercedes was like a mirror. The materials used in the interior of the Corvette looked like they came from Walmart. Fourteen years old and the thick leather and plush carpet still look new on the Mercedes. The car oozes quality. Granted the Corvette looked way more flashy and in race would win hands down. But if I had to drive cross country the SL500 would be my pick. At 80 mph I was able to let go of the steering wheel and let the car track down the road straight as an arrow. The car handles as if it is on rails, very stable and just a joy to drive.
This SL500 wasn't my first choice. I went to a dealer to look at a 2002 Porsche Carrera convertible but it had just been sold. The sales guy asked me if I'd like to look at a low mileage SL500. I'm glad I did. The triple black AMG SL500 had only 8K on the clock and looked new. Then I drove it. It's a classic cruiser, not a sports car but who cares! It's fast, beautiful and a blast to drive with the top down.
Classy looks. Gobs of torque and the chicks check it out.
I purchased my 2001 SL500 from a dealership in Calfornia two weeks ago and drove it to Idaho. This Mercedes is the best all around automobile that I have ever had the pleasure of driving. The handling was fantantic, the performance is unbelievible, especially at top end. My other two super performance cars are a 03 & a 06 Z06 Corvettes which are dream cars, but the Mercedes is just the total package. An all around great driving car. You just feel great driving in it. My Mercedes is Red with Black leather interior. It has 44,000 miles on it. An engineering marvel!
Well balance automobile, great top end performance, excellent handling, superior brakes, and of coarse great German engineering and looks. Excellent road feel and pretty quiet.