Last post on Jul 24, 2012 at 9:07 AM
You are in the Mercedes-Benz SL/SLK-Class
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Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, Convertible
#205 of 786 You aren't going to believe this
Jun 27, 2002 (7:58 am)
Ready for this? I ordered my SL500 more than a year ago. I flew to the Frankfurt Auto show in September, 2001 to see the car. I picked up the car on my birthday in April in Europe. I received the car back from Europe three weeks ago. I have put about 1,000 miles on the car, half in Germany and half here. Now, I have decided to sell the car.
Maybe my disappointment is a result of the fact that this was one of the first SL's produced. Even my dealer refers to me as a guinea pig. Here is my list of gripes: (1)The car is too heavy (we already all knew that). It really is not much fun to drive. I feel like I should color my hair silver just to drive it. (2) All the electronic gizmo's- the brakes, the engine management, the suspension- all conspire to make you feel like you are watching a video game of driving and not actually driving. When I open the car door or start the car, there is all this whirring of electronics distracting me from the basic FUN of driving. Sometimes these electronics fight with you, for example, the radio makes itself louder or softer depending on your speed, I find this very distracting. (3) The Brakes- I add this for emphasis, I cannot get used to these brakes, they have no traditional feel. Maybe my problem is that my other cars, a Porsche 911 and a BMW 540i, have such fantastic brakes, that the Mercedes seems detached by comparison. (4) Quality control- maybe it is my fault for being first on my block to get one, but there are a ton of rattles from the top, the dash and areas unknown behind the driver's seat. Now there is an SRS warning light that won't go off and the monitor that is supposed to report a problem says there is none, so why is the warning light on the dash still on? This car is very complicated, lots of electronics. If I am having problems so early into my ownership experience, what will it be like in three years?
Before all the Lexus fans start piling on, remember that I was the guy who owned one of the first SC430 convertibles and hated that as well. Maybe I should stick to BMW's and Porsche's?
#206 of 786 What does MB Service tell you?
Jun 27, 2002 (11:50 am)
My guess is that your experience is somewhat of an anomoly. Is MB telling you to pound sand, or are they showing concern for a customer who purchased a $90K+ vehicle? The SL is certainly not a 911 and certainly a "difffernt" car from the 540 - both among my personal favorites.
The SL55 was recently reviewed along with several other "Supercars" like the 911Turbo, Ferrari575 and Aston Martin. The SL was admirably represented and nobody complained about the niggling issues you raise. Sounds like you require personal attention from MB, as your post on the web is immediately read by MANY potential customers.
Regarding weight of the SL, reviewers have all appeared to find the handling to be superior. Maybe you are more of a Boxster S or S2000 type of driver... the SL makes no pretense of being a lightweight sportscar like the aforementioned.
#208 of 786 Not easy to fix the Lexus suspension
Jun 28, 2002 (5:40 pm)
The SC430 doesn't have a stiff enough body to take advantage of the suspension and wheel/tire upgrade. It will only rattle and shake more giving you an unacceptably harsh ride.
The overly sensitive traction control and lack of electronic brakes cannot be overcome by bigger tires and stiffer suspension alone.
#210 of 786 Response to W210
Jun 29, 2002 (6:13 pm)
I responded earlier, but I must have not hit the correct botton. The rental (in Beverly Hills) was around $500 a day. Thanks for measuring your windows. I will do the same at my dealer and advise. Are you still pleased with it? Mine arrives in October, but I am troubled with the reports of rattles.
#211 of 786 info for dschmidt4
Jun 30, 2002 (12:20 am)
dschmidt4, I finally figured out what you mean. I noted that if I use the key remotely to open the top from outside the car, at the first stop, the front side windows will remain all the way up. If I continue pressing the button, the front windows will drop but will not go all the way down. At least one inch as you reported earlier.
However, if you open the top from inside by the car by pulling the center console lever, the side windows do drop almost all the way down.
Very happy with the car, reports of rattles (only when the top is up) can be fixed by dealer. Excellent handling and very solid car. The topless experience is unreal. I also experienced the SRS light but part is on its way.
#212 of 786 Shoes, et al: Know what your getting yourself into
Jun 30, 2002 (8:28 am)
I am not surprised to hear your complaints on the SL500. Not to rub salt in the wound with 20/20 hindsight, but look at past and recent history:
(1) The SL has never driven like a sports car or even as precisely as a BMW 5-series. It's always been overweight. Suspension improvements have not eliminated the "detached" impression you, me and others I know have experienced.
(2) Mercedes has gotten out of control as far as "gizmos". Readily apparant from the complaints of the Command system when introduced. From a driving enthusiasts perspective, these are unnecessary displays of technology that don't add (and in many cases detract) from the driving experience.
(3) Mercedes has clearly slipped in terms of basic quality control in recent years. Perhaps they should fire some of their gizmo minded techies and hire back some real engineers that can get rid of the rattles and the electronic polterguists that seem to plague many of their more recent introductions.
With all due respect, the 2003 SL500 is a very attractive car that is superior in many ways to the car it replaces (the jury is out on dependability/durability). But it is not a revolutionary change from what the SL has always been - a GT cruiser. And it does not surprise me that this would disappoint someone used to driving a 911 or 540.
And, just as a forewarning to anyone salivating over the upcoming SL55. One of my friends is chief lobbyist for Daimler Chrysler and had the opportunity to drive a test model in Germany with some other senior executives in April. His comments: "If you like driving the SL500, you'll love the SL55. But it's not going to win over me or anyone who knows how to drive and is looking for a true sports car". (Manfred's current weekend car is a Ferrari 360; previously it was a 911).
I myself upgrded from a 540i 6-speed to a 2002 M5 this spring. And even then, I test drove a used M5 for an entire weekend, just to make sure that I wasn't buying the wrong car for me.
Shoes - good luck with whatever you decide from here. At least you have some excellent choices in your garage.
#213 of 786 gizmos and QC
Jul 01, 2002 (2:27 am)
In respond to epn2, I think both BMW and MB are adding more gizmos to their cars for better or worse. Personally, I find the COMAND *MUCH* easier to pick up and to use than the new iDrive. If you think COMAND is difficult, you will be very frustrated with iDrive in the new 7 series. Let's hope BMW will improve on it before it appears on the new 5.
As far as quality control goes, I have had initial problems with all 3 newly acquired German cars, malfunctioning power seat on the new Audi A4, major recall on the 7, SRS light on the SL.
Do these problems turn me into a Lexus owner? Definitely not, it's one thing to visit the dealer to fix minor bugs every now and then but it's another to have to live with cars that don't handle well day in day out.
#214 of 786 w210 - Absolutely agree
Jul 01, 2002 (7:16 am)
BMW's iDrive on the 7-series is even worse than the Command system. I have not yet driven one, but I've never been a big fan of the 7-series. Even with two kids, I've never felt compelled to go up to a 7 or S-class in size. If I did - and money were no object - I'd probably go with an S55. Recent flaws aside, I still think Mercedes does big luxury better than BMW. Fortunately, we have an SUV for serious hauling.
I also think my previous post was too harsh. I was not trying to dump on the new SL. It may not be a sports car, but as a luxury 2-seat convertible, it's about as good as you can do at any price.