Last post on Jul 24, 2012 at 10:07 AM
You are in the Mercedes-Benz SL/SLK-Class
What is this discussion about?
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, Convertible
#44 of 786 Yeah, let's START with the NAV and CD player!
Mar 09, 2002 (8:29 am)
Where does Benz get off NOT offering in dash changers and DVD NAV? Where is the extra $5-10k premium going, anyway? I'd give some of the over-the-top safety systems back for a more functional car with more useful features. When I look at a $60-80k car, I don't want to see ANYTHING that REEKS of cost-cutting, period!!! Do you disagree? To Mr. Shiftright, Lexus being only 12 years old, still has the right (cajones?) to build bold new designs! 5 years ago, everyone said Lexus only builds boring appliances. Now they build sexy convertibles, and here come the critics defending Benz conservative style. Those who can, do. Those who can't......don't........ THe Benz SL is a better car (I don't know about $25k better!), and the Lexus is sexier. That's my opinion. Lexus is building all the SC's they can to meet demand, but if they don't offer a sportier version with better seats/suspension settings, demand will wane in 2 years.........and Merc, all I'm saying is the current CLK took advantage of a market that wanted the latest safety features (ASR, side airbags, VDC, a convertible option) that the Lexus didn't offer, and a large customer base of Benz owners looking for ANYTHING new in 96. The design is nothing special, and the performance was competitive, but a new flavor of the month, combined with fewer competitors, gave the Benz the market by default. Lexus abandoned the SC after 7 years to work on the new SC. The current CLK in no big deal...... All I'm saying is for the dollars Benz wants, I want a sexy, awe-inspiring car with all the features (safety AND luxury), the softest leathers, the most convenience, the best powertrain, and great drivng dynamics. Lexus left out the last part. The Benz CLk leaves out some things (beauty, convenience, interior luxury compared to SC). Neither car is perfect, so don't break your fists pounding your chest...... I think the new SL is hot, but the gills on the hood and fenders are a poor attempt at style/retro, and the interior MUST have the latest convenience features for $85k+, this is 2003, and for that chunk of change, it BETTER be perfect. The perfect convertible STILL as not been made........
Mar 09, 2002 (8:41 am)
"The perfect convertible STILL as not been made........"
This I'll agree with. Lexus has awkward styling, the Germans are all afraid of CD players, and American offerings seem to lack the build quality. The perfect convertible hasn't been made yet. Maybe Acura or Infiniti can get it right. (In fact didn't Infiniti nearly hit a bullseye in the early 90s?)
In the meantime you have to admit, the SL500/SL55 is about as close as you can get to the perfect convertible.
#46 of 786 Toyotas1
Mar 09, 2002 (8:53 am)
Long as you yourself say the Benz is the better car the rest of your post is rendered pointless.
No convertible is perfect true, but Mercedes is the best there is at Luxury convertibles. Only Ferrari and Porsche build one any better.
Your theory about the CLK having the market to itself in 1998 is just an excuse, it isn't Mercedes' fault Lexus was late to the drop-top-luxury party. You can't be serious of blaming Mercedes for quote "taking advantage of the market".....hello(!)....that is the purpose of building and selling cars. The Japanese are masters of this, as well. If you're seriously stating that as a reason for the CLK's success, then you've lost all of what little credibility you had with me. And just an FYI the first CLK cabriolet didn't come out until 1999, that being the CLK320. The 430 Cabrio followed in 2000.
To top it all off now you're claiming that safety features aren't important??? Better leather, but no rollover protection?? Right?? Better Nav system, but no thorax airbags??? Lets have a creaky body, but a better sound system to drown out the cowl shake??
I've said this before and I'll say it again. CD players, Leather and Nav systems are not what a Benz make.
The SL's premium over the SC430 is clearly visible by glancing at the SL's equipment list. New generation technology costs money.
Try again, you're arguement is dust.
#47 of 786 sphinx99
Mar 09, 2002 (8:54 am)
Ah......the SL500/55 being as close to perfection as possible, you can see that too huh?
Mar 09, 2002 (9:53 am)
Of course I can, it looks like a great car.
Close to perfection != perfection though. I think some of toyotas1's comments are off base, however at this point I don't think there is any excuse for cars of this calibre to not have DVD nav systems or in-dash changers.
A SL55 with a slightly prettier front end & more up-to-date audio and nav would be the perfect convertible IMO. Which means that MB is really really close. Fix a couple of things and cut the price by about 80% so that I can afford it, and I'll be all over it.
Mar 09, 2002 (10:07 am)
If they cut the price by 80% you'll have to wait in line behind me! I agree, Mercedes needs to update a few minor things.
Mar 09, 2002 (10:36 am)
Once again, I think Mercedes suffers from not showing off enough. Much of the car's quality and uniqueness is not apparent. You really DO need to saw the car in half, and saw a Lexus in half, to see the difference. Or at least disassemble the cars down to bare bones. That's where the $25K is, and that's why my 1980 Benz look as good as the day it was built...or should I say over-built.
If you aren't interested in what you can't see, buy a Lexus. No argument from me. You can have a fancy CD player or you can have ASC, ESP, ASR and ABC from Mercedes.
If you want the most technologically advanced car in the world, there is no other choice at the moment.
#51 of 786 My argument is dust, huh?
Mar 09, 2002 (10:45 am)
First off, check the review in C&D on the SL. The article didn't show the, anywhere, that the SL is hands down the best luxury convertible available. Their cup didn't exactly runneth over with praise, did it? Let's quote, shall we?...... "ABC doesn't do anythig for ride quality, which is on the tranquil side but DEGENERATES INTO QUIVERING CONCUSSIONS over Midwestern frost heaves."........ "The twin aluminum rings that control the temperature for driver and passenger wobble slightly in their faces and feel as if pilfered from the HYUNDAI PARTS BIN."...... How 'bout that, Merc? You must be brimming with pride and holier-than-thous now, huh?.......I know you want throw "That was a pre-production unit, anyway!" into your response, but full Road Test are on production units only. The CLK seemed to have rigidity over BOTH HARDTOPS, probaby more a tribute to structural tweeks over it 5 years it current form. Maybe the S2000 has structural rigidity topping all three??....... Where I'm coming from is that every company has strengths and weaknesses. The Benz cars will ALWAYS do well because they have a super heritage/legacy, are innovative, and have a reputation for endurance, even if they don't sweat the details. That's what they do well. What they don't do well is make a stick, make a fittingly opulent interior for their high prices, or build a bold, original designs. Lexus has strengths and weaknesses too. They are mre innovative than German-lovers would have you believe (The original SC, the DESIGN and features of the new SC, the RX300, NVH poneering achievements), they are willing to take styling risks (the new ES and SC430, the GS series), the quality standards, the ride quality (that Americans prefer, not Germans), fair prices, the quality of materials used. Their weaknesses are they don't offer the variety the Germans do, the options, and the safety features are usually a couple of years behind the Germans, and a manual is hard to come by. I feel BOTH cars are clos to perfection! The Sl still has some structural issues, interior quality/feature issues, and is still $10k over priced. The SC needs sportier seats, two SEPERATE suspensions for different buyers (Sport or Comfort, use the ES adjustable suspension?), and a shorter first gear would get the 0-60 time lower. Obviously, the car is biased a little too much to the aging baby boomer. But Lexus hears you a lot better than Mercedes does, so next summer I'm sure the tightening will be made. I think the SL is a SLIGHTLY better car, but the Lexus is the pound for pound champ! They both have many strengths, just allow that there are other great convertibles besides Mercedes, huh?.......
Mar 09, 2002 (10:56 am)
Have you sawed a Lexus in half? I know what you are saying about the strength of MB and I don't disagree with it. However you also seem to be implying that Lexus does *not* share that same strength. I'm not so sure. Obviously there is no 1980 Lexus to compare with your 1980 MB. However if we sawed a 1990 Lexus and a 1990 MB in half, would they be that different? (They might be, they might not be; I'd like to see some evidence that they would be, given how over-engineered the LS400 appears to be from my time in them.)
This isn't to say that the SC430 is a better or equal car to the SL500, I haven't driven either, much less sawed either of them in half. However, I don't think any of us can claim that the MB absolutely *does* have a greater degree of overengineering than the SC430 unless we've done our fair share of time inside the SC430 as well.
Mar 09, 2002 (11:14 am)
Something MB needs, especially for the SL500, is a stunning visual example of engineering excellence. This is something I haven't seen MB try to advertise to the public for a while. Not many companies make an effort to do that, however when they do try the effect can be stunning.
I think most people here remember the wine glass television commercials that accompanied the debut of the LS400. (The stack of wine glasses remaining perfectly balanced on a LS400 doing 150mph on a dyno.) That simple ad caused half the jaws in America to drop. MB needs something like that for the SL500. Fact or fiction, the encroachment of the luxury imports, the steady progress of BMW and Audi, and the growing QA concerns about MB are starting to tarnish the image of excellence that Benz has enjoyed for quite some time. If the SL500 is MB's response to the last five years, then it should be mated to a stunning advertising campaign that shows what the car is or means. For better or for worse, the press reviews on the SL500 are generally filled with praise but as the previous poster pointed out, they haven't had that "this is the best car in the universe" quality that the forum posters here were alleging the new SL to have prior to its actual release. If the SL500 is supposed to be something more special than "a very nice car for a lot of money" then now is the time for them to make a statement.
"What really separates the SL from its competitors, which we'll call the Porsche 911, Jaguar XKR, Maserati Spyder and the already-referenced Lexus SC, is that thrill you get from constantly discovering new features not even dreamed of in those other cars."
Note that they didn't pin the SL's strengths on its build quality, or on the stuff "inside" that may not appear on the surface. On the contrary, the review essentially boiled down to, "the SL500 is a really cool car because it has a lot of gadgets and buttons." I can't explain why, but that isn't what I was expecting an auto journalist to take away from an experience in the new SL. This car should not be wowing auto journalists in the same way a 3000GT VR4 wowed journalists.