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SL-Class (R230) 2003 -- 2012: Discussion on the SL500, SL550, SL600

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Old 07-31-2011, 02:18 AM   #1
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Smile SL500 Vs. SL600

I am a 28 year old young woman who has been driving a 2003 Mercedes E320 since 2003 and am looking to move up and get a car that is a step up in power and fun. I was thinking of getting a used SL500 or SL600 (right now, I know two people who have them for sale, a 2004 SL600 or a 2003 SL500), is the SL600 a lot more expensive to fix when it breaks down, or are they about the same? Is it worth paying a little more and getting the 600? Does the 600 have more options?
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:38 AM   #2
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I would stay away from both cars. The 2003 was a first year car and has had many problems. I have a 2004 SL500 and have had no problems.
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:52 AM   #3
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The parts that have maintenance issues are really the same for both cars, suspension, vario roof hydraulics. It's rare to find a problem with the motor. Go for the SL600, the V12 is worth it. My wife takes our SL600 to show houses sometimes and you can't wipe the grin off her face when she gets home, her normal ride is an E550....
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:59 AM   #4
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Only get the 600 if you are truly into rocket like speed, but in return you are getting horrible fuel mileage, somewhat more problematic issues (the M285 V12 has its small share of problems, coil packs etc), both cars have very high insurance premiums, are a ticket magnet, have issues with the ABC suspension, various roof issues, lots of electronic issues. All of which are very expensive repairs. The 600 comes with all the optional equipment as standard, distronic, dynamic seats, etc. 03', as the first MY for the R230, I would stay away, but with all high end, second hand benz's, the word is, that if you can afford to buy two, you can afford to maintain one.
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:36 PM   #5
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MK, what a great car! I have always been in love with the design of the SL, it's elegant yet agressive.

Besides the SL, I was also looking at the Lexus SC430 because it seems like a reliable car and one which is business appropriate (I run my own business), but the SC does not have the same kind of handling or style that the SL has, but perhaps it is easier to upkeep for a daily driver?

I am kind of a loyal MB girl, and my e class has been very reliable, so I'd rather not convert over to Lexus if I don't have to...
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:49 PM   #6
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Funny how uninitiated words of mouth spreads. Back in the heydays of the British auto industry they use to rush new models to the showrooms and let the buyers do the road tests. Only Mercedes-Benz road tests their cars for up to a million miles before offering it to the public. Add to that a philosophy of conservatism and evolution such as carry over floor pan, power train, electronics ,etcetera thence one realizes why their Best or Nothing motto stands.
Furthermore there is no reliability preference for model year when you buy a high end used car as by now these cars are being well sorted and warranty and recall issues addressed. Thus becoming equally reliable regardless of years. Matter of facts some 2003-04 and 05 owners swears that their cars are more reliable than the newer ones, and right here on this forum. It all boils down to maintenance and care, history and ownership provenance. Low mileage is of course preferred.
Good luck.
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Last edited by Leester; 08-01-2011 at 03:34 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:11 PM   #7
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Lexuses (lexi?) are boring.
The E320 is a totally different ride than an SL; I'd spend a lot of time test driving them before trading.
I would favor the 500 over the 600, for somewhat less maintenance and better gas mileage -- I get 26 hwy
As mentioned above, repairs can be expensive through the dealers, but often these older cars have had a lot of the problem areas already addressed.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:35 AM   #8
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I've driven both the sc and the sl and really favored the sl, especially for someone of my age.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:13 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Formosa118 View Post
MK, what a great car! I have always been in love with the design of the SL, it's elegant yet agressive.

Besides the SL, I was also looking at the Lexus SC430 because it seems like a reliable car and one which is business appropriate (I run my own business), but the SC does not have the same kind of handling or style that the SL has, but perhaps it is easier to upkeep for a daily driver?

I am kind of a loyal MB girl, and my e class has been very reliable, so I'd rather not convert over to Lexus if I don't have to...
Sorry, can't really say anything about the SC430, if I wanted a Lexus I'd save the money and buy a Toyota.....
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:55 AM   #10
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Sorry, can't really say anything about the SC430, if I wanted a Lexus I'd save the money and buy a Toyota.....
The most ignorant statement I've read in quite a while...
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:28 AM   #11
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Sorry, can't really say anything about the SC430, if I wanted a Lexus I'd save the money and buy a Toyota.....
I would disagree. I've owned a gs300 and I must say it was one of most comfy reliable solid cars I've owned, soled it with 112k miles on it and it still drove like it was at 40k. Leather also lasted longer and better than in any of the Mercedes I had. You would never be able to tell how many miles were on that car. And it was more luxury feel than my s500. Couldnt if it's life depended on it, but very comfy and soft.
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:05 AM   #12
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I would disagree. I've owned a gs300 and I must say it was one of most comfy reliable solid cars I've owned, soled it with 112k miles on it and it still drove like it was at 40k. Leather also lasted longer and better than in any of the Mercedes I had. You would never be able to tell how many miles were on that car. And it was more luxury feel than my s500. Couldnt if it's life depended on it, but very comfy and soft.
I am with you. Although I did not own one I was left to take care of a friends GS450H and all around that car is a work of art. I don't think I've driven a more comfortable car. When driving in the city I barely used gaz, the hybrid system is flawless and once you hit that pedal it simply takes off!!
I would take the GS450 over an E class any day!

We are kind of off topic here. I for one say Lexus engineers amazing sedans and SUV's but on the other hand their coupes are blahhhh. I would never consider an SC.

I say SL500 I test drove my friends (newer facelift model) and unless you plan on drag racing I think it has all the power you need.
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:46 PM   #13
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I second Mr. Hurley here and dare to say that Lexus is a glorified, boring and overpriced Toyota. If I am looking at Lexus than I might as well consider Infinity and better yet Hyundai Genesis and Exxus. As for SUV's they're all unsafe, unroad worthy shoe boxes on wheels that should be banned from our roadways.
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:13 PM   #14
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If you're considering a 4-seater convertible, I think you may want to find a 2005+ CLK55 Cab or CLK63(very rare) cabriolet. I've had MANY convertibles and sports cars, and this is one of the best built and funnest cars EVER. In addition, it's probably faster (feels quicker) than either of the SL's. Lastly and most importantly, I think it'll be 10x+ more reliable. Enjoy!
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:01 PM   #15
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I've driven both the sc and the sl and really favored the sl, especially for someone of my age.
I'm not certain, but I think you may be required to show an AARP card to even test drive a Lexus.
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:54 AM   #16
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You did not really mention your budget. If you can afford it, I would recommend the 2007-08 SL550. You get a lot more engine than the 500, you should still have a warranty (which you can extend).

The SC430 is a very reliable car, but really it is not going to give you the same pleasure. The old reason to buy one was the hard top, but now you have a lot of lower cost, but still sporty options with tin tops. BMW 3-series, BMW Z-series, & Infiniti G37 are all way more sporting than the SC430 (and probably more reliable than the SL!).

I had a 3-series before and thought it was a great car, but I did not need 4 seats any more so the SL was my roadster of choice. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:23 PM   #17
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Depends what kind of girl you are. Do you just want to look good in a beautiful car or do you also want the ability to spank the boys?
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:58 AM   #18
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Sorry to be off topic, but I too stand by mkhurley's statement. If I wanted a Lexus I'd save the money and buy a Toyota.

Lexus is simply a glorified Toyota with souped up suspensions and leather (that should have been on the Toyota in the first place instead of inventing a whole new "luxury" line). Sorry if that hurts any egos. But can't find me dead in a Lexus with its boring, sedated drive. The drive-train drives like it is apologizing for being on the road. Now they have the IS-F and LFA to prove a point? Too little too late.

I would take a Limited edition Avalon, Land Cruiser, 4runner or Camry over its Lexus clone any day ....
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Old 08-03-2011, 12:44 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Formosa118 View Post
MK, what a great car! I have always been in love with the design of the SL, it's elegant yet agressive.

Besides the SL, I was also looking at the Lexus SC430 because it seems like a reliable car and one which is business appropriate (I run my own business), but the SC does not have the same kind of handling or style that the SL has, but perhaps it is easier to upkeep for a daily driver?

I am kind of a loyal MB girl, and my e class has been very reliable, so I'd rather not convert over to Lexus if I don't have to...
Formosa, I didn't mean for my comment to derail your thread. You've got a choice to make, nobody else can really do that for you. Your a business woman at 28, I would suspect you already make good decisions, whatever you decide I'm sure it will be appropriate for you.

Your already familiar with the care and feeding of the MB's, the SL's are that and some, just go into it realizing that and all should be fine. V12 vs. V8...well I'm bias...but there is nothing hotter (relative to cars atleast) than a beautiful woman driving a fast car, I stand at the window and watch everytime my wifes leaves in our SL600. Use the power or not, the V12 is as smooth as my wife's E550 from a light and can get down right obscene when I want it to.
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Old 08-03-2011, 05:30 PM   #20
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As reported elsewhere, V12's are a vanishing breed. They're big, heavy, thirsty and very special. I have not had an R230 SL600 but I had the R129 equivalent and it was a special car. The SL600 is a lot quicker than an SL500 in terms of outright acceleration but, for some, sporty driving comes from driving a car on the twisties and not just a drag race from one stop light to the next. If so, lightness is every bit as important as outright power and it's not the SL600's playground.

As also reported, MB problems are much more to do with hydraulics and electrics not on the engine itself so although SL600 maintenance costs will be higher, it's noise level over a few years of ownership. If you want high V12 maintenance costs, you go to Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin. I expect Mercedes V12 maintenance costs are the lowest of any V12 manufacturer.

Whichever you go for, enjoy it.
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Old 08-03-2011, 05:30 PM
 
 
 
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