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SL-Class (R129) 1990-2002: SL 280, SL 300, SL 320, SL 500, SL 600, SL 60 AMG

long distance drives in SL's

 
Old 12-11-2008, 11:10 AM
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2004 S2000, 1992 Prelude
long distance drives in SL's

My G/F is going to be starting med school about 4 hours away from where we currently live.

I'll be doing the drive to visit her a lot more than she is to me given that with my job I've got a lot more time and flexibility.

My s2000 is horrible on long distance trips. Its an amazingly fun car to drive, but after about the first 1.5hrs its just so cramped and uncomfortable its rediculious. Not to menton room for barely one weekend bag. If I have to bring files for work with me or anything I'm SOL. (no fun) I've been looking into and considering different cars that would maintain a nice sense of fun to drive, great suspension, good looks, but a lot more luxurious.

r129's are definitly in my pricerange and many can be had with pretty decently low mileage.

my question is tho, given its small size etc... would it still be comfortable and smooth on a long 4 hr drive?

how would you rate the reliability of r129's?

a 4 hour trip is something that I wouldn't want to be stranded on.

repair costs are probably through the roof on these models too huh?

also, how are your highway mileage numbers with age? Yes I can look up the offical ratings, but most of these cars are getting older and milage usually suffers with age. I'd be looking for SL500 models (V8)

How about sporty feel... I mean I know this is something that I'll just have to drive one and figure out for myself. And i'm sure I wont get the same sports car feel as my S2000 given the huge weight difference. But the only models I would consider are probably ones privately owned, and I dont want to waste any dealer or private owner's time until I'm really serious about pulling the trigger on one of these.

-- Does the car feel big and bloated over the turns or is it still relatively a sporty steady ride?

I'm sure i wont have any gripes over power with the 500 model. ;-)

Also one more question, I believe i read some where that only the SL600's (v12's) were ever offered in Manual transmission. Is this true?

I think thats one of my biggest hangups about a r129, I feel like i'd be bored outta my mind without being able to shift my own gears.


Right now I think I'm primarly trying to decide between the CLS and the SL (r129) -- I'm just really afraid of the CLS reliablity, and the pricing on used SL's are better due to older age than the pricing on used CLS's with comparable mileage.



Thanks in advance for your opinions for a benz noob.
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Old 12-11-2008, 01:51 PM
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at least 5 times a year i drive out to the desert house, 2.5 hours away. SL drived great, even with the 19".

i have taken it to VEgas 6 hours a few times with my 18" AMG.

the SL is a GREAT roadtrip car. i would not hesitate to drive it 10+ hours.
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Old 12-11-2008, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by starbai View Post
My G/F is going to be starting med school about 4 hours away from where we currently live.

I'll be doing the drive to visit her a lot more than she is to me given that with my job I've got a lot more time and flexibility.

My s2000 is horrible on long distance trips. Its an amazingly fun car to drive, but after about the first 1.5hrs its just so cramped and uncomfortable its rediculious. Not to menton room for barely one weekend bag. If I have to bring files for work with me or anything I'm SOL. (no fun) I've been looking into and considering different cars that would maintain a nice sense of fun to drive, great suspension, good looks, but a lot more luxurious.

r129's are definitly in my pricerange and many can be had with pretty decently low mileage.

my question is tho, given its small size etc... would it still be comfortable and smooth on a long 4 hr drive?

how would you rate the reliability of r129's?

a 4 hour trip is something that I wouldn't want to be stranded on.

repair costs are probably through the roof on these models too huh?

also, how are your highway mileage numbers with age? Yes I can look up the offical ratings, but most of these cars are getting older and milage usually suffers with age. I'd be looking for SL500 models (V8)

How about sporty feel... I mean I know this is something that I'll just have to drive one and figure out for myself. And i'm sure I wont get the same sports car feel as my S2000 given the huge weight difference. But the only models I would consider are probably ones privately owned, and I dont want to waste any dealer or private owner's time until I'm really serious about pulling the trigger on one of these.

-- Does the car feel big and bloated over the turns or is it still relatively a sporty steady ride?

I'm sure i wont have any gripes over power with the 500 model. ;-)

Also one more question, I believe i read some where that only the SL600's (v12's) were ever offered in Manual transmission. Is this true?

I think thats one of my biggest hangups about a r129, I feel like i'd be bored outta my mind without being able to shift my own gears.


Right now I think I'm primarly trying to decide between the CLS and the SL (r129) -- I'm just really afraid of the CLS reliablity, and the pricing on used SL's are better due to older age than the pricing on used CLS's with comparable mileage.



Thanks in advance for your opinions for a benz noob.
the r129 are very very reliable post 91 i would say.

the 600 are heavier, more power, but have ADS that can be $$$ to fix.

the handling of the 129 is as good as any other GT on the market today.

i would chose an SL600 over a CLS500 any day. it will be 10X more reliable, and its a convertible!

Mark




P.S only the early 300SL came with a 5sp man. none of the later 129 came in stick IN THE USA
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Old 12-11-2008, 02:12 PM
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Don't have a Mercedes right now...
The comfort in the Mercedes will be light years away from the S2000 but be aware of its high rate of depreciation with lots of miles. I am not sure on that, but there are a lot of 500 engines around, parts might be cheaper on those compared to the 600 engines.
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Old 12-11-2008, 02:34 PM
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sl500
Hi,I drove over 11 hrs to Biloxi Ms. last January.I loved it .It drove well and I got 26 mpg round trip.My wife says it's not a good napping car.I have been lucky with the sl500's I have owned,I bought decent cars from the begin with and I do 80% of all maintenance myself.There are nightmares in any car but I think these are very good cars if you do the proper maintenance before something goes wrong and causes something else to tear up.
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Old 12-17-2008, 05:50 AM
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A woman needs her toys!:98 SL500 for now
It is a great car fi you are not too tall. I used to drive from Petersberg VA to Augusta every weekend last summer and it was great. Then I took my husband Vulcan...that was better lol.
My husband is 6 foot 3 and hates it. Calls the car the match box lol.
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by soldbyyou View Post
It is a great car fi you are not too tall. I used to drive from Petersberg VA to Augusta every weekend last summer and it was great. Then I took my husband Vulcan...that was better lol.
My husband is 6 foot 3 and hates it. Calls the car the match box lol.
im 6'2, and my best bud is 6'4 and we both are fine, but we are rather lean.
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Old 12-17-2008, 07:37 PM
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SL55 AMG
The SL500 would be fine as a long distance cruiser but it will be completely different from the S2000 in character. The SL500 is by no means a sports car, it's a luxury coupe.

Forget any idea of manual shift - it was only ever offered on 300SL's which are close to 20 years old and were awful to drive. Forget the 600SL/SL600 too, expensive from every angle and heavy.

Go for the lowest mileage SL500 you can find.
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:31 AM
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A woman needs her toys!:98 SL500 for now
Originally Posted by RedMongoosE View Post
im 6'2, and my best bud is 6'4 and we both are fine, but we are rather lean.
He is far from lean. Really tough you both do not find it a bit tight? I think he feels cramped bacasue he usually drives one of our trucks.
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Old 12-18-2008, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by soldbyyou View Post
He is far from lean. Really tough you both do not find it a bit tight? I think he feels cramped bacasue he usually drives one of our trucks.
ah, see i learned how to drive in a 928 and a 500SL, so i am very used to the SL500! but i must say that it does have a lot less room than the new SL.
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:16 AM
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1997 SL500
In 2005 my 15yo son and I drove from St Louis to Key West to Palm Beach back to St Louis. A great long distance car, especially if you have orthopedic heated seats.

My car now has 137k miles on it with no problems or major non-routine maintenance. I buy Yokohama Avid 4 tires for their comfort and longevity.

My daily driver for the last 5 years. First a 1995 SL320 and now a 1997 SL500. I am the 2nd owner, bought it with 67k miles on it. Great car, but as has been stated, not a sports car, but a luxury coupe/roadster.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:50 PM
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2000 MR-S daily driver, 1997 SL600 weekend fun, 1999 ML430 tow vehicle
I routinely take my 1997 SL600 from Minneapolis, MN to Naples, FL in just about 24 hours

never had a single problem with it on the trips - just oil changes, and a few accumulators haha

I have 90K miles on it now and its just a fantastic car - my only longing is fuel econ to some extent as I get about 18mpg with it which is respectable knowing the speeds im doing in my red SL and better steering feel, other than that - R129 is the perfect car.
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:36 AM
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1996 SL320
I have driven my 96 SL320 on 2,000 mile return journeys (Between Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa) on 4 occasions in the last 2 years. I have also 'done' approx 800 miles on gravel/dirt roads including forging a 'donga' (Valley) with 18 inches of water flowing in it... - was not advisable but was necessary - I get a distinct feeling a ML would perhaps have been a better choice for heading off into deepest, darkest Africa.

The R129 doesn't even notice a smallish trailer if needed.

My SL is honestly one of the best touring cars I have driven, but would advise the hard top be installed to reduce cabin noise and enhance the feeling of interior space on longer journeys.
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Old 08-09-2016, 02:49 AM
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1991 300sl
Just purchased a' 91 300 SL in Philly and drove back to Chicago. I'm 6'2" I made stop on the way took me 14 hours. I was fine. The car was great
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Old 08-11-2016, 10:36 AM
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1991 Mercedes Benz 300 SL
I have driven to NY from Boca Raton, FL twice in my '91 300SL. It was great.
The second time I drove from FL to NY to Booth Bay Harbor, ME., then back to FL via Atlanta, GA. I was never disappointed and throrughly enjoyed the drive. I did have a problem with a rain leak on the driver's side corner where that top meets the header. Also the passenger side mirror continually kept adjusting itself. I had to have it disconnected in Atlanta.
On both trips I drove the Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway on the way home, had to get off the Blue Ridge the last time as we were driving through the remainder of last September's hurricane, Juaquin that blew several trees down on the roadway.
I love driving my 300 SL on long drives.
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Old 08-11-2016, 01:55 PM
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Totally cool. Did the boothbay trip from NY last summer.

Last edited by rich8566; 08-11-2016 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 08-13-2016, 02:31 AM
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2002 SL600 Silver Arrow, 2009 Smart, 1966 300SE Cabriolet
I've driven mine from Memphis to Phoenix and then from Phoenix to Portland and back. I'm 6'4 and was extremely comfortable the whole way.
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Old 09-09-2016, 11:08 AM
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94 SL 600, 98 993, 89 XJS Conv., 85 Daimlier Princess 16 Hybrid Lincoln 16 Chevy crewcab
Long distance in any vehicle is a matter, for me about the other side of the story. Who, why, where, make it!
If in the gull wing 2011 AMG with the seats that don't fit my old back, that could be torture with the wrong mix of the W's
Being in the Daimler Princess, as driver not so comfortable, but certainly cool!
Driving a 12 cylinder R129, comfortable, cool but wife hates top down so more hair prep time when arrived!
Everything has its price
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Old 10-11-2016, 05:21 PM
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'98 R129 SL500 Sport, '94 W124 Sportline
Firstly get rid of the Jap junk and welcome to a real car! I take my SL500 from Texas to California annually via NM and we routinely do 8 and 10 hours days with no discomfort. I keep the pano top on for trips: quieter and slightly better mpg. The SL is such a joy to drive, you will find it hard to wipe the smile off your face once you discover that.

4 hours is hardly even a trip really, just a short drive. Although in a Jap junker it would seem like a trek I guess. Edit: reliability? It is a Mercedes-Benz man, not the junk that you are used to. I have owned Benz's for the last 20 years and never had an issue. One caveat though: once you own one you can never go back to a lesser 'car', which is every other brand out there. Consider yourself warned.

Last edited by Roscoe52; 10-11-2016 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 12-20-2016, 03:47 PM
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1990 R129 300SL, Euro 1978 350SL Lorinser
I drive my 90 300sl to a from work everyday which is 90 miles each way. does the 180 mile round trip with no problem daily.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Roscoe52 View Post
Firstly get rid of the Jap junk and welcome to a real car! I take my SL500 from Texas to California annually via NM and we routinely do 8 and 10 hours days with no discomfort. I keep the pano top on for trips: quieter and slightly better mpg. The SL is such a joy to drive, you will find it hard to wipe the smile off your face once you discover that.

4 hours is hardly even a trip really, just a short drive. Although in a Jap junker it would seem like a trek I guess. Edit: reliability? It is a Mercedes-Benz man, not the junk that you are used to. I have owned Benz's for the last 20 years and never had an issue. One caveat though: once you own one you can never go back to a lesser 'car', which is every other brand out there. Consider yourself warned.
1. Original post is from 8 years ago.

2. The 'Jap junker' you refer to is a Honda. You may not know this, but they have a reputation for being reliable.

Try to keep up.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by 955TT View Post
1. Original post is from 8 years ago.

2. The 'Jap junker' you refer to is a Honda. You may not know this, but they have a reputation for being reliable.

Try to keep up.
Well the notification for this thread popped up in my e-mail... I was surprised to see it as it was so long ago.

Interesting to read the responses and thoughts from 8 years ago... esp with whats changed in my life since then.

For anyone that cares, I ended up marrying that girl... and we have a great life together.

I actually ended up keeping my s2000 (at the time) and bought a base model low mileage used Acura Integra for those drives. Fantastic gas mileage, fun, but zero luxury which was fine for the time being. I never did get an R129, though I still drool everytime I see one. Its on the bucket list for sure. I've had many vehicles since then including selling that s2000 (needed to downsize for a while through gradschool and her finishing up residency) and I missed it so much that within 2 years I went and bought another piece of 'jap junk' (2nd S2000)... and I can promise, that though I may try to 'add' a R129 to the 'stable', someone would have to pry the keys to my s2000 from my cold dead fingers... this one isn't ever going anywhere lol.

In any event, thank you all for the responses throughout the years. Like I said I loved the R129, but after my e90 BMW, I am just scared off of the cost of German car parts and repairs. At that time in my life, it just wasn't a risk I was willing to take.

I'll be doing something stupid soon now that shes officially out of med school and a fulltime physician at a local hospital and I finished up my Masters...
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