"This is the fourth convertible I've owned, and it's by far the stiffest, with no cowl shake whatsoever with the soft top up or down. My 1988 SL was good also, but it definitely had a bit of body flex.
The low-end torque is unbelievable, and the car keeps pulling to illegal speeds without drama or effort. The brakes are also fantastic, and the car corners well, especially considering its weight and its comfortable ride.
The interior is richly-appointed, with first-rate materials, wood everywhere, and supple, perforated heated leather seats. The car feels expensive. My only real complaint is the lack of a traditional glovebox in my 1998 model.
Note that the 1990-1998 SL500s are 32-valve 322HP motors and the 1999-2002 models are the cheaper 24-valve 302 HP motors.
No problem fitting two golf bags in the trunk--very unusual in 2-seat convertibles! (Two bags don't fit in the 2003+ model SLs due to the folding hardtop.)
Make sure to get the xenon lights. It's a rare option but worth it."
"The only reason I scored the value category with a 3 is because it is a shame that a car like the SL500 (MSRP: $96K new in 1999) is only worth about $25K now in 2007. The car in my opinion delivers everything it promises; great handling, performance, and classic sports car appeal. There is nothing like driving a high performance Mercedes Benz."
"I've always owned convertible Corvette's prior to my SL55 AMG, but there is really no comparison. The SL55 at 493hp is as fast as the Corvette and functions as a very quiet coupe or in 16 seconds a beautiful convertible. It's everything you need it to be - hot rod, luxury car, convertible, etc. Great sound system. convert the phone to bluetooth and the car is perfect. Buying an '04/'05 can save a lot of money from a new one at $130,000 plus."
Cons: "If you are looking for cons, turn to other cars."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"From the day I purchased my SL500 new in 1999, and up to this day, NOTHING has changed about my car's performance, reliability, quality, durability! I am AMAZED as to how much Mercedes put into the building of their cars, that I would NEVER consider anything else! As of two weeks ago, I purchased a new S550 4Matic with a P3 Package, and again I stand in awe of the silence when sitting in my cabin! I am so AMAZED with Mercedes that I convinced my brother to buy a new C300 4Matic based on how WELL a Mercedes 4Matic performs on any road condition - in Minnesota, during winter, a four wheel drive is not an option! We shall be picking up my brother new C300 this week, and I firmly believe from what I have experienced with Mercedes Benz Automobiles, no matter the Class (C,E,S,SL, etcetera), Mercedes CONTINUES to build each automobile as if each one were based on being the Flagship Benz!"
Cons: "Cost of certified mechanics to do basic upkeep."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned this car for over 10 years. Extremely reliable, as long as you do basic maintenance. Very smooth to drive and grips the road. Tons of safety features, including side air bags and a roll bar that automatically goes up when needed. Only compalints are wishing the CD player were up front (not thought of in 1997?) and cost to get certified mechanic to do basic work."
"A clasic Mercedes, that just seems to get better with time. Has everything you need, style, power, brand, fun to drive., turns heads, practical (can hold 2 full set of golf clubs) reasonable maintenance."
"I bought the 55 AMG used. What a beautiful car, and what a great engine. I enjoy driving it more than my '05 Gallardo, which is only 27 hp more for over 100k more money. Never thought I'd buy an SL before I drove one.
I've heard of software and on-board computer glitches with the SL, but I've been lucky. Made sure to buy an extended 3yrs/36000 mi warranty for peace of mind.
The 2nd best feature is the retractable hardtop.
For the money, you cannot get such a great combination of luxury, power, handling and looks.
My only gripe is the antiquated CD based Nav. system, and they do not retro-fit with a newer system.
All in all, a car I would recommend."