Pros: "10 mins. on the highway and you're hooked for life"
Cons: "I can only afford one."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned a BMW, Corvette, and a 911SC. This car puts them all to shame. Incredible power with with the handling agility of a F-14. (Retired Marine Corps fighter pilot) WOW! WOW! WOW! There's simply not enough adjectives to describe this machine."
"I bought this car 5 years ago with 217,000 miles sight-unseen off the internet. I always wanted a mid-90s SL but Im not made of money. Since the milage was high, I got it for a bargain. This is truely a gentlemans sports car. I get upto 22mpg in town. The only issue I have is getting in and out of it. Once in, its rides like a dream. Mechanically I have had very few issues and most I can fix myself (new starter, new ignition coils). Until 240,000 miles, that was it. Then the engine control module fried, but that was only $400. Dont fret high mileage on this car. Everything (except the heated seats) still work."
Cons: "cost of servicing (if you don't do it yourself)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought this car - a 1996 SL500 - in January and it is now August 2013. It was a 1 owner but in the last 3-4 years the car was neglected other than maybe oil changes.
So I have had to fix things I didn't think would need repairing - but I am still happy with the car. I think the styling is better than the subsequent SLs - it is a head turner. Within the 12 years of production were a lot of changes.
For this year they used a radio made by Alpine - and the LCD screen is known to get black after just a few years. Replaced it with the Becker unit used in the equivalent SL - it looks identical and plugs right in.
The M119 V8 - used until 6-98 when the M113 was substituted, is a hot rod. I get 20 in town and 23 on the road, the same as my old 6 cylinder 300E. Tap the accelerator to pass on the freeway and you are going 90.
1996 was the first year of OBD II - they got rid of the distributors and went electronic (cylinders have individual ignitors)
As someone else mentioned though if you have to pay a shop to do everything it can be expensive.
One thing I just replaced were some plastic "oiler tubes" that plug into the heads and feed the lifters of (I presume) the intake cams. The factory went cheap - substituted plastic for aluminum in 1993 and the plastic will break over time. The aftermarket has aluminum ones - I went to a junk yard and pulled 16 aluminum ones from a 1992 E420.
The mirror - one of the first to incorporate electronics (rear view) keeps tension with a flimsy plastic clip that is known to break and become wobbly. Mercedes doesn't sell just the clip - the mirror is $1K. But there are DIY solutions on the net.
My engine, the M119 (the earlier V8) still uses less than a qt of oil in (so far) 6,000 miles.
I could go on and on but I would recommend the V8 for value (gets about the same performance as the V12 but easier to service) - the I6 had a known problem of head gasket failures due to the oil passage being to close to the coolant - and it gets only negligibly better mileage
The roof hydraulic system has 12 cylinders whose O-Rings tend to leak over time - the Aftermarket (Top Hydraulics) designed a better material -
1996 was also the first year of their 722.6 automatic transmission - 5 speeds - it has a special ATF that the factory thought would never need changing. Although experience in the field showed that clutch packs still wear and if not changed in 100,000 miles or so th3 transmission is shot - so even though this isn't on the factory's official service schedule, change it every 60,000 miles (costs $200-$300).
I get comments on this car all the time - the last of the classic SLs with the removable hardtop.
But shop carefully and use Carfax - because many are so cheap a lot have been "ridden hard and put away wet""
Pros: "Very fast very fun to drive and its a Mercedes :)"
Cons: "Exspensive to repair, up keep on oil & maintenence"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Power ? eats vettes all day long. Everything in this car is power and for an original sticker price of 92 grand I expect no less. Put the top down with a touch of a button and the roll bar up and the heads never stop turning, what a great feeling at least in Florida to drive along the coast in a MERC drop top. Very expensive to repair and maintain but it's a Mercedes and you get what you pay for. Oil changes are very expensive but I do them myself for around 100 bucks for oil and filter. 0w-40 Euro formula is what you should use. Gas mileage is not great, around 15 MPG average. CD player is garbage and should be replaced with an aftermarket. Brakes are expensive as well but very easy to do yourself. other then the few odds and ends as any other car it is a real pleasure to drive and the top speed is incredible with no limiters :) the engine is bullet proof just keep up with maintenance and oil changes. You will not be sorry to own this car but do yourself a favor and find a good one with low miles and no problems. Always check the convertible for leaks as it is a hydraulic system. keep your battery up to date as it powers everything even when the car is off and if it goes dead or you disconnect it , you will need the radio code, just a tip for everyone, Mercedes dealers have to give you a new code if you don't know it or lose it for free as long as you own the car, even if you just purchased it second hand. Al free of charge and it only takes a few minutes."