Used Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (1989 - 2002) Driving & Performance

Review by Parkers on
Last Updated: 27 Jan 2014
The Mercedes-Benz SL Class was once considered the ultimate soft-top for prestige, comfort and effortless touring. The body is smoothly styled - with cleanly sculpted panelling and a low-sloping nose - but looked a little clumsy beside the petite SLK in the late 1990s Mercedes line-up, and obese in comparison to the latest SL.
5 out of 5


Although the six-cylinders are fairly strong and relaxed, the V8s are the pick of the bunch; they fly down the open road without complaint or exertion, and looking mightily striking at speed. Conversely, the 380bhp, V12 engine is simply excessive, with a top speed of 155mph and bags of power that is rarely needed or used. Overall, the SL is never found wanting for brawn or pace.

2.5 out of 5


The V12's power tends to affect the steering, proving a real handful around bends at speed; needing tenacious concentration to keep it on the road. However, the other SLs handle superbly and grip without too much trouble, helped by their fine poise, heavy body and low centre of gravity. The SL-Class' sheer solidity means that it’s a stayer rather than a sprinter, but it’s still great fun to drive – as all sportscars should be.