Used Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (1989 - 2002) Safety & Reliability

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.
3.5 out of 5



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The SL provides high standards of safety for its age with driver, passenger and side airbags are fitted as standard. Newer models in the SL range also feature a clever passenger recognition system, which distinguishes whether seats are being occupied, preventing passenger airbags from activating if the seats are unused and saving on replacing needlessly inflated bags.

5 out of 5


The build quality is quite simply beyond criticism. SL-Classes very rarely break down or cause any hassle, and efficient German engineering is undoubtedly the reason for this. You would be hard pushed to find a similar combination of style and dependability elsewhere.

Car check problem points


No major faults known.


Neglect can lead to problems; get it checked by a M-B specialist if there are any question marks over service history.


Malfunctioning alarm and immobiliser systems; incorrect fitting or defective operation of the hood.