I don't envy the Mercedes engineers whose job it was to replace the
venerable R107 line of SL roadster, but when the all-new R129
showed up, it was an unequivocal homerun. This 1997 SL320 roadster
is an outstanding example of Mercedes' technological tour-de-force,
and with just 82,938 original miles, it's barely broken-in. With a
clean Vehicle History Report, 2-owners, and a powerful 3.2L DOHC
Inline 6 motor with a lot of life left in it, this beautifully
preserved import convertible might be the best bang for your buck
on our site right now.
The SL has always been sleek, purposeful, and dignified, with a
healthy dose of performance under the surface. In bright Polar
White, this one is definitely a luxurious extrovert and remains an
imposing symbol of affluence anywhere in the world. It was hugely
expensive when it was new, and with typical Mercedes-Benz
standards, fit and finish is beyond reproach, even 24 years later.
The doors close with the German precision that's expected from the
world's best built cars, the gaps are so tight you can't even fit a
fingertip in them, and with the color-matched bumper and rocker
panel moldings, it has a very sporty demeanor indeed. Careful
maintenance has preserved this car's high driver-quality paint,
particularly on the nose and behind the wheel wells where the usual
marks of hard use are most apparent, but largely absent here aside
from a few small imperfections. The imposing horizontal grille with
three-pointed star is almost as good as a plow for getting slower
traffic out of your way, and from the rear, the distinctive fluted
Mercedes-Benz taillights are a nod to the previous generation.
There's a removable hard top in place that transforms the car into
the sporty coupe you see in our pics, along with a convertible top
that folds down easy for instant open-air fun.
Where the R129 got a big upgrade is inside, where the formerly
austere and basic SL interior transformed into a world-class
driving environment that even hedonists wouldn't complain about.
All-day comfortable beige leather power buckets with dual memory
settings adjust in every possible direction, the wheel tilts and
telescopes, and all that dark wood is in fact real. It shows light
wear, but for a car that has spent its life showing off in the sun,
there's remarkably little signs of use or UV damage and the hides
remain supple enough to nap in. Everything was standard, from power
windows and locks to automatic climate control, and the powerful
AM/FM/CD stereo is powerful enough to be heard at triple-digit
speeds with the top down. And speaking of the top, it's canvas that
is fully automated, stowing itself beneath a hard cover behind the
seats. There's also a pop-up roll bar with wind blocker, as well as
a matching white hardtop that's in great shape. Nice!
The 320 in SL320 refers to the 3.2L liter DOHC M104 Straight-Six
that lives under the hood. Making a robust 228 horsepower when new,
it catapults the roadster with the kind of effortless ease that you
get from, say, the catapults on an aircraft carrier. There's a
great Mercedes Straight 6 bellow from the exhaust that sounds
almost like LeMans at night, and it turns out that this legendary
engine is virtually bulletproof in the real world. Thanks to low
mileage and conscientious care under the tutelage of 2-owners since
new it's running great, and the care shows under the hood where
it's not only clean, but meticulous, further evidence of owners who
treated this car as more than mere transportation. The 5-speed
automatic transmission snaps to attention with the poke of the
throttle, and the all-new multi-link suspension is a vast
improvement over the old swing axle setup. Responsive power
steering and powerful 4-wheel discs with ABS will keep you safe,
and those stock 16-inch wheels wear 225/55/16 Yokohama performance
radials for impressive handling.
Beautifully preserved and turn-key ready to dominate for years to
come, this may be the best bang for your buck under $15k you'll
ever come across, Still every bit the status symbol it was when
new, this SL roadster is a screaming bargain that's ready to go
have some fun. Call today!