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2003→2009 Mercedes-Benz SL 500

2003→2009 Mercedes-Benz SL 500

2003→2009 Mercedes-Benz SL 500

Autumn 2001 will see Mercedes-Benz continue its long SL-Roadster tradition with the launch of a stylistically scintillating and technically sophisticated sports car. The new open-top two-seater is the fifth generation of this successful Mercedes series, a series which began its quest for world glory in 1954 with the legendary gullwing-door 300 SL. Since then, the Stuttgart brand has produced some 490,000 of these exclusive sports cars which dreams are made of.

A combination of state-of-the-art electronic chassis systems, which is unique to the world, enables the new SL to serve up an unparalleled, dynamic driving experience and, at the same time, provide maximum active safety. Making the SL a new breed of sports car.

Driving dynamics: SBC

Of all the technical milestones on display, it is Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC) the electro-hydraulic braking system that leads the way. Mercedes-Benz is the first automobile brand in the world to offer this system. SBC works together with ESP the proven electronic stability program and with Active Body Control (ABC) suspension. The latter reduces body roll to a minimum when cornering or braking. All of which means that the new SL-Class comes with a unique package of high-performance electronic control systems fitted as standard.

Sensotronic Brake Control pushes open the door to the future world of ‘by-wire’ systems. This technology communicates the driver’s commands electronically via cable, rather than mechanically or hydraulically, as has traditionally been the case. Among the foremost performance characteristics of SBC are the extremely fast build-up of pressure and the precise observance of driver and vehicle behaviour by a complex sensory system. If the driver switches his foot quickly from accelerator to brake pedal, SBC recognises the early signs of an emergency situation. With the help of the high-pressure reservoir, the system automatically raises the pressure in the brake lines and instantaneously presses the pads onto the brake discs, which can then spring into action with full force as soon as the brake pedal is pressed. This system can reduce emergency stopping distances by up to three percent.

Furthermore, variable brake force distribution means SBC can provide increased safety when braking around corners. And, thanks to its greater speed and precision, it also enhances the performance of the Brake Assist and the ESP electronic stability program.

Vario-roof: from roadster to coupe in just 16 seconds

Further proof of the sheer design quality of the new SL can be seen in the perfect integration of the newly developed vario-roof which communicates the same messages whether open or closed: uninhibited driving pleasure and unmistakable elegance.

The vario-roof transforms the sports car into an adventure car without compromise, combining the driving pleasure of an open-top roadster with the comfort of a Mercedes coupé. At the push of a button, the roof can be opened or closed within 16 seconds, during which time a new, intelligent tilting mechanism ensures that the roof components retract into the top section of the boot to save even more space. Under this is a luggage compartment with 235 litres of capacity (VDA measuring method). When the vario-roof is closed, the boot of the new SL-Class (including the luggage box in the spare wheel well) holds a total of 317 litres, 52 litres more than the predecessor model.

A glass version is planned from mid-2002, giving the vario-roof that typical roadster feeling of freedom. Not to mention a bright interior ambience by virtue of the glass expanse.

Engine: 306 hp and 0 to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds

A further guarantee for that dynamic sports car experience comes in the form of the powerful V8 engine. Squeezing 225 kW/306 hp and 460 Newtonmetres of torque from its five-litre capacity, it ranks as one of the most potent engines in this vehicle class, meets the strict EU-4 emissions requirements and propels the new SL 500 from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds. And with a fuel economy of 12.7 litres per 100 kilometres, the new model is on a par with its predecessor, despite a host of new comfort and safety equipment.

These fuel consumption figures are thanks in no small part to the SL sports car’s sophisticated, lightweight body: the bonnet, front wings, doors, boot lid, fuel tank partition and other components are made from aluminium, the most prominent lightweight component being the bonnet measuring some 1.40 metres in length. Never before has such a large and complex component been mass produced using aluminium alone. It is about 15 kilograms lighter than a comparable steel bonnet.

Another fuel-saving feature is the perfect aerodynamic form of the SL body. The cp value of 0.29 is more than nine percent lower than in the case of the predecessor model.

Interior: reminiscing in the Mercedes-Benz sports car tradition

Leather, fine wood and aluminium are the materials used to guarantee classic SL exclusivity and quality in the interior. Mercedes customers can choose from two types of leather, four high-quality trims and five interior colours. Shimmering matt chrome provides the surround for the four individual instruments in the SL cockpit, and adorns other lovingly crafted interior details. The cockpit immediately catches the eye by virtue of four individual instruments in the classic chronometer design, evoking images of the sports cars from days gone by. The automatic climate control continues this theme, sporting aesthetically-pleasing aluminium rings around its user-friendly controls.

The legend is well and truly alive. And the SL badge remains the mark of an automobile which, besides perfect technology, embodies two characteristic quality features above all: excitement and passion.

Story by DaimlerChrysler

In Detail

tags sl500, r230
submitted by Richard Owen
type Series Production Car
production years 2003 – 2009
built at Germany
price $ $ 85,990
engine Aluminum V8
position Front Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
valvetrain SOHC w/3 Valves per Cyl
fuel feed Microprocessor-Controlled Injection
displacement 4966 cc / 303.0 in³
bore 97 mm / 3.82 in
stroke 84 mm / 3.31 in
compression 10.0:1
power 228.2 kw / 306.0 bhp @ 5600 rpm
specific output 61.62 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 165.85 bhp per tonne
torque 460 nm / 339.3 ft lbs @ -1500 rpm
body / frame Unit Steel
driven wheels Front Engine / RWD
front tires 255/45 R 17
rear tires 255/45 R 17
front brakes Internally Vented Discs w/ABS, Hydaulic Assist & SBC
rear brakes Internally Vented Discs w/ABS, Hydaulic Assist & SBC
front wheels F 43.2 x 21.6 cm / 17 x 8.5 in
rear wheels R 43.2 x 21.6 cm / 17 x 8.5 in
steering Rack & Pinion w/Speed Sensitive Assist
f suspension A-Arms w/Electronic Springs, Telescopic Dmpers
r suspension Muli-Link w/Electronic Springs, Telescopic Dmpers
curb weight 1845 kg / 4068 lbs
wheelbase 2560 mm / 100.8 in
front track 1559 mm / 61.4 in
rear track 1547 mm / 60.9 in
length 4535 mm / 178.5 in
width 1815 mm / 71.5 in
height 1298 mm / 51.1 in
transmission 5-Speed Auto
gear ratios 3.60:1, 2.19:1, 1.41:1, 1.00:1, 0.83:1
top speed ~250 kph / 155.3 mph
0 – 60 mph ~6.2 seconds
0 – 100 mph ~15.2 seconds
0 – 1/4 mile ~15.0 seconds
drag 0.29 Cd


Auction Sales History


2004 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Sport – sold for $38,000 $97,490 when sold new in 2004. 13,415 original miles. Classic Mercedes Benz with ultra low miles. Factory sport package. AMG sport package. AMG 18″ wheels. Bi-Xenon headlamps. Full leather seating surface package. Wood/leather steering wheel. Wood/leather shift knob. Clean Car Fax. California smog certified August 2012. Fully functional and ready to enjoy.
Auction Source: 2012 Daytime Auction by Mecum