February 5, 2009 Leave a comment
The R129 was based on the shortened floorpan of the Mercedes-Benz W124 and featured many innovative details for the time, for instance electronically controlled damping (optional) and a hidden, automatically expanding roll-over bar. The R107’s rather dated rear diagonal swing axle gave way to a modern multi-link axle. The number of standard features was high, with electric action for the windows, mirrors, seats and hood.Initially, there were three different engines available, the 300 SL with 3L 12-valve straight 6 (190 PS (187 hp/140 kW) at 5700 rpm), the 300 SL-24 with a 24-valve version of said engine (231 PS (228 hp/170 kW) at 6300 rpm) and the 500 SL with 5L-V8 engine (326 PS (322 hp/240 kW) at 5500 rpm), joined in July, 1992 by the 12-cylinder 600 SL ((394 PS (389 hp/290 kW) @ 5200 rpm). While for the six-cylinder cars there was a choice of 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic, the V8 and V12 could only be ordered with the latter gearbox.In autumn 1993 Mercedes rearranged names and models. The 300 SL was replaced by the 24-valve SL 280 and SL 320 (with 2.8 L and 3.2 L I6 engines, only the 280 being available with a manual gearbox). SL 500 and 600 continued with their respective powerful engines.1995 saw a mild facelift concerning head- and taillights and several new features adopted as standard: side air bags, automatic climate control and ESP, among other things. HID headlights were newly optional, as was a full-glass hardtop.A second facelift, introduced in late 1998, comprised new external mirrors, 17“ wheels and new bumpers. Also new were the engines, 18-valve versions of SL 280 (204 PS (201 hp/150 kW) at 5700 rpm), SL 320 ((224 PS (221 hp/165 kW) at 5600 rpm) and SL 500 ((306 PS (302 hp/225 kW) at 5600 rpm). The V12 engine remained unchanged.Starting in 1994, Mercedes offered special SL models from time to time, like the Mille Miglia edition cars of 1994 or the SL edition of 2000.In North America, the SL followed the development of the European cars, except that not all engines were available there. The 1989 Mercedes SL base model was the 228 hp (170 kW) 3.0 L inline 6 300SL version, but it was the 322 hp (240 kW) 500SL (with a 5.0 L V8 engine) which made the most headlines. For model year 1993, the 600 SL was additionally introduced stateside.The SL320 replaced the 300SL in the United States in 1995, but the SL280 was not offered. The 6-cylinder SLs were dropped from the US lineup in 1998, leaving just the V8 and V12. The SL500 got the new 302 hp (225 kW) 5.0 L V8 for 1999.AMG had already offered an SL version while still independent, the AMG 500 SL 6.0 of 1991. After being taken over by Daimler-Benz, there were several AMG SL-models available through D-B dealers.The SL60 AMG was extremely rare. Sold from 1993 to 1998, it used a 6.0 litre V8 engine producing 381 PS (376 hp/280 kW) at 5500 rpm. AMG claimed a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) speed of 5.6 seconds. Its top speed was limited to 250 km/h (155 mph), but with the limiter removed, it was capable of approximately 185 mph (298 km/h). AMG later unofficially admitted that 0-60 mph was more like 5.0 seconds and the engine produced between 405-410 bhp.Also very rare was the SL73 AMG, sold through Mercedes-AMG in 1995, and offering the most powerful V12 engine ever put into an SL up to that time. After a brief hiatus, the SL73 was offered again from 1998 to 2001. The same 7.3 L V12 was later used by Pagani in the Zonda.The SL55 AMG was sold in the R129 bodystyle from 1998 to 2001 in limited quantity (5.4L V8, 354 PS (349 hp/260 kW) at 5500 rpm). It was the predecessor of the production R230 SL55 AMG sold later.Only about 300 cars in the SL-class were customized by AMG prior to the 2003 model year.2002 Silver Arrow EditionSpecial edition of 2002 SL 500/SL 600 made to celebrate the race car with the same name (from 1930). Two-tone interior leather on steering wheel and seats, special wheels, etc.
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