The luxury roadster in Mercedes lineup adds TeleAid and free scheduled maintenance to its lengthy list of standard features. TeleAid operates on its own cellular phone system to summon emergency help which is automatic if an airbag deploys to call Mercedes roadside assistance and to track a stolen vehicle. The free scheduled maintenance lasts for the warranty period of four years/50,000 miles.
With the two-seat SL, Mercedes competes in the upper echelon of the roadster market against such cars as the Aston Martin DB7, Jaguar XK8 and Porsche 911.
Though the current model was introduced for 1990, it is still recognizable as part of Mercedes family of more contemporary cars. A removable hardtop either aluminum or heat-reflecting glass is optional, and the standard power convertible top is entertaining to watch in action. Push a single button on the console and the side windows lower, the top releases from the windshield and it folds into a storage well at the rear, where it is covered automatically by a hard tonneau.
A roll bar mounted behind the seats deploys when sensors detect an impending rollover.
Fragrant leather upholstery, wood accents, 10-way power and heated seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers and a Bose audio system are a few of the SLs standard features.
Under the Hood
Two engines are available: The SL500, with a base price of $82,600, has a 302-horsepower V-8, and the SL600, with a base price of $128,950, has a 389-hp V-12. With both, a five-speed automatic transmission directs power to the rear wheels.
Traction control, Electronic Stability Program (anti-skid technology) and antilock brakes are standard. The SL also has side-impact airbags mounted in the doors.