Tag Archives: Mercedes Benz SL550

Dave Knows Cars Road Trip Video! 2012 Mercedes Benz SL550 Trip to The Dells, WI – Driver Impressions – Ya Mon!


On Wednesday of this week I drove 3 1/2 hours from Minneapolis to The Dells, WI… about the halfway point between Minneapolis and Chicago, to meet the new owner of this lightly used (just over 5,000 miles) 2012 model Mercedes Benz SL550. It’s the longest single stint I’ve put in behind the wheel of an R230 series Mercedes-Benz SL (2003 – 2012). The 2012 model is the last of that series, the most highly evolved of that series, and an absolute joy to drive. Click the YouTube screenshot above or think link to watch the Road Trip Video! (commentary begins at about second 20).

The car in the Sears Imports photo booth a few days before my road trip. AMG 19″ wheel package, black exterior, Nappa Leather Interior.

Despite what some people say, what might be printed in the marketing material, these aren’t really ‘sports’ cars in the true sense of the word, not like a Porsche 911 is a sports car or a Ferrari 360 Modena is a ‘sports’ car… sports cars are brutal, uncomfortable things, impractical for every day use, but absolute perfection on a race track. The Mercedes-Benz SL is a grand touring car… it handles beautifully and has plenty of power, but it’s a much more civilized machine. You can get in this car and tool around town at 25 – 35 mph comfortably or you can get on the highway and cruise at 75 mph all day in complete comfort.

You can adjust the Active Body Control suspension to be extremely tight and responsive if you want to really take to the twisties, you can use the steering wheel mounted shifter paddles if you want to decide when to shift gears (even though you’ll never be as quick or smooth as the computer controlled automatic transmission in Sport mode). This is a car to throw an overnight bag in the back of and cruise to a vineyard, the lake house or wherever else you might want to go.. the further away, the better.

The 3 1/2 hours I had behind the wheel of this car were comfortable and fun. I tried to find excuses to get off the highway, just to have another chance to apply the gas, liberally, as I cruised up the on ramp to re-join traffic. I kept the cruise control set at 74mph the whole time, a brisk pace, but I certainly wasn’t the driving faster than everyone on the highway. As I would cruise up on someone going slower, in the fast lane, they would see this low slung, black car with huge the huge three pointed star in the grille, bi-xenon headlamps on and immediately get over in the right lane… even though I was only going a couple of miles per hour faster, I think the car is perceived by other drivers to be going a lot faster than it really is. It is certainly capable of a lot faster… it just looks fast when you see it, but it’s the smoothness of the car that’s so amazing. Heavy and steady as you cruise down the highway.

Starting with the 2009 model year, SL class cars got all the latest electronics from Mercedes-Benz along with a cosmetic refresh. Sitting in the driver’s seat of a 2009 and newer you can’t help but notice the bulges in the aluminum hood, they do add a mystique to the view out the front windshield, and, I suppose, do something for the airflow over the hood, as Mercedes-Benz engineers never do anything without a real functional purpose behind it.

Interior enhancements for 2009 and newer cars include the hard drive based system that runs the navigation, music register, iPod connector, voice control… all the latest stuff, so, I hooked up my iPod, put on some Bob Marley, activated the Harmon/Kardon Logic7 Surround Sound system and daydreamed about green little Caribbean islands, I just watched  a great documentary on PBS about the history of Reggae in Jamaica, so I have been on a bit of a Marley kick the past few weeks.

Nappa leather interior… a great combination with the black exterior.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about this SL road trip was that I was easily achieving just shy of 25mpg with the cruise control set at 74mph. The 382HP engine was much more fuel efficient than I expected in real life. The EPA window sticker says you’ll get considerably less than 25mpg on the highway in this car. While going through a couple of construction zones I reset the cruise control to 60mph… average fuel economy went to 26.2 mpg at that point… so decent gas mileage is certainly possible.

Notice the 74mph cruise control setting on the left side, 24.8mpg average on the right, 62mph average (due to some exits and on ramps).

So, I met my customer from Highland Park, IL at a McDonald’s restaurant in The Dells, WI where he bought me a cup of coffee and I laid out the paperwork for the transaction. He signed everything, gave me his check and the keys to the 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL450 he was trading in… this was my ride back home to Minneapolis. The GL450 is certainly a comfortable ride, safe, great visibility… but it’s quite a change from teh fighter plane like handling and low seating position of the SL…. it took some getting used to on the return trip.

We have already seen the first of the R230 cars fall below the $30,000 mark on the used car market. Since the 2013 models have already been release, the new body style, we will soon see the R230s drop in price even further from where they are today. They are very modern cars, light years ahead of the R107 models and much more advanced than even the R129 series SLs from the 1990s and early 2000s. As my customer and new found friend from Highland Park left the McDonald’s parking lot with a wave and a smile I thought… everyone ought to own a Mercedes-Benz SL at some point in their lives… and if you’re going to get one… the R230 series are some of the best.

2013 Mercedes Benz SL with Magic Sky Control Arrives at Sears Imports Ahead of 2012 Minneapolis St. Paul Twin Cities Auto Show!

2013 Mercedes SL Minneapolis

Here it is… the long awaited 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL! The 2013 SL was unveiled to the public at the North America International Auto Show in Detroit last month, this particular 2013 SL550 was delivered to Sears Imports Mercedes Benz this morning to be cleaned up and made ready for the 39th Annual Twin Cities Auto Show.

In my opinion, the new 2013 looks better in person than it does in photos. I’m never one to LOVE a new body style as soon as I see it, it took me months to get my head around the new body style E class that was released back in the Summer of 2009 as a 2010 model, but this car looks great in the flesh.

Minneapolis Auto Show 2013 Mercedes SL

Automotive writers and everyone else normally don’t like the new model of anything either, people don’t like change… but have the Mercedes-Benz designers ever screwed up an SL? Nope, and they aren’t going to start now. The new SL, by design, bares quite a resemblance to the SLS AMG Gullwing. The hood looks and feels quite similar, the upright, vertical grille with huge Mercedes-Benz star is the direction they’ve taken all the models… from the SLK to the new M class. The hood has fins and an array of compound curves that look similar to the SLS, the car looks wicked, just standing still. The side vents on the front quarter panels, are not only functional cooling ducts and a nod to the SLS AMG, but also a nod to the car that started it all, the 300SL of the 1950s.

New Mercedes 2013 SL550
Side vents go all the way back to this 300SL roadster and its contemporaries.

The front headlights on the new 2013 SL have a yellow outline over the top of them, not unlike the ‘eye brows’ you see on some Audi vehicles these days. Daytime running LED lamps are incorporated into the lower front bumper.

2013 Mercedes SL sears Imports

The engine is the real heart of this Bavarian beast, the new 4.7-liter, turbo-charged, V8 produces 429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, 0 – 60mph comes up quickly in just 4.5 seconds, top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

2013 Mercedes SL550

The interior has a whole new look and feel, it’s quite similar to the SLS, from the transmission selector to the aluminum vent openings to the back lit Bang & Olufsen tweeters on the dash, the new SL doesn’t fall far from the SLS tree on many levels.

2013 Mercedes SL at Minneapolis Auto Show

This is a classic Mercedes SL color combo, a great looking red leather interior on this car.

2013 Minneapolis Auto Shwo Mercedes SL

2013 Mercedes SL roadster

The new 2013 SL is larger in every dimension than the outgoing model, yet it sheds 175 lbs. from its total weight, largely due to its almost completely aluminum construction.

Mercedes Magic Sky Control SL

There are a number of new options available on the new 2013 SL, one of the most talked about leading up to the car’s introduction has been the Magic Sky Control roof option, currently available on the new SLK. While a glass panorama roof has been available since the detachable hard top days of the R129 SL models, this is the first SL model to offer the new Magic Sky Control option. You’ve basically got a glass panel in the retractable hard top, a lot like the regular panorama roof, but there’s a button inside, near the map lights… when you press this button, light blocking crystals in the glass re-align, tinting the glass panel to keep bright sun out, if you don’t want it in… I tried it this morning on this car… and it seems like magic indeed.

2013 Mercede SL trunk space

I haven’t pulled out my tape measure or actually read the specific dimensions, but this trunk looks larger than the outgoing model’s. There is plenty of room for a couple of overnight bags and even golf clubs in the back.

You can see this car, in person at the 39th Annual Twin Cities Auto Show being held at the Minneapolis Convention Center starting this Saturday, March 10, running through Sunday March 18th. I will be working the show, in the Mercedes Benz booth on Saturday the 10th from 4:00pm to 10:00pm… come by and say hello!

2003 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Magma Red w/ Just Over 41,000 Miles $28,900!

used Mercedes SL500

2003 SL500, Magma Red with Charcoal leather interior, 41,315 original miles… this one is ready for Spring. This SL has had several owners and shows in excellent condition. It is a well equipped car, the first year for this fifth generation SL, the R230. This car is equipped with multi contour seats as well as heated and ventilated seats, Navigation (if a bit outdated by now) and a wonderful 5 liter engine under the hood, it’s also got chrome Mercedes-Benz wheels.

2003 Mercedes SL500

The interior is extremely clean, it’s a non smoker car in great condition, inside and out… but especially the inside, it has clearly been well cared for. It has been regularly maintained by Mercedes-Benz dealers here in the Twin Cities and is in excellent running condition. The complete option list and original MSRP of the car is pasted below for your reference as well as a photo of the odometer.

2003-SL500 prices

Anytime a low mile SL is priced below the $30,000 mark it doesn’t last long sitting on our show room floor. Given that we’re rolling into Spring chances are this one won’t last long either. Asking price is $28,900, Sears Imports stock# 20210.

2003-SL500 mercedes prices


Thank You, SOLD 3/29! One Owner 14k Mile Midnight Blue 2006 SL500

‘Tis the season for the SLs to come out of the wood work here in Minnesota. This Midnight Blue 2006 SL500 was traded in yesterday for a pre owned Mercedes CLK… the guy just had to have four seats in his Summer fun car. This is a no stories, one owner car with a clean history and clean Carfax vehicle history report. I have included a copy of the original window sticker below for your reference, it was $100k+ when new. You can own it for less than half that number today.

The car is nicely optioned and with the rare Midnight Blue color, it’s a non metallic blue that’s almost black, the interior is stone (light tan). It’s got drive dynamic seating as well as heated and cooled seating surfaces. Satellite radio, Keyless Go and a bunch of other features. Stock# M1123B has been assigned to this vehicle. Buy it today for $42,998.

Don’t keep waiting… get one of these early Spring season super low mile trade ins before everyone is thinking about them.

Customer in Georgia Happy with Transaction

2008 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Roadster shipped to Georgia.

I had the pleasure of working with a gentleman in Georgia on this Certified Pre Owned Mercedes-Benz SL550 transaction in December. Buying a $60,000 + vehicle sight unseen takes a particular amount of faith. I was flattered to read his thoughts regarding the transaction once he received the car via enclosed transport.

He wrote this in these kind words in the ‘comments’ area of the Mercedes-Benz customer satisfaction survey he received via email after the transaction had been completed.

“It must be noted that David Tobin was OUTSTANDING. I come from the Auto Industry with 45 years of not only dealership background but that of OEM Corp. When we put together the Saturn project and described what an outstanding sales person would be like, David fits the bill to a tee. If he lived closer I would most likely offer him a job within one of our companies. The car was just like David described it, the good and the bad points.

You run a very impressive dealership and you should be proud.”  

I have actually spoken with this customer several times since his car was delivered to his home, about the car business, cars in general, even this blog. A nice guy I hope to work with again.