I dont 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 home-run. This 1997 SL500 is an outstanding example of Mercedes technological tour-de-force, and with just 56,254 original miles, its just getting broken-in. The SL has always been sleek, purposeful, and dignified, with a healthy dose of performance under the surface. In bright Imperial Red, this one is definitely an 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 15 years later. The doors close with precision usually reserved for cars with solid roofs, the gaps are so tight you cant 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 cars high-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. The imposing 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. 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 wouldnt complain about. Comfortable tan leather buckets with dual memory settings adjust in every possible direction, the wheel tilts and telescopes, and all that wood is real wood. It shows light wear, but for a car that has spent its life in the sun, theres remarkably little UV damage and the hides remain supple. 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, its black canvas that is fully automated, stowing itself beneath a hard cover behind the seats. Theres also a pop-up roll bar with wind blocker, as well as a matching hardtop. Nice! The 500 in SL500 refers to the 5.0 liter DOHC V8 that lives under the hood. Making a robust 322 horsepower, it catapults the roadster with the kind of effortless ease that you get from, say, the catapults on an aircraft carrier. Theres a V8 bellow from the exhaust that sounds like LeMans at night, and it turns out that the engine is virtually bulletproof in the real world. This one includes comprehensive maintenance records, and the care shows under the hood where its not only clean, but meticulous, further evidence of an owner 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. Powerful discs with ABS will keep you safe, and those big, chrome AMG wheels wear 245/45/17 Dunlops for impressive handling. Still every bit the status symbol it was when new, this SL is also quite a bargain. Call today! This vehicle is located in our Dallas/Fort Worth showroom. For more information, please call (817) 764-8000 or toll free (855) 877-2707.
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