With a design that still looks great, the SL500s built between ’90 and ’02 have for the most part aged pretty well, especially later year models. Like most cars, each year it was in production meant a variety of improvements. Still, even though the 2002 was the last year produced, most people much more like the ’96-’98s During that period, the SL500s came with a quad-cam engine and one of the best transmissions through the ’90s.
This R129 body style SL500 was made from 1990 through 2002. It was called the 500 SL from 1990 – 1993.
They all have just about the same suspension regardless of year or package. The “sport” packages are just trim and tires, not suspension, engine or drivetrain. Some packages were called “AMG,” but lack the engines and real hardware of the 2003 and newer AMG model cars.
From 1990 – 1995 the SL500 used a boring hydraulic 4-speed transmission. It was boring because it didn’t usually downshift when punched. A much improved 5-speed electronic transmission was introduced in 1996 and used through today. The 5-speed automatic greatly improves the driving experience because it downshifts instantly, as well as adding a fuel saving overdrive. Continue Reading