For 1991, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL was powered by a 24-valve dual-overhead cam six-cylinder engine displacing 180.8 cubic-inches and offering nearly 230 horsepower. The 300SL came with either a five-speed manual gearbox as standard or an optional five-speed automatic. Disc brakes could be found in both the front and rear. New for this year was the Adaptive Damping System (ADS).
After nearly two decades, the 560SL was replaced by the 300SL and 500SL in 1990. These new rear-wheel drive two-seater coupe/roadsters rode on a short and sporty wheelbase and came with both a folding top and removable aluminum hardtop. The 300SL had a 3-liter engine while the 500SL had a 32-valve 5-liter V8 rated at nearly 330 horsepower. An electro-hydraulic mechanism automatically adjusted the engine's valve timing, which provided more torque at midrange. There were airbags installed on both the drivers and passenger's side. Harkening back to the original 300SL design, the new model had small air-extractor vents located ahead of the door.
Both luxurious and sporty, the 300SL could race from zero-to-sixty in about 9 seconds. By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2012
The classic Type 107 Mercedes-Benz bodyshell was retired in 1989. It had served a long and prosperous life, lasting almost two decades and captured the hearts of enthusiast from around the globe. The new Type 129 body style was equally appealing and sleek in a modern idiom. The Type 129 body style was used for three different engine types: 6.0-liter V12, 5.0-liter V8 and 3.0-liter straight six. The 300SL was given a fuel-injected six that was available in both 12- and 24-valve versions, the latter being 41 horsepower more powerful at 231 BHP, the only available option in the United States, and offering improved performance with zero-to-sixty mph taking just 8.4 seconds. Top speed was in the neighborhood of 150 mph. The vehicles were so impressive that event the late Princess Diana replaced her XJS with a 500SL in 1992. This was the first time a member of the British royal family acquired a car not built in their own Kingdom.
The new SL luxury sports cars were designed to be leaders in their class and were lavishly equipped in the finest Mercedes-Benz tradition.
The Mercedes-Benz R129 model was the first convertible/roadster to offer the automatic roll-bar deployment in the event of rollover. The roll-bar could also be manually raised and lowered.
The 600SL was introduced in 1993 and was re-badged the SL600 in 1994. The SL320 replaced the 300 SL in the United States in 1995.
In 1994, the SL-Class was given a minor facelift including white turn signal indicators in the front, and changes to the tail lamps.
In 1996, the SL roadsters were given side airbags as standard equipment. The following year, a new optional top became available. Buyers had the choice of purchasing the SL-Class with the standard aluminum hardtop, a folding top, or the optional Panorama glass hardtop. Pricing for the SL 320 began at $79,500 while the SL 500 was priced at $89,900. The SL 600 sold for $123,200 and just 738 examples were built. By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2016
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