Mercedes-Benz SL 320
ENGINE 3198cc/6-cyl/OHC POWER 221bhp@5600rpm TORQUE 232lb ft@3000rpm MAXIMUM SPEED 148mph 0-60MPH 8.4sec FUEL CONSUMPTION 21-27mpg TRANSMISSION RWD, five-speed auto MoT 12 months from sale ODOMETER 44,606 miles
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
The 3.2-litre straight-six fires up to a whispery idle. Moving away there’s no lurching, hesitation or deviation from what Sindelfingen intended. Performance is strong, with good torque – it feels just as quick as when new. The steering is featherlight, though it firms up properly in the corners when prodded. The suspension is compliant, with no strange rattles or vibrations. The five-speed automatic gearbox moves through its ratios seamlessly, and kickdown – though hardly new-car quick – performs in the correct manner, while slipping into sports mode sharpens the gearbox’s responses. The brakes are strong yet progressive too, with excellent pedal feel.
Given this car is now in its 20th year the overall presentation is excellent, with even paint and perfect shutlines. However, there are a few very minor blemishes. There’s a minor nick above the passenger’s side rear light, and slight marks around the passenger’s side hardtop lock. There’s also some minor lacquer peel around the rear nearside wheelarch, plus a smattering of stonechips on that elegant snout. The refurbished alloy wheels wear Michelin tyres, with an excellent level of tread. We couldn’t spot any fogging in the headlights, and all the rubbers are excellent. The glass sections are free from cracks too.
HOW’S THE INTERIOR?
The cabin is superb, with only light wear as befits a vehicle with so few yearly miles. A lot of Mercedes-Benz of this era have wrinkles or cracks in the centre console wood, but not here. The only evidence anyone’s sat in it for a prolonged period is some light creasing on the leather. All the control surfaces are free from marks or rubbing, and the carpets are in beautiful condition. This car lived its life in Jersey so it’s perhaps easy to see why the usual wear and tear that might come from longer journeys have passed this one by. The roof goes up and down perfectly, and there are no rips outside or inside.
UNDER THE BONNET
The engine bay is clean and well presented, and all the fluids are up to the maximum mark. It’s largely been serviced every year at Mercedes-Benz main dealers, the last stamp being from April 2018. Looking at the receipts, the last big expense came in 2016, for a fresh windscreen and new lower steering knuckle joint. It’s clear that this car’s been very well looked after.
THE CCW VIEW
The V8 R129 SLs have been growing in value strongly, and the six-cylinder cars have been following. That’s not surprising, considering that they’re quick enough and better on fuel. This one has had a gentle life so far, and has been treated to doting care when needed.
Interior seems hardly used and wood has lasted well.
Six-cylinder engine will be more frugal than the V8.