Saturday, January 16, 2016

Appreciation For Depreciation: 2007 Mercedes-Benz SL550

The Mercedes-Benz SL roadster is a magnificent piece of engineering that costs upwards to $85,000 when you head to your local dealer, but through the magic of depreciation, you can pickup a used one for a fraction of that cost.  Just for fun, we are going to see what the newest SL500 you can get for less than $20k. The best I could find is this 2007 Mercedes-Benz SL550 offered here on eBay for $20,950 buy-it-now or make-offer located in Mesa, AZ with 2 days to go.

 The R230 generation Mercedes-Benz SL-Class was the fifth generation of Mercedes-Benz's two seat grand tourer.  Production started for the 2003 model year, but the car received a major facelift in 2006 before losing the classic Benz quad headlight look in the 2008 facelift.  The new Benz product coming from the factory is certainly good looking stuff, but it doesn't really look much like a Benz from 20 years ago...unlike this 2007 model.

Under the hood of the SL550 is a 5.5 liter all-alloy DOHC V8 that puts out 382 horsepower and 391 ft-lbs of torque.  It doesn't have the maniac launch of an AMG version, but it shouldn't be as expensive to repair or prone to consuming drums of dino juice.

Of course you wouldn't expect to see a clutch pedal and s hifter in a modern Mercedes-Benz sports car, but the 7 speed automatic can be shifted via buttons attached to the wood rimmed steering wheel.   Read more about the 2007 changes in this Road & Track article, but just remember that less than 10 years ago this car cost almost $100k.

See a newer SL-Class for less than $20k? Maybe one with the ultra rare "granite" trim...made from real rocks.  Send it here:


  1. A former co-worker of mine bought one of these brand new for a 6 figure price tag, at a markup, right before the economy took a dump in 2007/8.

    About a year later, his fortunes (and sales numbers) reversing, he came to me knowing I'm a car guy and wanted me to go with him to the dealership because he thought they were "ripping him off" by only offering him $50k in trade. Since he bought his, the "new" model came out, and the dealer lot was crammed full of "old" models, many with more options and fewer miles than his, going for about $60k with a CPO warranty included.

    He still owed ~$100k. He was not about to take a $50k bath, so he said, and decided to ride it out until he was even-money.

    So he refinanced (his car...) until his payment became manageable. Right about this time, his warranty and dealer-provided maintenance expired and he began having to pay for the ~10-ish annual visits to the dealership this thing required to keep all of its systems a go. This eventually brought his monthly spend on the thing back up over that which he was pissing away on the payment before the refinance.

    Fate being a cruel mistress, as he was in the depths of his despair, he was let go by the company during our major downsize.

    He landed on his feet at a competitor, and last I heard he made it as close as he could bear to break-even on the thing and traded it for a CPO 2005-ish SLK.

    Some people value vanity and image over financial stability and vehicular reliability. This is the perfect vehicle for them.

  2. Finally a chance to comment on a car I know a (dangerously small) bit about! Long time listener/first time caller etc.

    I inherited one of these, albeit a 2008 model, in August of last year as a company car. Long story but it was either this which was sitting around idle, or get the company to buy a new Camry or something, so it was an easy decision to make at the time.

    The bad - RyanM wasn't kidding about the dealer visits and upkeep. In the ~6 months or so I've been running it, it's broken two engine mounts, requires new transmission mounts (although these are supposedly a "while we're there" type of thing), and the ABC pump is on its way out. Knowledgeable sources say that the engine/transmission mounts are annual or even more frequent, guess it has something to do with that big ol' V8 up front. It has also bent two rims on the passenger side and cracked the front driver's rim, but that is probably as much a product of the terrible roads up here in the north east. Oh and the radio takes about 60 seconds to come on each time I switch on the ignition - some quirk in the design perhaps?

    The good - when it's humming along, it is a lovely car in which to cover serious miles. The engine is smooth and strong and makes a refined if somewhat subdued note (would love to hear it with a proper exhaust). The ride is comfortable but can get sporting when the occasional corner rears its head, and the 7 speed transmission is excellent for its vintage. It is also very quiet and ruffle-free with the top down.

    Not that I drive this car for the attention at all, but based on the looks it gets, apparently it does appeal to a certain type and shall we say 'vintage' of lady too for what it's worth - I am guessing they expect me to be twice the age and a little more grey (although they won't have to wait too long for that!).

    Overall, a lovely car to drive, but best enjoyed on someone else's dime...

    1. ScottyW -- Wow, it sounds way more expensive for maintenance than I would have expected. Annual engine mounts sounds like they might be the visco-elastic type used in some Audis that might have a better damping and a good stiffness/NVH tradeoff (stiffer mounts means a more direct drivetrain response but at the cost of noise-vibration-harshness) cost an arm/leg and wear out on a regular basis. If it was your dime you could probably find a conventional rubber replacement, and if someone isn't engineering it today, likely they'll have something out in the near future. Sounds like a great car, if you ever want to have it featured as a DT Reader Ride just send an e-mail with some pics to
      Welcome to DT, and thank you for joining the discussion.

      DT Editor-in-Chief and Chief-of-Chiefiness

  3. I got to drive a couple Mercedes AMG products around a short autocross-like course a few years ago. While the SL had a lot of grip and took off like a rocket, it reminded me of the saying, "You can't make a race horse out of a pig, but you can make a very fast pig." The C-class felt lighter on its feet despite having two more doors and a useful backseat. Often, I consider a fast pig to be a good thing - if you take a big family sedan, half ton truck, or similar heavyweight drive like an SL, you've got a good thing going. But the SL's a two seater. If a car has two seats, it shouldn't feel like a fast pig; it should feel like a race horse.

  4. I always felt the SL was too big and the SLK was too small. It's been that way since the SLK came out... *sigh*

  5. The best "depreciation Merc" in my book is the S-Class. You can pick up an '07 S550 for less than $10K. First class quality and luxury too.


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