R230 SL350 Buying advice (mis-posted in Performance Lounge)

ToMegaTherion

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Dropping this in General as I think I 'wrongly' posted it in Performance Lounge earlier. Sorry!

R230 SL350 buying advice

ToMegaTherion

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Hi there - newb/lurker here. Posting now because I fancy losing my 07 CLS320CDI in favour of an R230 SL350, primarily because the kids have gone and our beloved 2nd city is going CAZ on 1st June.

I confess I'm a nervous buyer. I've had the CLS for about six years and it's been great (Airmatic and all). I'm from back in the days of all-dealers-are-crooks (my first car was a '91 Alfa33 Cloverleaf Permanent Four... so I know what pain feels like).

So, in short... I'm looking at an 09 SL350 at screen price 11950, down on the south coast. It has all the toys and given it's on 19" I'm assuming it's the sport package. It's an 82k miler with a pleasing private plate and - dealer claims - FSH (only part MB I think). It's only had 2 previous keepers. It's MOT'd without advisories. There is some small area of lacquer peel to the driver side door, I'm told... and I'm not sure what to make of that. Is it evidence of (bodged) repair? Or to be expected in a car of this age?

Not sure if forum rules allow me to provide a link to a popular auto trading website, where the vehicle is prominently displayed.

Any thoughts and advice greatly appreciated. I've always wanted an SL, so I don't want to screw this one chance up or waste a long journey to the southern reaches of this fair isle
 

Dickster

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Welcome. Post a link, I don’t think that’s a problem. There are plenty of R230s for sale so take your time.

They are complex cars with plenty to go wrong, so check that everything works as it should, but my main concern would be the roof operation. I don’t think the 350 has ABC, otherwise that’s the other area.

I’ve owned my SL for two years now and absolutely love it.
 
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Dickster

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Perhaps it does have ABC.


Make sure you check on the service records for regular ABC maintenance. At that mileage the pulsation dampers/accumulators will need changing.
 
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ToMegaTherion

ToMegaTherion

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Welcome. Post a link, I don’t think that’s a problem. There are plenty of R230s for sale so take your time.

They are complex cars with plenty to go wrong, so check that everything works as it should, but my main concern would be the roof operation. I don’t think the 350 has ABC, otherwise that’s the other area.

I’ve owned my SL for two years now and absolutely love it.
Cheers! This is the car:

 

Dickster

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That’s a lovely spec and colour combo. Definitely worth checking out. If it were me I’d drive it and see how it feels. Give it a good look over and check everything works. Get someone to do it for you if you are not confident.

Check that the details they’ve provided are accurate. Number of owners, history backed up by invoices.

Negotiate a snag list for all found faults. How they deal with it will be a good indicator of how genuine they are.

ultimately i ask myself, would I regret it if I walked away...... good luck and keep us posted 👍
 
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ToMegaTherion

ToMegaTherion

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A user over on the Performance Lounge post I made has pointed out the relatively high mileage (82k). Has anyone here got any experience with "higher mileage" SLs? At my price range, I think I will have to suck it up and accept that I'd be very lucky to get anything substantially below the 80k mark.

I'm looking for the car to see me through 4 or 5 years of main car use, though I'll only put an average of 5k per year on it. Ideally I'd like some residual value in it for when the inevitable switch to electric happens.

Thoughts appreciated! Thanks!
 

Dickster

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There’s no guarantee of residual values. However, the mileage would not concern me if I were only going to be doing 4-5k pa.

I don’t consider 80k high mileage for that age.
 

ToeKnee

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On the 230 the roll bar is controllable by a pair of buttons below the roof switch. So it can be up or down at your whim.
 
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ToMegaTherion

ToMegaTherion

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OK, cheers. I checked the MOT history of that vehicle online and it has frequent fails on tyres and suspension. I'm wondering if it's a sign it's been ragged. Nice spec (Grand Edition AMG) otherwise.
 

Dickster

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Nice spec. It’s odd for the roll bar to be up but as said it’s just a button to operate. I should have said before one thing I do look for, rather than low mileage, is low number of owners. Five is a lot for me, a change every couple of years. Perhaps that’s why the mot history is sketchy.

A lot of adverts state full history but what does that mean? I always ask for fully stamped book with invoices to back up work done - that’s important. No invoices equals no history.
 
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ToMegaTherion

ToMegaTherion

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Thanks for all the hints + tips, everyone. I drove am 09 350 with sport pack today and it seemed pretty sweet, so I put some money down. Coming from the CLS320CDI, I realise I need to get used to to petrol engines again. The v6 makes a great noise, but acceleration seems moderate given the effort it's (audibly) putting in. On paper it's only a little faster to 60 than the CLS (which has near 100bhp less)... so there must be a way of driving the SL to get the best out of it. Suggestions welcome!

The car needs one or two bits of prep, so delivery next week or so.

Of course, I spent the drive back home agonising about things I forgot to check. I don't think it was anything major (roof seemed good, engine bay clean, no suspension noise, all kit seemed operational).

One thing I forgot to check... the rear parktronic! I couldn't see an indicator for it in the mirror. The car has parktronic at the front, so I automatically assumed it has it on rear too. There appear to be sensors.

How does the rear indicator work on the r230?

Cheers again!
 

Dickster

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Nice one. Photos please! 😁

Can’t comment on the power of the 350, although I am surprised at your comments.

Also, the parking sensor warning light is behind the seat on mine so you see it in the mirror, are you sure it’s not there ?
 

Cabriomat

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Drive it with the paddles or gearstick in manual mode and it will drive like a totally different car.
 

oldguy57

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Thanks for all the hints + tips, everyone. I drove am 09 350 with sport pack today and it seemed pretty sweet, so I put some money down. Coming from the CLS320CDI, I realise I need to get used to to petrol engines again. The v6 makes a great noise, but acceleration seems moderate given the effort it's (audibly) putting in. On paper it's only a little faster to 60 than the CLS (which has near 100bhp less)... so there must be a way of driving the SL to get the best out of it. Suggestions welcome!

The car needs one or two bits of prep, so delivery next week or so.

Of course, I spent the drive back home agonising about things I forgot to check. I don't think it was anything major (roof seemed good, engine bay clean, no suspension noise, all kit seemed operational).

One thing I forgot to check... the rear parktronic! I couldn't see an indicator for it in the mirror. The car has parktronic at the front, so I automatically assumed it has it on rear too. There appear to be sensors.

How does the rear indicator work on the r230?

Cheers again!
Sounds great, but I'm surprised at your comment on lack of "go". Ours is a 2004, and I'm constantly surprised how rapid the car is. Should have gone for the SL65 if you wanted extra go! :D
 
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ToMegaTherion

ToMegaTherion

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Sounds great, but I'm surprised at your comment on lack of "go". Ours is a 2004, and I'm constantly surprised how rapid the car is. Should have gone for the SL65 if you wanted extra go! :D
SL65 out of my league, unfortunately 😊... I honestly think my impression was just down to the change from the turbodiesel that delivers all the grunt low down. The V6 spins up real fast and it seems to love to rev (reminded me of my Alfa in a way). And like all mercs, you end up going faster than it feels.
 
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ToMegaTherion

ToMegaTherion

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Drive it with the paddles or gearstick in manual mode and it will drive like a totally different car.
Yes, I was surprised at how responsive the paddles were, actually. The 7g box on the CLS is solid but can be ponderous with the diesel. So I kind of expected a lack of willingness to drop gears in the SL too. But it seemed to love it. It felt like there was a lot of fun to be had.

I was also surprised at how 'pointy' the cars was. A lot of reviews go on about the weight etc. , but it felt pretty lithe to me. Mind you, I've never driven a 911 etc.
 

Cabriomat

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I've had 2 r230 350s, they aren't fast in auto, but they are quick enough.
Use it in manual and it turns into a sports car.
I moved on to an r231 sl63, the 5.5 bi turbo, that was shockingly fast and fun, but for the uk roads and where I live I could have just as much real world(legal! )fun in the 350.
 
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ToMegaTherion

ToMegaTherion

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I've had 2 r230 350s, they aren't fast in auto, but they are quick enough.
Use it in manual and it turns into a sports car.
I moved on to an r231 sl63, the 5.5 bi turbo, that was shockingly fast and fun, but for the uk roads and where I live I could have just as much real world(legal! )fun in the 350.
I'm in the city, so I just wouldn't get the value out of a 63 unless I wanted it for the noise alone (which plenty of city boys round here do... they love the tunnels). For me, it's going to be 90% cruising in style - round town and up and down the motorways, with the occasional manual blast down the lanes of Worcestershire, Shropshire, Wales, etc.

Might even take it abroad... not something I've done in 20 years, but COVID etc etc etc...

Looking forward to it.
 
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ToMegaTherion

ToMegaTherion

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The SL350 has finally arrived! It sat on the drive for about five minutes before a neighbour christened it 'The Batmobile'... a name it will now carry in perpetuity. The obsidian black really suits it and flatters its age: it does not look like a 12 year old car. Drives superbly, too. Lovely sound from the V6 as soon as you open it up a bit.

Some photos soon... once the weather improves.

In the meantime, there is one little niggle that is going to bug me: a persistent, low frequency buzzing from either the AC or COMAND (but not from speakers - it's not an audio buzz or ground issue) audible when the car is stationary. It's present when the ignition is off, but it's not a cooling fan because it's there as soon as you get into the vehicle. The dealer says the car was checked and no fault found, but I don't think they looked (well, listened) very hard.

Any immediate thoughts on likely causes or known issues?

Thanks!
 

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