1998 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

  • 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL500 Roadster

    SL500 Roadster

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      5.0L V8
    • MSRP
  • 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL600 Roadster

    SL600 Roadster

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      6.0L V12
    • MSRP
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  • Review

1998 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Review

An iconic German vehicle.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is a convertible that has been manufactured by the German automaker since 1954. The SL designation is derived from the German word, ""Sport Leicht,"" which means Sport Lightweight. The current version of the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class was launched in 1989, and it is called the Mercedes-Benz R129. It replaced the R107 SL-Class upon its release. During its launch, the SL-Class had a number of innovative features, but it remains to be seen if the 1998 model still offers enough value for money.

The Range

Body Styles: convertible
Engines: 6.0-liter V-12, 5.0-liter V-8
Transmissions: five-speed automatic
Models: Mercedes-Benz SL-500, Mercedes-Benz SL-500 SL1 Sport, Mercedes-Benz SL-600 SL1 Sport, Mercedes-Benz SL-600

What's New

The 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is no longer available with the V-6 engine option, and this also signals the discontinuation of the SL-320 model. The SL-Class will be available only with the V-8 and V-12 engines in the current year. The 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class also has a new feature called Baby Smart that recognizes the presence of a child safety seat and automatically deactivates the airbags.


Unlike the previous Mercedes-Benz SL-Class generations, this current generation stays away from classic styling cues. It has a more futuristic design, and its front fascia is especially appealing. It also has a wheelbase of 99 inches and a length of 177.1 inches. It has a width of 71.3 inches and a total height of 51.3 inches.


Inside, the 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class boasts a fit and finish that can hardly be seen today. The attention to detail is credible starting with the well-placed gauges and controls, which are easy to read. The clearly-marked controls can be reached and operated without the driver having to take his or her eyes off the road. This two-seater offers lots of space inside as well. Legroom and headroom is not a problem at all, and both occupants get plenty of seat travel to get them comfortable. Both seats can be adjusted in a multitude of settings, so everyone can feel comfortable in the car.

Performance & Handling

The 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL-500 models get a five-liter dual overhead cam V-8 engine that delivers 322 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque. On the other hand, the SL-600 models get a massive six-liter V-12 engine that delivers 389 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. Only a five-speed automatic transmission is available for this model year. The 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is far more athletic than its predecessors from the 1980s. While it is expectedly quite fast, the impressive thing about the SL-Class is its incredible stability at high speeds. The car delivers a steady bearing even at top speed, which is great for inspiring driver confidence. The SL-Class is also luxurious and comfortable, which is why it has a sporting feel and performance along with a commanding road presence. This, however, means that it is too heavy and smooth to be a true sports coupe.

In terms of the 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class performance, both the V-8 and the V-12 engine prove to be spectacular. Above the 3000-rpm mark, the V-8 engine delivers an incredible amount of power with just a touch on the acceleration pedal, and it does not seem to be straining at all. The SL-500 can accelerate from standstill to 60 mph in six seconds. However, it is not without its share of problems. Fuel economy is virtually non-existent, and the car tends to bob around a lot on uneven roads. Tire noise is also evident on rough surfaces.


The 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class doesn't have any crash test results available for at the moment.

EPA Fuel Economy

Mercedes-Benz SL-Class: 13/19 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Great finish
  • Good steering and handling
  • Powerful performance
  • Good building quality

You Won't Like

  • Poor fuel economy
  • Very high price tag
  • Lack of cargo room

Sum Up

An iconic German vehicle.

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See the New 2017 SL-Class.

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