Mercedes SL-Class 1989 to 2002 R129 (W129)

Mercedes SL-Class 1989 to 2002 R129 (W129)

    Common Faults


    Guide Price £ TBC

    Air-Con – Many of these have been malfunctioning. It can be a matter of a simple refill, or service, but it can also require costly repairs.


    Guide Price £ TBC

    Bulkhead Ventilation Plenum Chamber – This feature can rust and let water into the front foot section. Repairing this is a pretty comprehensive task.


    Guide Price £ TBC

    Wiring Insulation – Some models from the early 1990s had wiring insulation made from biodegradable materials for ecological purposes. However, the material could be compromised by excessive heat of the engine area and leave the wires without insulation. This was a common problem at the time, so most of them, if not all, should have been replaced by now.


    Guide Price £ TBC

    Hardtop – It came as a great replacement for the canvas roof, but you should check for rust at the bottom rear part of the hardtop.


    Guide Price £ TBC

    LHD to RHD Conversions – Many cars in the UK were converted, so they should be thoroughly checked.





    No recalls to report. Please let Star-Tec Engineering Ltd know if one has come out we have not shown.


    Model Types


    All of the SL R129s came as two-door roadsters with electric canvas roof and a detachable hardtop. All of them were RWD with the engine at the front. The engine range was very broad, having in mind all of the special editions and the 13-year production run. They ranged from a 2.8L I6 to very common 5L and 5.5L V8s, all the way up to very rare 7.3L V12s from AMG, with a huge number of other engines in between totalling at 13 options. There were also three gearbox options not all of which were available during the entire production run. These included a four-speed, or a five-speed automatic, or a five-speed manual.


    There were several styling changes during the production years. 1994 brought several changes including electronic odometers instead of the mechanical ones, optional mobile phone with voice activated dialling, clear turn signals for the front and a significant improvement in audio system.


    1996 introduced new front fenders, body-coloured bumpers, five-speed electronic automatic transmission for V8 and 12 engines as well as side airbags.


    A year later an optional panoramic roof became available, Sport package appeared, as well as rain sensors, programmable garage door opener and a new air conditioning system.

    The second facelift came in 1999. It included new V8 engines, Nappa leather seats, new door handles and tail lights, standard 17” wheels, Tip-start and silver rings for the instrument cluster.


    Trim Lines & Engines


    The SL R129 was a luxury sports car, so the list of equipment includes loads of things even for the entry level models. These features included: ABS, ASR, driver and passenger airbags with passenger occupancy sensor, alloy wheels, automatic air conditioning, automatic belt tensioners, dust filter, storage net for the passenger foot-well, electrically adjustable steering column and seats, electric aerial (also available on the W124), power steering, removable hardtop, ASSYST, cruise control, electric windows, electric and heated mirrors, electric soft top with automatic roll bar, ESP, heated seats, wood trim, leather steering wheel, metallic paint, outside temperature gauge and much more. Basically, the R129 was somewhere in-between the W124 and the W140, but closer to the more upmarket model.


    Moreover, much of the equipment that was standard on models with larger engines was also available as optional on other models, so you could personalize your R129 to the max, regardless of the powerplant.





    2.8 L 193hp (144 kW) I6

    2.8 L 204hp (152 kW) V6

    3.0 L 190hp (142 kW) I6

    3.0 L 231hp (172 kW) I6

    3.2L 231hp (172 kW) I6

    3.2L 224hp (167 kW) V6

    5.0 L 326hp (243 kW) V8

    5.0 L 306hp (228 kW) V8

    5.5L 354hp (264 kW) AMG V8

    6.0 L 381hp (284 kW) AMG V8

    6.0 L 394hp (294 kW) V12

    7.0 L 496hp (370 kW) AMG V12

    7.3L 525hp (391 kW) AMG V12


    There were three gearbox options, including two automatics (with four and five speeds) and a five-speed manual.


    Model History


    The R129 came as a replacement for the R107, which was a highly esteemed, but outdated, high-class roadster. Moreover, R129’s powerful engines made it a proper sports car even in its least powerful versions, while the beastly AMGs were not for the weak of heart, the most powerful one reaching 525hp, which is a lot even by today’s standards.


    Aside from the facelifts and random equipment additions described in the “Model Types” section, the engine history was also remarkable and similarly scattered.


    The initial models came with two 3L I6 options (with 12, or 24 valves) and one 5 l V8. Three years later, in 1992, a 6L V12 appeared, boasting 389 hp.


    In 1993, aside from the name changes that affected the entire line-up, the R129 lost the 3L engines which were replaced by a 2.8 and 3.2L DOHC I6 options, the former being offered with a manual, or auto, while the latter only had an autobox.


    The 1998 facelift brought V6 versions of the 2.8 and 3.2 adding a bit more power.


    AMG versions came in four variants being powered by 5.5L V8, 6.0 l V8, 7L V12, or 1995 7.3L V12 made in only 85 units. This engine had 525hp and it was later used in the Pagani Zonda.

    The R129 was replaced by the SL-Class R230 in 2002 after 13 years of production.




    R129 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

    Model Year – 1989-2002

    Class – Sports car/Grand tourer

    Body Style – Roadster

    Drive Wheels – RWD

    Seating – 2+2


    For information regarding our servicing options, please visit the Mercedes servicing page.

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Mercedes SL-Class 1989 to 2002 R129 (W129)
mercedes servicing epsom
Mercedes SL-Class 1989 to 2002 R129 (W129)

Mercedes SL-Class 1989 to 2002 R129 (W129)

020 8397 2666