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Other convertibles compared to the SL500
© 2006 KenRockwell.com

return to the 1997 SL500

return to history and comparisons among the SL

detailed comparison to the BMW 540

  Length Cir. Lbs Engine Ft-Lbs HP 0-60 1/4 mile MPH Trunk City Hwy
96-98 SL500 177.1" 35.4' 4165 32V VVT V8 347 @ 3900 315 @ 5600 6.2 14.5 @ 99.2 155* 7.9' 16 23
97 SL600                 155* 7.9' 13 20
97 SL320       6             18 24
05-07 SL65 AMG 178.5" 36.2' 4565 36V V12 738 @ 2,000 604 @ 4800 4.2       12 19
03-05 SL500 178.5" 36.2' 4065 24V VVT V8 339 @ 3-4k 302 @ 5600 6.1   155* 7.3' 15 22
03-04 SL55 AMG 178.5" 36.2' 4319  24V blown V8 516 @ 2.7-4k 493 @ 6100 4.5 13.0 @ 116   8.2' 14 20
03-04 SL600 178.5" 36.2' 4429  36V V12 2T 590 @ 1.8-3.5k 493 @ 5000 4.5   155* 7.3' 13 19
2007 SL600 178.5" 36.2' 4429  36V V12 2T 612 @ 1.9-?k 510 @ 5000 4.5?   155* 7.3' 13 19
                       
70 Hemi 'Cuda       426 CID   425 gross**   13.1 @ 107        
70 Challenger R/T 440 six-pack       440 CID 16V 6-BBL   390 gross** 7.1 14.8 @ 97.8        
                         
04 CLK320 182.6 35.3 3770 6 229 @ 3000 215 @ 5700       9' 20 26
04 CLK500 182.6 35.3 3905 24V VVT V8 337 @ 2700 302 @ 5600       9' 17 22
04 CLK55 182.6 35.3 3960 5.4l V8 376 @ 4000 362 @ 57500       9' 15 22
                         
                       
05 SLK350 160.7" 34.5' 3231 3.5l 24V V6 258 @ 2.4-5k 268 @ 6000 5.4 13.9 @ 103 155* 6.5' 18 25
05 SLK55 AMG 160.9" 34.5' 3397 5.4l 24V V8 376 @ 3,500 362 @ 6000 4.9   155* 6.5' 16? 22?
97-04 SLK230 157.3" 32.9' 2992 16V Blown I4 200 @ 2500 185 @ 5300 7.6      3.6' 22 30
-04 SLK320 157.9" 32.9' 3120 18V V6 229 @ 3-4.6k 215 @ 5700 6.6     3.6' 17 26
02-04 SLK32 AMG 157.9" 32.9' 3220 18V blown 6 332 @ 4400 RPM 349 @ 6100 RPM 4.8     3.6' 17 22
                       
85 - 89 560SL 180.3"   3,780 alloy V8 279 @ 3,250 227 @ 4,750 8   137   14 17
80 - 85 380SL 182.3"   3,605  alloy V8  196 @ 2,750 155 @ 4,750 11   121   16 18
80 450SL 182.3"   3,750 iron V8 239 @ 3,000 160 @ 4,200 10.3   124      
70 - 80 350SL 172.4"   3,487 iron V8     9.2   127      
72 450SL 172.4"   3,780 iron V8 278 @ 3,000 230 @ 5,000 9.2   127      
                         
05 E320 CDI 189.7" 37.4' 3691 Turbo Diesel 24V I6 369 @ 1.8 - 2.6k 201 @ 4200 6.6 15.3 @ 91 151, 130*

15.9'

27 37
03 E500 190.3" 37.4' 3815 24V V8 339 @ 2.7 - 4.25k 302 @5600 5.8     15.3' 16 23
88 190D  175.1" 34.1' 3020 Diesel I5 122 93     100 11.7' 30 34
                       
95 325iC 174.5" 34.1 3352 I6 24V VVT 181 @ 4200 189 @ 5900       8.9 20 28
99 M Roadster 158.5"   3086 I6 236 @ 3800 240 @ 6000 5.3       19 26
00 BMW Z8 173.4" 38.7 3494 32V VVT V8 369 @ 3800 394 @ 6600 4.2 13.0 @ 110 155* 5' 13 21
03 BMW 540iA Sport 188.0" 37.4' 3803 32V VVT V8 324 @ 3600 290 @ 5400 6.1 14.39 @ 96.60 155* 16.2' 17 23
04 645Ci 190.2"   4178 32V VVT V8 330 @ 3600 325 @ 6100 6.0   149*   15 23
04 BMW M3 176.9"   3781 24V VVT I6 262 @ 4900  333 @ 7900 5.4   155*   16 23
04 330ci 176.7"   3616 24V VVT I6 214 @ 3500 225 @ 5900 6.9   128*   19 28
04 325ci 176.7" 34.4' 3560 24V VVT I6 175 @ 3500 184 @ 6000 7.7   128*   19 27
05 Z4 3.0i 161.1"   2998 24V VVT I6 214 @ 3500 225 @ 5900 5.9   155*   21 29
05 Z4 2.5i 161.1"   2932 24V VVT I6 175 @ 3500 184 @ 6000 7.1   137   20 28
                       
02 Jag XKR 187.4"   4039 Blown V8 382@3600 370 @ 6150 5.4 13.9 @ 102.4     16  22
                         
02 911c 174.5" 34.8' 3075 flat 6 273 @ 4350 320 @ 6800 5.6 14.1 @ 101.6     18 26
05 Boxster 171.6"   2965 3.2l 6 236 @ 4700 280 @ 6200       9.5'    
04 Boxster S 170.1" 35.8' 2911 3.2l 6 229 @ 4500 258 @ 6250       9' 18 26
04 Boxster 170.1"   2811 2.7l 6 192 @ 4750 228 @ 6300       9' 20 29
00 Boxster S 171" 35.8' 2855 3.2l 6 225 @ 4500 250 @ 6250 5.8     9' 18 26
00 Boxster 171" 35.8' 2778 2.7l 6 192 @ 4500 217 @ 6500 6.5     9' 19 27
99 Boxster 171" 35.8' 2822 2.5l 6 181 @ 4500 202 @ 6000 6.5     9' 19 26
97 Boxster 171" 35.8' 2822 2.5l 6 181 @ 4500 201 @ 6000         19 26
                         
05 Miata MS 155.7" 30.2' 2540 16V I4 turbo 166 @ 4500 178 @ 6000 6.7  15.2 @ 91 127 5' 20 26
98-05 Miata 155.3" 30.2' 2299 16V VVT I4 120 @ 5500 140 @ 6500 8     5.1' 25 29
94-97 Miata 155.4" 30.6' 2293 16V I4 110 @ 5500 130 @ 6500 8.8     3.6' 23 29
90-93 Miata 155.4" 30.6' 2116 16V I4 100 @ 5500 116 @ 6500       3.6' 25 30
                         
01 MR2 (00- 05) 153" 34.1' 2195 1.8l I4 125 @ 4400 138 @ 6400       1.9' 25 30
                         
95-02 VW Cab 160.4" 32.8' 2778 I4 122 @ 3200 115 @ 5400 10.2     8' 24 31
88-93 VW Cab 153.1" 31.2' 2307 8V SOHC I4 100 @ 3000 94 @ 5400       6.5' 25 32
86 VW Cab 159.3"   2254 I4 100 @ 3000 90 @ 5500       6.2' 24 29
                         
02 - 05 S2000 162.2" 35.4' 2809 16V I4 153 @ 7500 240 @ 8300       5' 20 25
                         
04 Mini S 143.9" 34.8' 2844 Blown I4 162 @ 4000 170 @ 6000 7.4 15.6 138 4.2' 25 34
04 Mini 143.1" 34.8' 2700 DOHC I4 111 @ 4500 115 @ 6000 8.9 16.5 121 4.2' 28 37
                         
05 Crossfire 159.8" 32.2'   18V V6 229 @ 3200 215 @ 5700 6.5 14.9 @ 96 150 3.6' 17 25
05 Xfire SRT6 159.8" 32.2'    blown 18V V6   330 5   158      
                         
05 Mustang GT     3483 V8 320 @ 4500 300 @ 5750 5.1       17 25
86 Mustang GT       V8 285 @ 3,000 200 @ 4,000 6.6       17 25
                         
2005 Ferrari F430 176.6"   3494  V8 343 @ 5250 483 @ 8500 4.1 12.4 @ 115 193   10 21
2002 360 Modena F1 176.3   3064  V8 275 @ 4750 400 @ 8500 4.6   180   11 16
                       
67 Dodge Monaco***

219.6"
80" W
56.3" T

  c 4000 6.3l 16V 390 @ 2800** 270 @ 4400**            

KEY: Cir = turning circle. Engine: V = valves. VVT = variable valve timing. MPH is top speed, ** are gross ratings which are about 33% higher than the net power ratings used since 1973. * means limited electronically. Why 155 MPH for every brand? It's actually a very round 250 km/h, a gentleman's agreement for electronic limiting in Germany. Trunk: cubic feet of space, top down. City/Hwy = US EPA fuel economy. *** Dodge cargo space: 44.9" W x 96" d x 29.5" T; 97 cf.

Notes: Manual transmission listed if both auto and manual available, otherwise auto is listed in case of SL. All are convertibles.

SLK 1997 - 2004 had 3.6 cubic feet of trunk space with the top down. if you put the top up you had 9.5 cubic feet.

BMW 645Ci: Big, heavy, solid, smooth, nimble and powerful four seater introduced in 2004. Very similar ride to SL500 except even bigger. Too many blinking lights and electronic interference, like steering ratios that change while you drive. Glass rear window, cloth top only. Turn signals are almost invisible to drivers behind you.

2005 S2000 (Honda): Much sturdier and better made than you would think for a Honda. Feels very solid and well made. Very comfortable leather seats. Pachinco-parlor inspired blinking light dash devoid of real gauges works quite well. Quite drivable around town and peaky powerband the top. Trunk deeper and roomier than you'd expect. No room behind seats and seats do not recline. EPA 20/25MPG on regular with manual trans, pretty poor considering the SL500 has twice the engine, far more weight and and automatic and still gets about the same fuel economy.

VW Cabrio (Rabbit) convertible: a tiny, practical 4 seater with a trunk that's shorter than the other cars. Front wheel drive, small engine. Latest models have heated seats. The gauges have always been excellent, far better than the Mercedes 2003 - 2005 SL

2004 Mini (BMW): German made. Feels like a toy in a bad way, unlike the Miata which feels like a toy in a good way. Collapsed top obscures rear view. Front-wheel drive?

Miata: Always an excellent and extremely fun car.

Chrysler Crossfire: This is built by Karmann in Germany with parts from the 1997 - 2004 Mercedes SLK, including the engines. It rides more softly and has comfier seats compared to the SLK, which is sportier than the Crossfire. The Crossfire only has a soft top, not the miraculous collapsing hard top of the SLK.

2005 Mustang: sorry, no convertible. '86 is convertible. Note the '86 has a 5.0l vs. 4.6l V8 and still got the same fuel economy.

Dodge Charger: sorry, not convertible.

Ferrari 360: sorry, not convertible.

Ferrari 430: Convertible version due in 2005, cloth top only. (AutoWeek, 21 Feb 2005, pg. 4)

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