2004 Mercedes-Benz SL 350 (R230)


 • Full service history
 • One former keeper
 • Active Body Control option
 • Electric folding hard-top

The Appeal

Mercedes-Benz has always striven to provide something a little extra beyond the mundane, and that tri-pointed star has come to symbolise quality, luxury, and lifestyles centred around the premium. ‘The best, or nothing’ – a slogan adopted by the brand in recent years, vividly embodies its founding principles. The evergreen SL model line has always thrown these values into sharp focus, and the new-millennium generation of the SL, designated ‘R230’, was an intriguing proposition indeed. Developed in parallel using two distinct methods (the physical development occurred with 1:4-scale cars, the virtual used the pioneering ‘CAVE’ supercomputer processing technology), the new-for-2001 SL was the product of over five years of work from an improbably massive team of people. Boasting an electrically operated folding hard-top and myriad technological advances, this was the quintessential luxury roadster.

Offered from launch was the SL 350, a model that many enthusiasts see as the sweet-spot R230 for its blend of power, comfort and real-world usability. The engine is the 3.7-litre evolution of the M112 V6, a motor renowned for its strength thanks to having factory-fitted forged internals; with twin plugs per cylinder, aluminium pistons and a magnesium intake manifold it offers plenty of power – 242bhp – but of course SLs are predominantly about comfort and refinement, and the SL 350 has that in spades, with its luxuriously trimmed and fully-loaded interior. And with just one former keeper and a full service history, the example we have here is a very desirable one indeed.

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The History and Paperwork

 • V5
 • Original books and manuals
 • MOT to September (no advisories)
 • Sheaf of previous MOTs
 • Original 2004 bill of sale (£61,857)
 • Mercedes-Benz main dealer invoices for servicing and maintenance

The Interior

 • Orion leather
 • Chestnut wood trim

The interior is generously equipped as standard in an SL, with this one trimmed in attractive Orion leather with the optional Chestnut wood trim and Alpaca Grey mats. 
 It’s clear that Mercedes-Benz put a lot of thought into making the cabin eminently usable, as there are storage cubbies hidden everywhere – the armrests in the doors pop open at the touch of a button, there’s storage below the seats, and lidded bins in the space behind.

The underseat cubby on the passenger side houses the original first aid kit. As you’d expect of a car with relatively low mileage, it’s all very fresh and tidy in the cabin, with no undue wear, scuffs, scratches or missing trim. The electric seats are fully functional, there are no warning lights illuminated on the dash, and every button we pressed did what it ought to do, including raising and lowering the rear pop-up roll bar. It’s also worth noting that the original owner specified the optional 6-disc auto-changer, which is located in the cubby behind the passenger seat.

The Exterior

 • Brilliant Silver paintwork
 • Factory-option 18” alloy wheels

Brilliant Silver is a classic choice for an SL, and it suits the lines of the R230 very well. The paintwork is in good condition throughout the car, with no notable stone-chips or scratches and just a minor smidge of surface corrosion starting to appear inside the rear arches. The electric folding hard-top is all in perfect working order, and it’s actually quite entertaining to watch as the roof is raised and lowered, with the bootlid hinging up from the rear and the hardtop folding itself away neatly into the boot.

 The factory-option 18” 5-spoke alloy wheels are in good condition, with Bridgestones on the front and Pirellis at the rear.

 The light lenses and window glass are in good order, and all of the correct trim is in place. Overall, it looks like exactly what it is: a quality roadster that’s been well looked after. 

The Mechanicals

 • Active Body Control suspension option
 • Full service history

It’s a compelling package in this car, offering the perfect blend of smooth wafting and sonorous grunt, depending on how relaxed or aggressive you choose to be with the throttle. Thanks to that highly-advanced V6 motor, there’s oodles of torque to exploit, and the engine is perfectly mated to the slick automatic transmission.

 Given the mileage and the thorough service history, it’ll be no surprise to you that there are no gremlins to worry about with this car. It drives wonderfully, everything’s working as it should, and it’s backed up by a full service history. This car also benefits from the Active Body Control suspension setup, which was a £2,161 option when new.



It’s hard to believe that this car is 19 years old, as it still looks so fresh and – crucially – drives so well too. This is a well-built and well-equipped car that could happily be pressed into daily service straight away, and would prove to be thoroughly enjoyable as well as supremely comfortable. In all-original spec (and highly-specced from new), it offers all of the performance and luxury that you could wish for from an SL, along with a remarkable freshness that’s seldom found with other R230s on today’s market. It begs the question, is it really worth going to Mercedes-Benz and shelling out six-figures for a brand-new SL? Much of that splendour and cachet is available here for a mere fraction of the price…   

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 2004
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model SL350
  • Colour Silver
  • Odometer 52,000 Miles
  • Engine size 3724
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Trade
  • Town Wandsworth
  • Location London
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
17 bids
  • Go•••• £8,500 31/05/23
  • st•••• £8,200 31/05/23
  • xl•••• £8,000 31/05/23
  • st•••• £7,800 31/05/23
  • Ha•••• £7,200 31/05/23
  • st•••• £7,000 31/05/23
  • Ha•••• £6,700 31/05/23
  • m-•••• £6,500 31/05/23
  • st•••• £6,000 31/05/23
  • Ha•••• £5,000 29/05/23

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