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This Mercedes-Benz SL is a do-it-all performance car. The SL-Class has a long and prestigious history dating back to the 1950s when the first SL model was released. The SL in the model name stands for "Sport Leicht" which translates to "Sport Light" in English, reflecting the car's combination of performance and lightweight construction. In 2004, the SL500 came into the fifth generation of the SL-Class, which was introduced in 2002. In July 2001, after more than five years of development, the new SL was unveiled and introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show. This car helped the brand showcase its engineering prowess without going too far from the idea of the perfect GT, with engine options varying from a relatively more sensible V6 to a gargantuan V12, and of course V8 iterations in the middle, to complete the range. The R230 SL was also the first SL that had a folding metal roof, and it looked as cool and svelte with the roof down as it did with the roof up. The R230 is bound to offer the joys of running a modern and practical classic that can’t help but to win hearts.

The development of the 2004 SL500 was focused on improving performance and handling while maintaining its luxurious and refined character. Under the hood, the SL500 was equipped with a powerful 5.0-liter V8 engine that produced 302 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque. This engine was paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission, which provided smooth and responsive gear changes. The SL500's exterior design was updated with a more aerodynamic shape, which not only improved the car's performance but also gave it a sleek and modern look. The retractable hardtop roof was also improved, allowing for easier operation and better insulation from outside noise and weather.

The Vehicle

This vehicle has ticked up a modest 48,000 miles on the odometer and has had two previous keepers. The vendor bought the car last year and is selling it on behalf of his father due to ill health. From speaking to the owner, he thinks the car spent most of its life with the owner prior to the one previous as the majority of the service history comes from one garage. After that the car had three or so years where it did no mileage and then the previous owner ticked up about 3,000 miles over 3 years or so. The owner reminisced about the great drive he did in this SL500 driving back from Edinburgh after travelling up with his father to collect this motor. The vendor is in the trade and, in his words: “There’s no doubt it’s going to be a classic - ones with a nice history and nice mileage are few and far between. There aren’t many in this colour combination either”.

On the Outside

One would think it’d be hard to improve on what the R129 offered, but they’d be wrong, because with the R230, Mercedes-Benz didn’t just present a more curved design, it did so without losing an ounce of elegance. The way the R230 sits is only improved by the sleek appearance of the three-piece metal ‘vario-roof’. This came as standard, unlike the early cars where the hardtop was a standalone unit and not integrated with the convertible mechanism.

The blue paintwork looks to be largely faultless on this 2004 example, which highlights this car’s hugely likeable design and character, like the vents in the front wing and on the bonnet. There are a few mild stone chips, as one might expect but overall, the bodywork is in fine order. The five spoked AMG wheels look to be in fine shape and free of scuffs.

On the Inside

The cream leather interior is top class and in great condition, just as one would hope for from an SL. It comes with a light walnut veneer on the central console. The plastics are clearly from the early 2000s, but everything is clean, light, and almost unused. The seats are fully adjustable, offering exceptional comfort and support, and the state-of-the-art entertainment system provides crystal-clear sound quality and a range of advanced features.

It comes with a cream, leather wrapped multifunction steering wheel, leather seats (which came as standard) and climate control, all packaged in a neat layout. With the metal roof, this motor can basically be turned into a coupe at the press of the button that operates the convertible mechanism. Gone are the rear seats, but that shouldn’t be too much of a hardship. The carpets, door cards and mats look tidy throughout.


This SL500 is equipped with a 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces 302 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. It features double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder, with variable valve timing and lift control. It also has an electronic throttle control system, which helps to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. In terms of performance, it can shift from 0 to 60 mph in about 6 seconds, and has a top speed of 155 mph (electronically limited). Despite its powerful engine, the SL500 still manages to achieve a relatively respectable fuel economy of around 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the motorway. Everything looks clean under the hood; there does not seem to be any sign of leakage and everything appears to be in its right and proper place.

History Highlights

This car comes with a valid MOT through to January 2024. It has had no outstanding safety recalls and it has benefited from annual MOTs since 2007. The car has a complete Mercedes history up to 2020 – now it requires a light touch oil and filter service. The owner left this for the new owner to do, should they wish to continue the full Merc history.

What We Think

The R230 doesn’t look twenty years old and the same is the case with this 2004 example, which benefits from good upkeep and a fairly modest mileage. It has a valid MOT, an exceptionally clean interior and bodywork, and even a space-saver spare wheel. We think a prospective buyer will have to part with somewhere between £10,000 and £15,000 to take this car away and that makes this a lot of car for the money.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.


Bidders MUST ensure they are aware of the registration situation of a car in auction, and whether it will be possible to export/register a vehicle in their country BEFORE they bid.

All vehicles MUST BE COLLECTED WITHIN 7-DAYS of the auction end. Storage fees of £180 + VAT apply (per week) thereafter without exception.

If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage can offer you options, plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping both domestic and international.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using basic cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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  • Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Trade
  • Odometer Reading: 48000
  • Chassis Number: WDB2304752F072085
  • Engine: 4966
  • Gearbox: Auto
  • Steering position: Right-hand drive
  • Colour: Blue
  • Interior: Cream
  • Estimated Price: £10,000 - £15,000

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