Mercedes SL R129 is a quarter-century-old revolutionary


Mercedes-Benz SL R129

It’;s been 25 years considering that Mercedes-Benz took the wraps off its R129-series SL roadster at the 1989 Geneva Motor Display. While it may seem dated now, it was a revolutionary solution in its day – a day that lasted a good eleven many years.

In contrast to the R107 series it replaced, the R129 was a technological tour de force. However the form may appear boxy to modern eyes, it won awards upon its debut and was exceptionally aerodynamic for its time and bodystyle. Beneath the sheetmetal, with its squared-off lines and flared wheel arches, the favorite luxury roadster of the 1990s packed such developments as electronic stability control, sophisticated seats that have been integral to the style and warranted 20 patents, a fully automatic roof mechanism and a pop-up roll-in excess of bar that deployed in much less than a third of a 2nd.

The R129 was also the first SL to offer you a V12 engine and the initial to be presented in an AMG edition – the 2 functions we can not think about a contemporary SL roadster to do without. But it all started out with the R129, a series that noticed virtually 240,000 units made. See the picture gallery above and the press release below for a wind-in-your hair drive down memory lane.


A technological trailblazer celebrates its 25th anniversary: Mercedes-Benz SL, R 129 model series (1989 to 2001)
Stuttgart, Feb 28, 2014

– Several innovations, from the automated roll-above bar to the integral seat
– Twelve-cylinder engine manufactured its debut in the SL of the R 129 model series
– Official AMG versions of the SL became accessible for the initial time

The Geneva Motor Show of March 1989 presented the huge stage for Mercedes-Benz to current the new SL from the R 129 model series. The response was immediately really good – in fact so positive that the planned yearly manufacturing capability of twenty,000 units was quickly oversubscribed. Anybody wanting to personal an R 129 had to accept a delivery time period of many years in that early phase.

Barely a year following its launch the SL was awarded the global “Auto Style Award”. Chief designer Bruno Sacco and his team had carried out an exceptional job. The stylistically assured, no-frills lines of the slightly wedge-shaped physique, the flared wheel arches for the wide-base tyres, the half-spoilers forward of the front wheels, a steeply raked windscreen, skilfully modelled rear end, and light-alloy wheels as common came collectively here to create an exceedingly harmonious total impact. Performance was also developed in: the aerodynamic fine touches, which includes the underbody and airflow via the engine compartment, additional up to a fuel-saving, velocity-growing cd worth of .32 with the hardtop mounted. A figure of cd = .40 was measured for the open-best automobile with closed side windows.

This automobile set new standards in the spot of security, as well. Passive safety was raised to an exceptionally large level for an open-prime motor vehicle by way of a assortment of measures. An integral element of the security concept was the automatic roll-in excess of bar, which was implemented here for the 1st time in a motor automobile. If a roll-more than threatened, the sensor-managed roll-over bar would be electromagnetically triggered, raised into position by the force of pre-compressed springs inside .3 seconds and secured by locking pawls.

An additional component of the security concept was the SL’;s integral seats, which represented a technical masterpiece of design: twenty patents for remedies to numerous specifics went into this seat. The frame and backrest were made of a assortment of specific magnesium alloys, using a thin-wall casting method. They incorporated the 3-stage seat belt with belt tensioner, belt height adjustment coupled with the head restraint adjustment, and electric stepper motors for fore-and-aft, height and angle adjustment for the seat cushion and backrest. The resistance of the seat in a crash was numerous occasions greater than the forces that could possibly come up.

Completely automatic folding soft prime and suspension with lively functions

The newly designed electrohydraulic material leading with which the SL was equipped as common offered a particularly higher degree of operating convenience. Merely by working a switch, the soft leading could be opened or closed inside of thirty seconds. Best operation of the roll-above bar beneath the closed soft leading was guaranteed. The standard hardtop was produced of aluminium, and despite more substantial windows weighed just 34 kilograms, about 10 kilograms much less than the coupé hardtop of the previous model.

As an optional added, a newly developed auxiliary technique was also available for the SL suspension, representing the most superior suspension engineering realisable at the time and combining 3 subsystems. Sprung mass vibrations had been decreased in accordance with automobile load, road problems, and driving style, which almost represented a preliminary stage of the active suspension that reached production maturity in 1999 in the model series C 215 Coupé.

Throughout the many years the R 129 became accessible with a range of different engines. The leading-of-the-assortment model was the 600 SL/SL 600 with V12 engine (290 kW/394 hp, from June 1993 onwards called the SL 600), which was launched in October 1992. The most effective engine in the passenger auto revenue selection provided brilliant performance and was the epitome of smoothness and turbine-like energy delivery. Over all, its composed managing in the substantial velocity ranges and the remarkable and simultaneously refined method in which it reached prime velocity had been characteristic of the 600 SL. Those still unsatisfied with the output and prestige afforded by the 8 and twelve-cylinder engines could flip to AMG in Affalterbach. Above the many years it also developed many SL designs with potent drive techniques and an all round really sporty emphasis. The highlight from 1999 was based mostly on the SL 600 and came in the guise of the Mercedes-Benz SL 73 AMG, rated at 386 kW (525 hp).

2 facelifts (1995 and 1998) ensured that the R 129 remained fresh. 1 function which celebrated its premiere in the SL with the 1995 facelift was the Electronic Stability Program ESP®, made to assist the driver in essential driving circumstances. With this method, sensors detect and compare the steering angle and yaw rate. If the movements do not match, the program is instantly activated. Individual wheels are braked separately in this kind of a way that the car is simpler to hold on track. The common R 129 was also the 1st SL offered in numerous particular series. In July 2001, the final of a complete of 204,940 examples of the R 129 model series rolled off the production line at the Bremen plant, and its successor created an look in the identical month in the kind of the R 230 model series. In terms of general volume, the R 129 was therefore not fairly as effective as its predecessor from the R 107 model series with some 237,287 units made over a period of 18 years. Even so, when evaluating the average yearly manufacturing, the R 129 model series is extremely obviously in the lead with some 16,500 units. The most successful model of this model series was the 5-litre variant equipped with the M 119 4-valve V8 engine, of which a total of 79,827 had been created from 1988 to 1998. The rarest variant by far is the SL 280 with V6 engine, which served as the entry-degree model for the model series from 1997 and rolled off the assembly line only one,704 times.

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