Sponsored content: Mercedes-Benz 280 SL: A Sports Tourer Ahead of Its Time

Although at first glance to the uninitiated it may have seemed to be an all-out sports car, what the beautifully crafted two-seater Mercedes-Benz 280 SL actually turned out to be was a fabulous luxury sports tourer.

Praised for its beauty and design, the Mercedes Benz 280 SL was a very forward-thinking motor vehicle, with features and safety standards such as three-point safety harnesses that were far ahead of its time. The 230/250/280 SL line was a brand new project for Mercedes-Benz; a modern, luxurious sports tourer with the size of the popular 190 model.

This car had the company’s first automatic gear shift offered on a sports model car, and while the 280 SL may not have been nearly as aggressive as the American-made muscle cars of the same period, it was still competitive when it came to speed records, tough and robust, yet still retained its high level of sophistication.

While there was a large focus on the visual qualities of the car, which has stood the test of time and is still considered to be a beauty, the 280 SL always received rave reviews and high marks for its handling, steering, and braking. Reviewers claimed the car had neutral handling with very little understeer in sharp corners, had light and accurate braking, and must have had a very low centre of gravity because the driver and occupants could never feel body roll.

Production of this car, which was deemed by many to be one of Mercedes-Benz’s best ever made, was halted in 1971, to the sadness of car enthusiasts everywhere.

Specifications, features, and stats of the 280 SL:


Vehicle: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door roadster

Engine: SOHC 12-valve inline-6, iron block and aluminium head, port fuel injection
Displacement: 170 cu in, 2778cc
Power (SAE net): 162 bhp @ 5750 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 174 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

Transmission: 4-speed automatic


Wheelbase: 94.5 in

Length: 168.7 in

Width: 69.3 in

Height: 51.8 in

Curb weight (est): 3200 lb


According to performance tests done by drivers at http://www.caranddriver.com in 2006, the car’s stats are:

0 to 60 mph: 8.6 sec

0 to 90 mph: 19.8 sec

Street start, 5-60 mph: 8.7 sec

Standing 1/4-mile: 16.8 sec @ 84 mph

Braking, 70-0 mph: 233 ft

Today, the Mercedes-Benz 280 SL is a highly valued car on the classic vehicle market due to its timeless, elegant design and solid performance. For those who are interested, dealers in the UK such as Inchcape Mercedes Benz also include classic models in their inventory, and furthermore deal with some parts for those who collect vintage motor cars. Owners of vintage models can contact Mercedes-Benz directly as they will also often have parts available for older cars. Because ownership of a Mercedes-Benz 280 SL, the price of which will be in the £100,000 range, which is considered to be quite prestigious, there are several private clubs for owners in the UK which have been around for quite a while and are very reputable. It is recommended for those who have a 280 SL to join one.

~ by velofinds on October 1, 2009.

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