R129 SL Engines – A Timeline

At launch in 1989, the R129 SL was available in 300SL, 300SL-24 or 500SL variants, representing two six-cylinder engines (M103 12 valve 188bhp or M104 24 valve 228hp) and a 5.0 litre 322hp V8 (M119).

Four years later In 1993 the 300SL and 300SL-24 were replaced by the SL280 (M104 Inline 6 24 Valve 190hp) and SL320 (M104 Inline 6 24 Valve 228hp).

From 1993 until late 1998 buyers had a choice of these new engines, with the range then comprising SL280, SL320, SL500 and SL600 models.

The final incarnation of the R129 arrived late 1998, with all-new engines rolled out across the range.

The range topping V12 continued unchanged, whilst the 5.0 litre lost its M119 engine in favour of the all-new M113.

Both the SL280 and SL320 moved from the M104 straight six engine to the all-new M112 V6. This capable engine which would be the first V6 ever produced by Mercedes-Benz.

Early 500SL with M119 5.0 V8 Engine
Late R129 with 2.8 litre M112 V6 Engine

This new direction for Mercedes-Benz signalled the beginning of the V6 movement. The M112 engine would go on to feature in many, many models from Mercedes-Benz, proving to be a superbly reliable and dependable unit, offering excellent performance and an enjoyable driving experience.

These late R129 V6 models are highly prized, none more so that the beautiful Amber Red car we see here.

From launch in 1989

300 SL (M103 3.0 L 12-valve SOHC I6 188 hp)
300 SL-24 (M104 3.0 L 24-valve DOHC I6 228 hp)
500 SL (M119 5.0 L 32-valve DOHC V8 322 hp)

Added in 1992:

600 SL (M120 6.0 L 48-valve DOHC V12 389 hp)

From Autumn 1993:

SL280 replaced the 300SL (M103 2.8 L 24-valve DOHC I6 190hp)
SL320 replaced the 300 SL-24 (M104 3.2 L 24-valve DOHC I6 228hp)
500 SL continued unchanged but becomes SL500

From late 1998 – The Final Facelift

The R129 gets new mirrors, new wheels, new bumpers and all-new engines

SL 280 with all new V6 (M112 2.8 L 18-valve SOHC V6 201hp)
SL 320 with all new V6 (M112 3.2 L 18-valve SOHC V6 221hp)
SL 500 with all new V8 (M113 5.0 L 24-valve SOHC V8 302hp)