When the all-new R129 generation of Mercedes-Benz’s SL roadster hit the streets in 1990, it was met with frothing consumer demand. The prior R107 series had been in production for nearly 20 years, becoming somewhat long in the tooth. The new, upright Teutonic look was a Bruno Sacco masterpiece of industrial design that looked as sharp then as it does 30 years later. Along with the strong, restrained styling, this latest SL was technical innovation on four wheels.
It featured a hidden roll bar that could automatically deploy in the event of an accident, or be manually raised to give the new SL a more aggressive stance. Advancements like automatic self-levelling suspension, adaptive dampers and the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) that could brake individual wheels and adjust engine power, put the new SL roadsters on an engineering pedestal far above the competition. Over 11 years of production, Mercedes continually improved upon the R129 with added features and luxuries, all of which are included in today’s 2002 example form the final year of production.