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Mercedes 250SL Review (1966 - 1968)
The Mercedes-Benz 250 SL came in December of 1966 while the 230 SL was still being produced. By that time the 230 SL was extremely popular, so no one really missed the 190 SL and the 250 SL was eagerly anticipated. The 250 SL’s production stopped in January of 1968 which means that it was produced for only a year. However, it brought several improvements compared to the 230 SL. It still had the stiffened suspension, so it was more sporty than comfortable, even though the comfort is not something worth complaining over. Furthermore, it had rear disc brakes and a bigger fuel tank. This was also the first SL model which offered limited slip differential as an optional feature.
It also came in the shape of the coupe and convertible, but the 250 SL was also the first version of the W113 that was offered in 2 + 2 body style called California Coupe. It only featured a hard top, which meant that there was enough room for a small rear bench to accommodate two passengers.
The 250 SL, as its name says, came with a 2.5 l engine which offered about the same amount of power as the 230 SL, but with noticeably more torque, increased compression ratio, duplex chain and wider power band which meant that it was more responsive and more interesting to drive. Despite the power rating, the change was evident and welcome. Transmission options included a four-speed manual, a four-speed automatic and a five-speed ZF manual.
Generally speaking, the 250 SL continued in the tracks of the 230 SL, still offering the ‘safety body’, radial tires, crumple zones and other perks of the previous model from the W113 lineup, while bringing several improvements and modernization efforts. In every way possible, it was an improved version of the very popular and beloved 230 SL.
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Driving & Performance
The car’s power rating was very similar to that of the 230 SL, but in practice it was far more interesting to drive. With about 3,000 pounds of weight (108 pounds more with a hardtop) and 150 horsepower the 250 SL could reach the top speed of 121 miles an hour. There were three transmission options, each of them offering a completely different experience, but all of them being a pure joy to drive.
Suspension was tuned more for sporty driving than comfort, but the 250 SL provided the driver and passenger with a smooth ride. Brakes were further improved with the addition of discs for the rear, while an optional limited slip differential definitely moved boundaries for the entire class.
All in all, owners of the 250 SL would still get that perfect blend of sports driving capability and long distance cruising comfort that its predecessor was known for, but with several improvements and a more capable engineBack To Top
Equipment & Comfort
The initial units of the 250 SL offered the interior which was very similar to its predecessor, which is by no means a bad thing. The dashboard was still classy with clearly visible and beautifully designed instruments being placed behind a very elegant steering wheel with a bulky center.
The middle section of the dashboard had a radio, clock and air vents, all of which were designed to complement both the exterior and interior of the car.
Even though the 250 SL still had stiffer suspension settings, its amazing seats helped with the ride quality immensely.
Right in the middle of the production process, in August of 1967, the 250 SL received a facelift which was the result of more rigid safety and emission regulations in the United States. The facelift came with heater levers with elastic black rubber, softer dashboard cover, collapsible steering wheel, concave control knobs, less protruding and therefore less dangerous locks, window cranks and door handles. You can also recognize the facelift by its chrome rearview mirror frame and sharper side mirrors, as well as fenders and side reflectors, three-point seat belts and matte horn ring.Back To Top
Even today Mercedes-Benz pride themselves for the superiority of their facelifted models. Simply speaking, after several years of production of a particular model have passed, the company already has a very clear idea of what might be improved on the car. Moreover, most of the technology developed and tested in the meantime also makes its way to the facelifted model.
Having in mind the fact that the 230 SL was already a great car and vastly popular, the 250 SL was even better. It was made of high quality parts with legendary reliability.
For the reference, a rear brake caliper stands at between about $380 and $500 for a genuine MB part, while a front one can be found for up to $100 cheaper. Timing chain with master link costs between $50 and $100 and shock absorbers are between $100 and $250.Back To Top
History & Development
After the immense improvements over the 190 SL that came with the 230 SL, the 250 SL was eagerly anticipated and welcomed. It first saw the light of day in December 1966 as a 1967 model. Its first public appearance was at the 1967 Geneva Motor Show and the last one was made in January 1968.
The initial model was very similar to the 230 SL, having the same suspension settings, but sporting better breaks, larger engine with more torque and an optional limited slip differential. The engine was paired with three transmission options ranging from a four-speed automatic to four-speed manual and five-speed ZF manual. The engine produced 150 horsepower and 159 lb-ft of torque providing the top speed of 121 miles an hour with combined fuel efficiency of 14.7 MPG US.
Even though it was produced for only a year, the 250 SL received a revamp in August 1967. The facelift included things like a much safer interior which was there to help the car deal with the new emissions and safety regulations from the United States. In short, this meant that all the knobs, levers, handles and paddings were softer, less protruding and generally safer. This new interior also included less chrome than the previous version, although it had more of it than the 1968 280 SL’s interior.
The Mercedes-Benz 250 SL was also the first W113 which offered a 2 + 2 body style called California Coupe. This version of the car featured a removable hard top, so it didn’t have a soft top well, which made it possible for the designers to include a rear bench.
The car was discontinued in early 1968 and replaced by the 280 SL whose production started in 1967, which means that old tree models of the W113 were produced in 1967. Practically speaking, the 250 SL was only a 1967 model, with 5,177 of them made that year and only 17 in 1966 and a mere 2 in 1968.Back To Top
Facts & Figures
|Body||Hard top convertible, soft top convertible, coupe|
|Engines||2,496 ccm SOHC l6 (150 hp)|
|Dimensions and weight|
|Weight||2,866 lb – 3,000 lb|
|Mercedes-Benz 250 SL years of production|
|250 SL||1966 – 1968|
|Mercedes-Benz 250 SL production numbers||250 SL 5,196 (1,761 US models)|