Originally Posted by dodgethis9271
I really want an 86-89 560SL. I love SLs but this is my favorite because it combines the old looks with the newer safety.
I live in the US so the car has a driver airbag, ABS, and seat belt tensioners.
But my question is overall how safe would you say this car is? I know it's a sportscar and is farely small, but I was wondering how they held up. I know they don't have the new features like roll bars, but I want one badly, I just won't get one if they're not safe.
Obviously I doubt they're as safe as my 1987 300D, but what are some other views?
The R107 was the strongest and safest roadster of it`s day with margins of safety built into it well beyond the requirements of the legislation of the day.
strife2 has already pointed out that this was and remains a heavy piece of kit and not for nothing was it nicknamed the "panzerwagen" by the engineers that built it. In addition to the crumple zones the windscreen was one of the first to use a bonded glass screen which added to the rigidity of the structure and to increase passenger protection in the event of a roll-over.
In addition the car was the first to have it`s fuel tank located above the rear axle and Mercedes` famous ribbed taillights designed to reduce grime and dirt build first saw the light of day on the R107.
You are considering the 560SL which was one of the final year models and these cars all enjoyed larger and more efficient brakes and came with ABS as standard together with seat-belt tensioners. I would be amazed if you could not also find a 560SL with an airbag fitted as well.
So in all I think you will find that the 560SL would be a pretty good choice on safety grounds and every bit as good if not superior to your 1987 300D.
One obvious caveat is that however well DB made these cars they are still minimally eighteen years old and they would need to have been properly maintained otherwise there is bound to be a deterioration in the car`s ability to provide protection. How good is a 20 year-old airbag? Has it been serviced...etc.
These are great cars and I am sure you will not be disappointed if you buy a nice one.