<br> I've seen that the SL was improved over the years - some exterior body and trim changes, but also some major mechanical changes. I've heard the following:<br> <br> 1992 - more powerful engine<br> 1998 - first year of 3 valve engine<br> 1998-99 - 5 speed automatic<br> 200-2001 - AMG body cladding standard<br> 2001 - AMG wheels standard<br> <br> I've also heard the 3 valve engine is less powerful, and is basically a 'smog' motor, as opposed to the late 4 valve engine that made more power, but wasn't super LEV. True, the 3 valve cars are a little quicker, but I suspect this is due to the 5 speed tranny. I've also noted lower build quality on later cars. My friend has a 2001 and the orange peel in the paint is shocking for a car that expensive! <br> <br> My point is, I get the feeling that a '97 is the year to own- last year of the 4 valve, yet latest and best to date.<br> <br> Anyone have any thoughts on this?<br> <br> I get the feeling that MBZ had to hold the line on price, so the cars were 'decontented' In fact, I think this is true of all MBZ products, especially the C class, but that's another topic.