Driven To Write descends into facelift hell. Pray for us.
Today’s foray into facelift hades also stems from recent past. The original 2003 R230 SL series was, (like most Mercedes’ of its era), a good 35% less attractive than its far more comely (R129) forebear. Nevertheless, amongst the less than stellar offerings emerging from Sindelfingen under design chief, Professor Peter Pfeiffer during the post-Sacco era, the R230 in its original form was at least cohesive.
In the fond past things would have been left well alone; Mercedes-Benz previously not being in the habit of carrying out anything but the most perfunctory of facelifts. Such things would once have been beneath them, but by 2008 Mercedes were firmly in the fashion business. In order to bring the SL into line with the new corporate look, a more important looking nose was grafted on, and there’s really no gentle way of saying this – it was frightful. With Pfeiffer’s retirement that year, this facelift was not much of a swansong. But then, his output didn’t amount to much of a legacy either. As a statement of intent however, it was profoundly eloquent. Gorden Wagener’s current ‘dona es requiem’ demonstrating the whole SL concept is well overdue a decent burial – or a total reinvention.