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Mercedes-Benz Offers Limited-Edition SL500 Models to Commemorate Mercedes Championships

13 January 1997

              Mercedes-Benz Offers Second Limited-Edition SL500
          Thirty SL500 Models to Commemorate Mercedes Championships

    MONTVALE, N.J., Jan. 10 -- Mercedes-Benz of North America
will offer a limited-production run for its Southern California dealers of 30
special 1997 SL500 coupe/roadster models to commemorate its sponsorship of the
Mercedes Championships at La Costa Resort and Spa, January 6-10, 1997.  The
limited-edition cars are similar to the special SL models on display at the
Los Angeles and Detroit Auto Shows.
    The Mercedes Championships at La Costa Resort & Spa, in Carlsbad, Calif.,
is open only to those players who have won a PGA TOUR tournament during the
previous 12 months of play.  Assembling the best-of-the-best in the sport, it
attracts reigning PGA TOUR champions from every official TOUR tournament
including The Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship, as well as the British
Open winner.
    Already one of the world's most distinctive sports cars, the SL500 becomes
even more so with the addition of the La Costa package.  The calypso green
exterior paint (exclusive among the SL line to this special edition) is teamed
with a stunning black and calypso green leather interior for a visual impact
not soon forgotten by those who see the car.  La Costa Edition identification
includes special badging and a shift knob insert.  Cost for the La Costa
Package is $5,000.
    The La Costa Edition SL500 is the second special-edition SL that Mercedes
has offered this year; in May, 40 "U.S. 500" SL500 models were produced to
mark the company's participation in the inaugural IndyCar U.S. 500 race, and
the SL500's role as the pace car.
    Inside the La Costa Edition SL500, eucalyptus wood trim replaces the
walnut trim used in other SL models, and custom floormats add a further touch
of exclusivity.  Each person who purchases a La Costa Edition SL500 will
receive a commemorative La Costa box set, which includes a special embroidered
car cover, embossed leather portfolio, license plate, key fob and certificate
of authenticity.
    Each dealer in the Mercedes Southern California region will get one SL500
La Costa Edition to sell, with the remaining five used for promotional
purposes.  One of those will be given away in a sweepstakes, and another
donated to Divine Design for their Fantasy Auction. The other three will be
retailed after the promotional activities.
    "The Mercedes Championships attracts the best-of-the-best in golf," says
Michael Bassermann president and CEO, Mercedes-Benz of North America, "and the
Mercedes La Costa Edition SL500 celebrates the best-of-the-best in style,
performance and exclusivity in grand touring cars."
    In addition to items specific to the La Costa Edition, each of these
special SL500 models will be equipped with some of the most desirable SL
options, including the Sport Package, itself a limited-availability feature
that combines a "Plus Two" 18-inch wheel and tire package with aerodynamic
enhancements.  Half of the SL500 La Costa Editions are also equipped with the
optional xenon high-intensity gas-discharge headlights, and all have heated,
multicontour seats.
    The Mercedes SL500 La Costa Editions also feature the revolutionary safety
feature, the Electronic Stability Program (ESP).  The breakthrough safety
system helps drivers maintain directional stability -- especially on slippery
or gravel-covered roads -- by preventing oversteer (rear-end "fishtailing") or
understeer (front-end "plowing").  ESP can sense impending loss of control --
at the front or rear end -- and momentarily apply the brake on one wheel to
restore stability, something that even a skilled driver cannot do.
    The La Costa Edition SL500 will leave its mark for more than a unique and
striking appearance.  The SL500 is already world renowned for its unparalleled
combination of style, performance, luxury and safety.  Driving pleasure is
assured by a 315 horsepower 5.0-liter DOHC aluminum engine and an electronic
five-speed transmission that responds to both driving conditions and an
individual's driving style.  An SL500 can accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour
in 6.4 seconds.
    A body structure that's among the strongest of any open car gives the SL a
balance of world-class handling and exceptional ride comfort not usually found
in a sports car.  New for 1997 is an optional Panorama hardtop, made from
heat-reflecting tinted glass.  With the Panorama roof, the SL driver and
passenger can enjoy an open-air view of the sky all year long, regardless of
the weather.   All SL models come with a removable aluminum hardtop as
standard equipment.
    Among the many luxury features standard on all SL models are one-touch
convertible roof, a Bose(R) sound system with Acoustimass(R) bass module and a
three-position electronic memory system for the 10-way seats, tilt-telescopic
steering wheel, shoulder-belt height and exterior mirrors.  The automatic
climate-control system incorporates an electrostatic air filter that removes
pollen and dust from incoming air.  A new standard rain sensor activates and
controls the speed of the windshield wipers.
    Door-mounted side airbags, first introduced on the 1996 SL roadsters and
E-Class sedans, are part of the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS), which
includes full frontal airbags and emergency tensioning retractors that tighten
the seatbelts in a collision.  Another standard SL safety feature is an
automatic rollbar which deploys and locks in place in a third of a second if
sensors detect an impending rollover.  Normally part of the rear-compartment
surround structure, the padded, leather-covered bar can also be raised and
lowered by a switch on the console.

CONTACT: Mercedes Benz of North America, 888-MBNEWS-1