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Soft-top SL(S) supercar revealed

2011-05-30 07:46

FIRST AMONGST EQUALS: With its new roadster, Mercedes-Benz’s homage to the brand’s original SL-supercar nameplate is now complete. Image gallery

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Model SLS AMG Roadster
Engine 6.2l V8
Power 420kW @ 6 800rpm
Torque 650Nm 4 750rpm
Transmission Seven-speed DCT
Zero To Hundred 3.8 sec
Top Speed 317km/h
Weight 1 660kg
Front Suspension Aluminium double-wishbone suspension, coil springs
Rear Suspension Aluminium double-wishbone suspension, coil springs
If you like the SLS, yet can’t stand its gullwing doors, AMG’s revealed its soft-top solution for potential owners of Mercedes-Benz’s supercar.

Set to debut (publically) at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show in September, the SLS AMG Roadster does without its coupe sibling’s signature gullwing doors and features a retractable fabric roof.

Available in three colours (black, red or beige), the soft-top does look a trifle odd raised, yet when retracted it reveals the drop-top SLS to be every bit as striking as its coupe sibling.

In terms of configuration the conventional swing doors and obligatory bodyshell strengthening (required by a soft-top conversion to ensure optimal torsional rigidity) hikes kerb weight by 40kg, whilst reducing luggage capacity by a negligible 3-litres.

The fabric-roof takes 11 seconds to deploy (or retract) and can be actuated at speeds of up to 48km/h – though why anybody would want to fold or raise a soft-top at nearly 50km/h is questionable.


All told, the design compromises required to convert the SLS from coupe to roadster have been very slight and should hardly debit performance. Despite being 40kg heavier (and powered by the same 420kW naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8) Mercedes-Benz’s claimed benchmark 0-100km/h acceleration time for the soft-top car is identical (3.8 sec) to its fixed-roof sibling.

The roadster’s top speed is limited (like the coupe) to 317km/h in the interest of tyre longevity.

To ensure excellent all-round dynamics, the new SLS roadster features electronically-controlled adaptive AMG dampers at all four wheel corners and an AMG performance media system, able to measure and relay all manner of telemetric vehicle data, such as lap times and standing acceleration statistics.

The SLS roadster is due to go on sale during the start of the fourth quarter of 2011, coinciding (strangely) with the traditional southern (instead of northern) hemisphere summer driving season; despite AMG's most important markets being located in the northern hemisphere.

Mercedes-Benz’s product planners (and AMG’s Affalterbach-based craftspeople) have put in the hours and in so doing managed to best all their rivals (Ferrari’s 458, McLaren’s MP4-12C, Pagani’s Huayra and Lamborghini Aventador) by revealing a soft-top version of their signature supercar first.

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