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Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster announced

Full details of 563bhp soft-top supercar

Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster

Mercedes is set to launch the SLS AMG Roadster in late 2011

Mercedes-Benz has revealed more details of the new SLS AMG Roadster – the forthcoming soft-top version of the SLS AMG supercar.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster is just 40kg heavier than the existing coupé, and has the same 563bhp V8 under the bonnet. That means it’s capable of 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 196mph.

To see the cars the SLS AMG Roadster is set to compete with, take a look at our sports cars and convertibles reviews.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: 11-second soft-top

Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster

The SLS AMG Roadster loses the coupé’s gullwing doors but gains a fabric roof

It’s taken more than just a roof conversion to turn the Mercedes SLS into a Roadster.

The coupé’s ‘gullwing’ sobriquet comes from the famous upwards-opening doors of the 1950s SL300 original, which have been carried over into the modern version. The Roadster replaces the fixed roof with a soft-top, necessitating a change to doors that open in a conventional fashion.

The new three-layer fabric roof has a flush-mounted glass rear window for maximum refinement, and a frame constructed from a mixture of magnesium, aluminium and steel for reduced weight. It can be operated at speeds up to 30mph and takes just 11 seconds to open or close.

Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster

The SLS AMG has amazing performance, but costs will be astronomical

Without a fixed roof to add structural rigidity, Mercedes has reinforced the SLS Roadster’s aluminium space-frame chassis – but in doing so has only added 2kg to the weight of this area of the car. Overall, the Roadster is 40kg heavier than the gullwing model, and retains a low centre of gravity.

Which? members can read the full review of the Mercedes SLS AMG. If you’re not already a member, you can take a trial of Which? for just £1.

Practical performance? Relatively speaking…

Further impressive practicalities include the boot, which remains the same size and shape with the roof up or down. At 173 litres, it is also just three litres shy of the coupé’s 176-litre space.

Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster

The SLS AMG Roadster will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September

Given this is a supercar, however, you might be more interested in the engine. The Roadster uses the same 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 as the gullwing, mounted behind the front wheels in a front-mid-engine layout, and driving the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission. The 196mph top speed is electronically limited, incidentally.

Structural changes include a new crossmember behind the seats, supporting the fixed roll-over protection system and accommodating the subwoofer for the powerful Bang & Olufsen stereo. The SLS Roadster also has no less than eight airbags, as well as sophisticated three-stage stability control.

Arrives in the UK November 2011

Full UK specification and pricing are yet to be announced, but you can expect to pay upwards of £175,000 when the SLS Roadster arrives here this November.

Despite the hefty price tag, there are still quite a few tasty items relegated to the options list – including the more powerful ceramic brakes and adjustable ‘AMG Ride Control’ suspension with Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus settings.

Claimed fuel economy is 21.4mpg according to the usual EU testing measures, with 308g/km CO2 emissions.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster makes its official public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

If you’re thinking about getting a new set of wheels, read our buying a car advice guide to make sure you make the right choice.


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