May 30th, 2011

Unboxing: Mercedes SLS Roadster

Say hello to the SLS AMG Roadster, the sexiest thing to ever have its wings clipped.

For a convertible the SLS roadster has had fairly minor tweaks made to it since having its gull wings pinioned, mainly because a soft-top version of the SLS has always been in the pipeline. But this doesn’t mean that the SLS has got away without adding a bit of bulk.

Cutting the roof off adds weight because rigidity needs to be made up elsewhere. Mercedes managed this by strengthening the aluminium spaceframe structure and adding extra bracing behind the dashboard, in the side sills and behind the cabin where a strut between the soft top and the fuel tank has been added. The heavy hydraulic motors for the roof then had to be put in giving the Roadster a kerb weight of 1660kg – making it 40kg heavier than its coupe counterpart.

The fabric soft top is available in three colours; black, red and beige. It doesn’t require any strenuous effort, just a flick of a button and eleven seconds of your time. It can be opened and closed while on the move at speeds up to 31 mph just in case it starts to hammer it down in the centre of Monaco.

The soft-top has one major benefit – unprecedented access to the awesome 6.2 V8, one of the best sounding V8s around. The engine puts out 563bhp at 6800rpm, and 479 lb ft of torque at 4750rpm. Having the roof chopped means that top speed is sub 200mph (197mph) but can reach 0-62mph time in 3.8 seconds.

To be honest, you won’t really care about the loss in top speed because if you own the SLS roadster you will never get there. Instead you will just get to 150 odd then hit the brakes and blip through the gears on the down change to hear the V8 bark anger at your ears from the exhaust pipes.

If you want a bit of this topless action you will have to wait until November when the SLS roadster arrives at your local Mercedes dealer. Prices for the UK market are yet to be announced, but an SLS coupe currently starts at £168,395 and you can expect to pay a couple of grand more for the pleasure of being able to hear that noise.

If you do decide to buy one, we recommend making the most of Mercedes’ ‘air scarf’ and only putting the roof up when it is raining really really hard.

Words: Rowan Horncastle

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