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Mercedes' "Secret" SLS AMG Roadster Goes "Official"

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On: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 9:58AM | By: Andrew W Davis


Mercedes' "Secret" SLS AMG Roadster Goes "Official"

If you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting until Mercedes-Benz got off the pot and finally showed “official” images of its gullwing-less neo/wannabe gullwing, your wait is over.

Seems they really don’t want to actually sell the things, however, as evidenced by what’s actually in the official pics: a white-on-white-with-just-a-few-tiny-non-white-bits car on a similarly-shaded stage.

Unless they all went color blind after working on the eye-searing E-Cell and couldn’t help it, can you think of a reason for using a color even Maytag stays away from these days?

They even went so far as to park the “old” vertical-door SLS AMG—painted arrest-me red—behind the White-Out-themed Roadster. If they’re trying to be sneaky about encouraging you to go gullwing, they’re about as subtle as an RPG doorbell.

[Actually, that’s not entirely true. They do have images that don’t feature a white car, but the vehicle in those pics is baby-droppings brown and I’m refusing to use even one of those as the white pictures are bad enough.]

Why am I harping on paint colors? Because you know everything there is to know about this vehicle already. In fact, even before the SLS AMG coupe was officially shown to the world’s motoring press it was pretty clear that there’d be a top-down version.

But here are some “confirmed” tidbits that might interest you:

  • Unlike the original 300 SL “gullwing” the 2012 SLS AMG Roadster will be more expensive than the coupe version by around $20k (when on sale “this fall” its MSRP should be around $205k)
  • At 3,600 lbs. the Roadster is said to be just 88 lbs. heavier than the coupe thanks to the three-color—black, tan or red—three-layer folding cloth top’s use of aluminum and magnesium frame bits in addition to traditional steel
  • Everything oily and electronic is carried over change-free, including the engine, transmission, brake systems—standard and optional carbon-ceramic—suspension, etc., so the performance numbers are basically unchanged, including a 3.7-second zero-to-60 mph run and 197 mph top speed

Whathaschanged in the standard-equipment department are some Roadster-only features like—obviously—front-hinged doors, seats that sport Mercedes’ “Airscarf” neck-defroster, a “cabin-monitoring” alarm system, detachable glass wind-blocker and reconfigured airbags plus a Roadster-only (for now) “AMG Performance Media” driver-configurable display-interface system.

Though production of the original 300 SL coupe (1954-1957) and roadster (1957-1963) didn’t overlap, both styles of SLS will share showroom space, provided, of course, that any sit unsold.

So here’s what I recommend: All Mercedes-Benz dealers who actually want to sell the Roadster should order theirs in the hottest, flashiest paint colors available like their coupe versions so that the folding-top model has at least a fighting chance of attracting buyers.

Personally, I’d want mine in Silver Arrow/German national racing color silver, but I’m a traditionalist. And I still believe that if the top goes down my interest in it goes up.

Problem is, I can’t affordanynew Mercedes model and don’t look good enough in a dress to attract someone who would buy one for me.

Wait. Maybe the refrigerator white thing will work in my favor. After all, if Mercedes can’t move them they’ll be available at a discount, right? Hang on a sec. Where did I put those awful brown Roadster pics?...


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