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Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster: A Wingless Angel

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On: Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 10:26AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster:  A Wingless Angel

Sometimes when car companies decide to resurrect a car or a nameplate, it doesn't quite work out. It seems as if someone somewhere in marketing (who obviously is not a gearhead) just got the job, thanks to Monster.com, comes up with the idea to bring back a name in the history books with no real idea of what the original bearer of that name stood for.  

But for every modern Malibu SS, GTO, or Thunderbird, once in a while we get a car brought back that is arguably even better than the original. In 2010 we saw the most recent rendition of retro in the form of the undeniably elegant, yet extremely powerful Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Harking back to the 1950's 300SL, the modern form of the gullwing was every bit as breathtaking as the first specimen. Now, only a little more than a year later Mercedes will bring back yet another model for us to enjoy, in the form of the SLS AMG Roadster. This droptop beauty will mirror the late 50s version of that same venerable 300SL Roadster. 

The convertible will be almost an exact mechanical duplicate of the coupe: Using the same seven-speed semi-automatic transmission and powered by the identical 6.2 liter V8 producing 563-horsepower and 480-pound-feet of torque, the Roadster promises to still be a stormer like its hardtop sibling. It seems Mercedes did more than just chop the top off the gullwing to make the convertible. Apparently German engineers have been working at making the Roadster as rigid as possible for the past three years. Unlike convertibles of days gone by, the SLS Roadster doesn't add a ton of weight to make it topless. In doing this the tech guys managed to tack on only five extra pounds to the body shell of the convertible versus the coupe, and adds a total of only 88 pounds of extra heft, which should keep performance numbers up in the heroic category. Expect 60 mph to come up in about the same 3.7 second range and the quarter mile to blow by in 11.6 seconds @ 124 mph. The only significant change might be in top speed, where the 'vert will probably fall a few mph short of the coupe's electronically limited 197 mph (even though it shares the same electronic reins as the coupe).

The top itself is comprised of three-layer fabric and is operated electro-hydraulically through a switch inside the cabin. It takes a total of eleven seconds to lower said roof, which is nice if you get that last minute urge to show off at a traffic light on a sunny day. And who could blame you? The Roadster is every bit as gorgeous as the coupe, even if it doesn't sport the legendary roof-hinged doors. No price has been set for the Roadster, but expect it to be a at least a few thousand higher than the coupe's $188,750 base price. The SLS AMG Roadster is set to debut this September at the Frankfurt Auto Show, and let us be the first to say; this is one car we are happy to see brought back from the dead.

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RoadKill | 12:23PM (Fri, Jun 10, 2011)

Sweet ride, but I still like the Gull-Wing hard top better...

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