Spy Shots: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

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The 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is proving to be one of the more exciting offerings of the next couple of years, and as the spiritual successor to the renowned Gullwing 300SL of the 1950s it makes sense for the car to be offered in a roofless variant as well.

There’s no official word yet from the automaker but it’s expected that a SLS AMG Roadster should surface in the second half of the year as a 2012 model, although a debut at September's 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show is expected. This would put it on a timeline to debut around a year after its tin-top brother first when on sale--a period that matches the amount of time it took for the SLS AMG’s predecessor, the Mercedes-McLaren SLR, to get its own roadster variant.

As these latest spy shots clearly reveal, a soft-top roof like the one seen on the previous SLR Roadster has been picked. This will allow the car to be as light as possible, keeping it nimble around corners and quick on the straights.

With AMG already using its new 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine, which develops up to 571 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, there's chance the new SLS AMG Roadster may pick up this option. By comparison, the current naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 develops the same 571 horsepower rating but ‘only’ 479 pound-feet of torque.

While the SLS AMG hard-top tips the scales at 3,571 pounds, it’s likely the Roadster variant will be nudging the 3,800 pounds mark or possibly even more. This should put a slight damper on performance compared to the hard-top, but then again those buyers opting for the Roadster variant don't necessarily put this at the top of their list of priorities.

Interestingly, about two years after the release of the SLS AMG Roadster, Mercedes-Benz will also add an all-electric version of the car, which you can read about by clicking here. And hopefully there will also be an extreme AMG Black Series edition to really give the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini a scare.
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Comments (4)
  1. I think this car was always meant to be roofless... and would be a good idea since it's being catered for the uber-rich to probably offer it both as a soft and hard top. Honestly it's not really the gullwing doors that are the problem, it's that they forgot to design-in at least a small window ( for continuity ) to break-off the huge B-pillar that gives the car a very heavy awkward side-on look. They might say it's for added reinforcement to support the gullwings but it still looks odd.

  2. I think your weight increase estimate may be a bit excessive. I would have imagined that the substitution of the heavier gull wing for small probably lightweight doors and the torque tube backbone construction of the car would mean that minimal stiffening/bracing would be needed to make the SLS a drop top. If Mercedes go with a fabric roof also, i would be guessing that the weight penalty would be far less than the 150-200kg you have predicted.

  3. @ recordable media, according to the article, the weight difference will be about 230 pounds, which is just over 100kg. I think this is entirely reasonable.

  4. The SLS roadster will be a big sports car, but it won't be a direct replacement for the SLR convertible. It will cost about half as much and will be about 300 pounds lighter than that departed supercar, despite the SLR's generous use of ultra-expensive carbon-fiber panels. It likely will be about 200 pounds heavier than the fixed-roof SLS, however.

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