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2012 Best Car To Buy Nominee: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

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There's every reason to love the newest gullwing, the SLS AMG. But what about it's drop-top Roadster variant? Is it still just as much fun without the doors? In a word, yes.

In fact, the SLS AMG Roadster may be even more fun, in a different way; where the gullwing  hardtop is built for purposeful speed while maintaining the flair of its bird-like doors, the open-topped Roadster is built first for style--and it lets the occupants not just see, but be seen, which is the most important part of many scenes.

Or, as our executive editor Marty Padgett put it in his first drive review in Monaco, "While track time suits a coupe, roadsters are built for sin--built to explore the heights of decadence, gluttony, and luxury."

Not that the Roadster gives up much in the way of performance. It's still capable of 3.8-second 0-60 mph runs, it's still powered by a dry-sump 571-horsepower V-8 engine, and it's still shod in acres of sticky rubber. It's also less than 100 pounds heavier than the coupe. Race Start, Ride Control, and Drive Unit functions all allow the performance to be turned up to 11, but also back down again, when it's more important to cruise ancient cobblestones on the way to the chateau than it is to set the next lap time.

Add in Mercedes' brilliant extras like Airscarf (a system that keeps the occupants comfortable in chilly weather even with the top down by piping warm air up through the seats), a Bang & Olufsen audio system, and designer-quality interiors available in a multitude of colors, stitching, and trims, and you're talking about a truly world-class roadster.

Will it have what it takes to be Motor Authority's 2012 Best Car To Buy? We'll be reviewing the other nominees for the title this week and announcing the winner next Monday, so stay tuned to find out.
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