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.