Boasting an AMG-designed chassis, body and powertrain, the SLS Roadster is officially considered the “second” car to be independently developed by AMG. The SLS Roadster is, obviously, based very heavily on its gullwing sibling.
Under both hoods
The SLS AMG’s compact cloth fabric top was chosen for three reasons: Its light weight compared to a folding metal roof, its trim folded dimensions and its unique style. Capable of stowing away in just 11 seconds, it can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph.
Unlike the gullwing, the Roadster’s doors open traditionally with little pomp and circumstance. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t impressive inside.
Under the roof, things are mostly standard SLS AMG. That’s to say that the car draws inspiration from the original 300SL Gullwing of the 1950s, a legendary racing and road car that is highly valued by collectors today. The dashboard is retro-modern, with all the latest Mercedes-Benz luxuries and high-grade materials and trim that can be tailored to an individual buyer’s tastes.
Its dashboard is aircraft-inspired, as well, thanks to the jet engine-resemblilng vent nozzles and the aircraft thrust control-shaped E-Select gear lever.
That lever helps fire up the AMG Speedshift DCT 7-speed automatic. With four modes – comfort, sport, sport+ and manual – the automatic can fire off shifts faster than any driver could. A Race Start function optimizes the car’s sophisticated traction control system and mechanical differential lock for optimal launches.
Motivating the SLS AMG is the division’s 6.3-liter V8, which puts out 563 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 479 lb-ft. of torque at 4,750 rpm. This thrust propels the SLS AMG to 60 mph in a mere 3.7 seconds and the car is electronically limited to an impressive 197 mph. As a result, both roadster and gullwing boast similar performance figures.
Designed to handle
Like the coupe, the SLS AMG Roadster is more than just an acceleration machine. A low-mounted engine with a dry sump system helps ensure optimal weight distribution and a nearly ground-level center of gravity.
The engine is front-mid mounted, meaning it lies as close to the center of the vehicle as possible, which helps AMG achieve a 47/53 weight distribution. A broad track – 66.2 inches up front and 65.1 inches out back – improves grip and control.
All four wheels hit the ground thanks to double wishbone suspensions with a track road, a Formula 1-derived technology.
Buyers can select either the standard sport-oriented suspension or a new Adaptive AMG Sport Suspension with three modes (comfort, sport and sport+). Each mode features its own shock tuning to alter the ride quality based on the type of driving desired.
The rear-wheel-drive roadster also offers optional ceramic brakes for optimal fade-free braking under extreme conditions.
Look for the SLS AMG Roadster to make its auto show debut later this year the Frankfurt Motor Show before it goes on sale worldwide.