Frankfurt: Mercedes SLS Roadster


Taking the roof off a car whose chief characteristic is 'gullwing doors' may be a risky venture, however Mercedes has pulled it off with the SLS Roadster. Literally.

The only other major change made to the SLS is much improved headroom, when weather permits. The dry-sumped, handbuilt 6.3-litre V8 is carried over, pumping out the same 571hp and 479lb ft.

The roof is a lightweight fabric number, which can be raised or lowered at speeds up to 31mph in just eleven seconds - that's three seconds faster than the Ferrari 458 Spider also debuting here at Frankfurt. And about the only meaningful comparison we can make from the show floor.

Other notable new features include, for the first time on the SLS, the option of three-way Ride Control adjustable dampers, controlled by the familiar AMG Drive Unit. The Ride Control dampers will also be available as an extra on the SLS coupe but if you prefer a more hardcore vibe the gullwing still offers the option of an AMG Performance Suspension fixed-rate set-up with dampers 30 per cent firmer and springs 10 per cent stiffer than standard.


AMG Performance Media also debuts on the SLS Roadster. It's a motorsport inspired multimedia system that offers various telemetric displays (lateral and linear acceleration, lap times, etc) and high-speed web access. In all senses of the word, we imagine.

Here at PH we're of course proud to drive top down no matter how cold it is, so SLS Roadster customers might want to check the optional neck warming 'Airscarf' box too.



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Comments (31) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Beefmeister 23 Sep 2011



    hehe

  • JohnG1 16 Sep 2011

    Ozzie Osmond said:
    You're unlikely to find a manual in any high torque car these days. Those which do have a manual box are almost universally criticised for having a heavy clutch and/or a clunky gearchange.

    Auto box of any kind allows cunning "torque management" by the computer during gearshifts. In basic terms, this stops the engine ripping the clutch/transmission to pieces. Something which a human operator in a manual car finds remarkably easy to achieve!
    Sad but true. But for pretty much everyone the pdk style box will give better performance than a manual.


  • Ozzie Osmond 15 Sep 2011

    You're unlikely to find a manual in any high torque car these days. Those which do have a manual box are almost universally criticised for having a heavy clutch and/or a clunky gearchange.

    Auto box of any kind allows cunning "torque management" by the computer during gearshifts. In basic terms, this stops the engine ripping the clutch/transmission to pieces. Something which a human operator in a manual car finds remarkably easy to achieve!

  • kambites 15 Sep 2011

    Yeah, I think their rarity means that manuals have a sort of kudos in America that they will never achieve here as long as they're the norm.

  • Zwoelf 15 Sep 2011

    kambites said:
    A bit like asking the average American to comment on the shift action of a manual box. hehe
    I agree generally, however - the US market managed to get itself a manual E60 M5 due to demand, Europe didn't...

    It was critically panned by the Euro press that got to drive it though. I take the point that's not the "average" American.

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