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Future models - Mercedes-AMG - GT - Roadster

Paris show: Mercedes-AMG peels the GT

Another one: Mercedes keeps the cabrios coming, this time with the AMG GT Roadster that is set to take centre stage at the Paris motor show.

AMG GT Roadster goes public as Mercedes shifts into drop-top overdrive

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Mercedes-AMG logo15 Sep 2016

MERCEDES-AMG has drawn back the curtain of secrecy from its upcoming GT Roadster ahead of this month’s Paris motor show, revealing that the rear-wheel-drive two-seater will come in two blown V8-powered flavours, including one that bristles with go-fast bits from the eye-watering AMG GT R Coupe.

Continuing the three-pointed star company’s avalanche of fresh-air models that in recent times have included the SL, S-Class Cabrio, SLC and C-Class Cabrio, the drop-top version of Affalterbach’s two-door GT will go after Porsche’s 911 Cabriolet and Maserati’s GranCabrio when it lands in Australia in the second half of 2017.

Although Australian pricing and other details will be announced closer to launch, Mercedes-AMG has confirmed that in Europe the roadster range will kick off with the GT Roadster armed with 350kW of power and 630Nm of torque from its twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8.

Mated to a transaxle-mounted seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, this mid-front-mounted engine powers the Roadster from zero to 100km/h in 4.0 seconds.

Not enough? The flagship GT C Roadster uses a similar powertrain but boosted to a healthier 410kW and 680Nm – just short of the recently announced GT R Coupe’s 430kW and 700Nm.

This slices 0.3 seconds from the 0-100kmh sprint time, to 3.7 seconds, which makes it faster than all Porsche 911 Cabriolet variants except the full-house Turbo (3.1s) and Turbo S (3.0s) that are priced north of $400,000.

Both GT Roadster variants are said to be capable of more than 300km/h, with the C Roadster (sorry, we don’t know what C stands for, either), topping out at an alleged 316km/h.

Like the upper 911 variants and the new AMG GT R Coupe, the AMG GT Roadster C gets fat rear haunches – 57mm wider than the standard fare – housing wider rear wheels with 305/30 tyres for a wider track while also hiding mechanical goodies from the GT R such as active rear steering and locking differential.

To cut weight, the GT Roadster employs a light cloth folding roof mounted on a lightweight frame of magnesium, steel and aluminium that opens and closes in about 11 seconds at up to 50km/h.

Like its GT Coupe counterpart, the body-work is an exotic mix of magnesium, aluminium and composite materials to save further weight. The bootlid of the Roadster gets a world-first Benz high-tech composite boot lid that is said to combine extreme light weight with strength and slick finish.

Extra strengthening to make up for the absence of the roof includes more rigid side skirts, as well as reinforcement under the dash and behind the seats.

The Roadster rides on double-wishbone suspension that, in the case of the C, includes AMG’s adaptive damping suspension.

While the GT Roadster gets four selectable driving modes – Comfort, Sport and Sport+ and Individual (a driver-selected set-up) – the GT C also gets AMG’s Race mode for thrill seekers.

In the sportier modes, two variable adjustable flaps in the sports exhaust open to deliver an exhaust note that AMG describes as “far more emotive”. This exhaust will be an option on the standard GT Roadster too.

Both GT Roadster variants gets the GT R’s active air management grille louvres that open and close according to engine cooling need, thus improving aerodynamic flow for much of the time. As well, a pop-up bootlid spoiler comes with both variants.

While some luxury convertibles use a pop-up roll bar for crash protection, the GT Roadster has fixed bars behind each of the two seats that, for the first time on an AMG vehicle, can be equipped with Mercedes’ Airscarf neck warmer as an option.

Nappa leather upholstery is standard fare on the upper variant, while both come with Burmester audio.

Three soft-top colours – black, beige and red – can be matched with 11 exterior colours and 10 interior trim designs.

The Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster will go public in Paris on September 29.

It is unclear if Australia will get both variants. Currently, Mercedes-AMG sells just one coupe version – the GT S – here, although Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific is expected to add the GT R in mid-2017.

Launched in Australia in early 2015, the GT S Coupe has 104 sales in Australia, about a third of the volume of the Porsche 911 that has the advance of a full range and long legacy.

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