New models - Mercedes-Benz - SLS AMG - Roadster
Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster from $487,500
Benz SLS open-top supercar to start below $500K mark at launch in January 2012
1 Nov 2011
By TERRY MARTIN
MERCEDES-BENZ Australia/Pacific has announced a $487,500 manufacturer’s list price for the SLS AMG Roadster, placing an $18,680 premium for the V8-powered open-top supercar over the gullwing coupe.
Due in local showrooms in January, the less-than-expected starting price for the topless SLS ensures it is competitive with exotic convertibles such as Porsche’s range-topping 911 Turbo S ($442,800), the Ferrari California ($459,650) and Lamborghini Gallardo ($515,000).
As GoAuto reported from the Frankfurt motor show in September, when the SLS Roadster made its world debut, the new addition to the SLS range – which will expand further to include an all-electric E-Cell version in 2013 – features a folding soft-top housed behind the seats in a space-saving Z-formation.
The three-piece roof will open or close at the push of a button in just 11 seconds, at speeds of up to 50km/h.
Although it carries a 40kg weight penalty over the $468,820 SLS coupe, the roadster is based on the same lightweight aluminium spaceframe chassis and, with the same hand-built 420kW/650Nm 6.2-litre normally aspirated V8 engine, has equivalent 0-100km/h acceleration of 3.8 seconds and a 317km/h electronically limited top speed.
Official Australian economy figures are still to be published, but the comparable European test regime hands the roadster 13.2L/100km fuel consumption on the combined cycle and 308g/km of CO2.
Australian-spec models will include eight airbags and a ‘Blind Spot Assist’ system as standard.
The former includes adaptive twin front airbags for the driver and passenger, a knee airbag for each, two side airbags integrated into the seats and two window airbags deploying from the door beltlines.
Blind Spot Assist, meanwhile, is a visual and acoustic warning system that uses the short-range sensors of the ‘Parktronic’ system to detect vehicles in the driver’s blind spot.
A red triangle appears in the relevant exterior mirror if the system registers a vehicle in the blind spot, while an audible warning sounds if the driver activates the indicators.
Other safety features include automatic rollover bars to protect the occupants in the event of a crash, while creature comforts should run to Mercedes’ now-familiar ‘Airscarf’ system, which blows warm air around the head and neck from adjustable vents in the head restraints.
Also par for the course will be a glass wind-blocker, black leather interior, heated sports seats, a high-grade audio system, keyless entry and start, an alarm and automatic climate-control air-conditioning.
As we’ve reported, the coupe was the first car produced from the ground up by Mercedes-AMG GmbH and the roadster version was designed and developed in parallel, although it has taken almost two years longer to make it into production.
Available in black, red and beige, the three-layered fabric top has a frame made from magnesium, steel and aluminium to keep the weight and centre of gravity low, while the single-layer rear window is bonded into place and heated.
Mercedes-AMG claims there is a flush, gap-free transition between the outer roof skin and the rear window to keep wind noise to a minimum, while a continuous, flexible water pocket running under the soft top catches rainwater and directs it to the underbody via two apertures on each side.
Sitting on 10-spoke matte-black 19-inch front rims and 20-inch rears – wearing 265/35 and 295/30 ZR rubber – the SLS AMG Roadster weighs just 1660kg despite being designed with additional bracing to ensure a rigid structure without the benefit of a roof.
According to Mercedes-AMG, the convertible achieves the same level of driving dynamics as the coupe despite the lack of a fixed roof, thanks to thicker side skirts with more chambers, additional struts to support the dashboard cross-member against the windscreen frame and centre tunnel, a curved strut between the soft-top and the tank that reinforces the rear axle, and a reinforcing crossmember behind the seats to support the rollover protection system.
The company claims that these measures prevented unwanted vibrations, making it unnecessary to use the additional, weight-increasing vibration dampers often found in open-top sportscars.
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