A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster is the open-top version of one of the most sought-after supercars of the last ten years. It’s low, sleek and sufficiently dramatic to stop pedestrians in their tracks, but can it possibly compete with the SLS Coupe in the way in which it drives?
With no exaggeration, reviewers of the Roadster were quick to say that it's an even more convincing proposition to drive than the Coupe. The level of grip is remarkable and it stops with great conviction, but where the soft-top really presses its case is in the more subtle areas of its handling repertoire, many of which are a nudge ahead of its fixed-roof sibling. The engineering changes Mercedes made to counter the loss of rigidity caused by the absence of a fixed roof provide the SLS Roadster with an even more fluid feel to its handling. Pushed hard, it feels better balanced and, with its overzealous traction control turned off, it's nothing short of sublime. The SLS Roadster possesses better body control and greater levels of feedback than the Coupé, and if there is any lack of rigidity it is never obvious. AMG claims that minimal strengthening to the chassis was required to compensate for the lack of a roof, as the car was designed as a Roadster from the start. Tweaks include thicker aluminium for the sills, a reinforcing cross-member under the dash and another brace positioned behind the seats. The end result is a level of torsional stiffness that’s almost identical to that of the SLS Coupe.
It’s not lacking in performance, either. Boasting the same 6.2-litre V8 as the Coupe, the Roadster produces 563bhp and 479lb.ft of torque generating an official 0-62mph time of 3.8 seconds, while top speed is put at a bouffant-rearranging, 197mph. And without a roof to filter out its soundtrack, there are tiny nuances in the exhaust note evident in the Roadster that you just don’t notice with the Coupe, whether it be entertaining pops and crackles on a trailing throttle or the NASCAR-grade growl on a wide-open throttle.
But perhaps the Roadster’s most persuasive sales attribute is its striking appearance, which is nothing short of spectacular. The retro-inspired exterior, credited to British-born Mercedes designer Mark Featherstone, lends itself well to the open-top treatment, giving the roadster a satisfyingly low-slung look that sets it apart from its fixed-roof twin. AMG has also introduced optional electronically adjustable dampers on the Roadster, with three settings, Comfort, Sport and Sport +.
The car presented here is a 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster in simply ‘as new’ condition. The original owner was a friend of our vendor and when the Mercedes was offered for sale, knowing the car and its fastidious ownership, he jumped at the chance to buy it. As good as you’d expect, with just 3,997 miles (at the time of cataloguing) from new, an enviable spec and a full-service history with Mercedes-Benz.