Mercedes SLS loses its roof


   I can think of only one reason anyone would buy a new 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster – if they  already had a breathtakingly gorgeous gullwing-doored SLS Coupe in their garage.

Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster - Howard Walker - Palm Beach Illustrated

   Make no mistake, I love this canvas-topped version of the Coupe. Press a button and in 11 seconds you’re feeling the sun on your face and the wind in your follicles. What’s not to love?

   But like the original 1955 Merc 300SL ‘Gullwing’, the original gullwing SLS is set to become one of those classics that’ll be commanding mega-bucks at the old car collector auctions in 50 years time. That’s if we still have the gasoline to run one.

Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster

   Having spent some quality time behind the wheel of the SLS Coupe, I can tell you there is nothing quite like the feeling of pulling-up outside some fancy restaurant, hitting a button and watching those two roof-hinged doors soar skywards.

   Pedestrians risk serious neck injury by spinning their heads to see this piece of automotive ballet.

   But we all love convertibles, especially here in the Sunshine State. And this SLS AMG Roadster will feed our love affair admirably.

 Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster - interior

  The three-layer fabric top – choose from black, red or beige – can be raised or lowered at speeds up to 31mph and it scissor-folds neatly into a well behind the seat. Trunk space stays the same as the Coupe’s at 6.1 cubic feet.

   And there are one or two unique features that come with the Roadster. Like leather-trimmed safety roll-over bars, and Merc’s AirScarf heating system that blows warm air on to your neck to help keep you toasty.

   You’ll appreciate that in August when the humidity’s at 300 per cent.

Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster

   Apart from those, the Roadster shares much of its hardware with the Coupe, notably the thundering AMG-tuned 6.2-liter 563-horse V8 and seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

   We’re still waiting for an official price for the Roadster but it should come in close to the $185,750 Mercedes asks for the SLS Coupe. It’ll hit dealerships in the Fall.

   That’s plenty of time for you to save-up for both.


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