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Mercedes Releases Details on SLS AMG Roadster

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author photo by Autotrader May 2011

Get ready to start dreaming. While Mercedes-Benz has dropped a few official photos of its long-awaited 2012 SLS AMG Roadster, the German automaker has been conspicuously light on the details – until now. Mercedes finally confirmed specs of the open-top supercar this weekend, putting to rest considerable speculation about its release date, convertible top technology and performance – especially compared to its stunning hardtop sibling, the SLS AMG Gullwing.

For enthusiasts, the big question is whether the droptop will lose any of the Gullwing's pure driving focus and hard-edged performance. According to Mercedes, the answer is a definite no. Powered by the same 563-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 found in the coupe, the SLS Roadster gains just 88 pounds over its coupe counterpart – and Mercedes says much of that weight comes from reinforcements added to the chassis to ensure the handling remains sharp. Most importantly, gear changes still come from Mercedes' lightning-fast 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, allowing the SLS Roadster to race from 0-to-60 in just 3.7 seconds.

Those looking for a comfortable cruiser may be more curious about the SLS Roadster's most obvious new feature: its convertible top. According to Mercedes, the top – which takes just 11 seconds to open or close – is available in black, red, or beige and can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph. The SLS Roadster's roof is operated by the push of a button and doesn't require any manual latching or unlatching.

Both driving purists and automotive connoisseurs are likely curious about two crucial details: base price and release date. Mercedes-Benz says the SLS Roadster will arrive in dealers this fall – but they're still mum on the price. With the coupe starting at around $183,000, we expect the Roadster to be priced somewhere near the $200,000 mark – a hefty sum, but in the ballpark of major competitors like the Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet ($172,100), Ferrari California ($192,000), and Audi R8 V10 Spyder ($162,700). At that price, it's likely that most of us will be dreaming for a while.

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Mercedes Releases Details on SLS AMG Roadster - Autotrader