First Look: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

More weight was saved by opting to go with a softtop rather than a heavier retractable hard top like the one found on the SL-Class. Mercedes says the fully automatic top needs just 11 seconds to open and close and can be operated while driving at up to 31 mph. The three-layered fabric top is supported by a strong, yet light frame constructed with magnesium, steel, and aluminum. Engineers were also able to preserve precious trunk space with 6.1 cubic feet of capacity (with the roof either opened or closed) compared to the 6.2 cubic feet offered in the gullwing coupe. Customers can choose from three softtop colors (black, red, and beige), eight interior colors, and nine exterior colors, include the new AMG Sepang brown metallic paint featured in many of the press photos.

Also debuting on the roadster is a pair of toys from Mercedes' performance arm: the AMG Performance Media system and new Adaptive AMG Sport Suspension. The racing-inspired AMG Performance Media displays real-time information of lateral and liner acceleration, 0-60 mph acceleration time, and the temperature of vital engine fluids such as oil, coolant, and transmission. Additionally, the system can record and store lap times whenever owners take their SLS out on the track. The Adaptive AMG Sport suspension allows various damping levels with three modes: comfort, sport, and sport plus. The new suspension system is optional and will also be offered on the coupe in the near future.

Mercedes says the SLS AMG roadster is scheduled to make its international debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show this September. We should see the wingless SLS in U.S. showrooms shortly after.

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