AMG roadster's a

red-hot rocket

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG roadster, open
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG roadster

OPEN-TOP sports cars don't come much quicker - or more stylish - than the new Mercedes SLS AMG roadster.

The wraps are finally off the much-awaited stablemate to the SLS Coupe following slightly disguised versions of the car being revealed last month.

Visually there's little to distinguish between the two models other than that the roadster has dispensed with the striking gullwing doors of its sibling.

Performance from the 6.2-litre V8 engine is stunning - and also identical to the coupe's figures of 0-62 in 3.8 seconds and top speed of a governed 197mph. Economy is also the same at an average 21.4 miles per gallon and 308g/km of emissions.

The other lightning fast statistic is the speed at which the three-layered fabric roof - available in red, black or beige - retracts in just 11 seconds, and it can be operated at the flick of a switch on the move at up to 30mph.

In order to achieve handling dynamics identical to those of the Coupe, the roadster has two features designed to increase bodyshell rigidity.

The cross-member carrying the dashboard has extra supporting struts, and a mounting stay between the soft top and the fuel tank makes the rear axle even more rigid, so preventing vibration.

Standard kit includes black designo leather, AMG sports seats with heating, a slot-in glass draught-stop, DVD player, anti-theft alarm system with tow-away protection and interior monitoring, plus auto climate control and the KEYLESS-GO starting function.

Optional extras include the new SLS AMG ‘ride control' sports suspension with electronically controlled damping, which allows the driver to choose his own set-up of either Comfort, Sport or Sport plus.

And the SLS also has Mercedes' Airscarf system which blows warm air onto the passengers' necks.

The roadster will make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September before hitting the streets later in the autumn at £170,000.

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