SLS AMG Roadster undergoes testing

Drop-top version of the V8-powered Mercedes SLS AMG revealed ahead of the car’s September debut.

imageMercedes has released pictures of a lightly disguised version of its SLS AMG Roadster undergoing testing, before the car makes its official debut at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

Like the coupé upon which it is based, the Roadster has been developed independently by AMG, the high-performance tuning arm of Mercedes.

However, it trades the supercar’s “gullwing” doors for a fabric roof that can fold away in just 11 seconds while travelling at speeds up to 30mph.

It shares the same 563bhp naturally aspirated V8 engine, 6.2-litres in capacity and capable of powering the Roadster to an electronically limited top speed of 197mph.

Mercedes says that a Roadster version of the SLS was taken into consideration when designing the coupé, allowing AMG to factor in the requirements of an open-top version when it created the car’s lightweight aluminium spaceframe. The result is that the overall weight of the bodyshell has increased by just 2kg, from 241- to 243kg.

Measures to increase rigidity in the drop-top version include additional supporting struts (at the windscreen and centre tunnel) for the cross-member that carries the dashboard, plus a strut mounting stay between the soft-top roof and fuel tank.

The roof itself consists of three layers of fabric and folds away in a Z-shape behind the two seats. The test program for the roof’s electric motors includes 20,000 closing cycles on a stationary rig, as well as 2,500 while on the move.

The SLS AMG Roadster will make its debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show on September 13.

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