2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: official details, photos, specs and price

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 27, 2011

This is the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster, the latest addition in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, which will be this autumn. As expected, the car is powered by the same engine found on the coupe version, which means that we will find the AMG 6.3-litre V8 front-mid engine with dry sump lubrication delivering 420 kW(571 hp) and 650 newton metres of torque and mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

The engine can push the car from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of 317 km/h (electronically limited).

The 2012 SLS AMG Roadster features a compact fabric soft top, which opens and closes in just eleven seconds, and can be operated on the move at speeds up to 50 km/h. Moreover, the vehicle features the new AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension with electronically controlled damping as an option.

The AMG DRIVE UNIT helps the driver to choose his own suspension setup: "Comfort", "Sport" and "Sport plus".

The “AMG Performance Media” features innovative multimedia system inspired by motorsport and offers numerous telemetric displays such as lateral and linear acceleration, various engine data and lap times on a racetrack, and also features high-speed mobile internet access.

Regarding the price, Mercedes-Benz says that the 2012 SLS AMG Roadster can be ordered from 1 June 2011 and costs € 195,160 (incl. 19% VAT).

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster is the successor of the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, making it the second dream car that the German automaker unveiled.

Gorden Wagener, Mercedes-Benz head of design, says that the athletic design -- a throwback to the Gullwing -- is very eye-catching. It does not matter if you have the roof closed or open, the SLS AMG Roadster is still an “impressive visual delight.” The car is a study in perfect proportions, with a long hood, short rear and the greenhouse that is placed near the end. You also have an automatically extending rear wing, short overhangs, wide track, and long wheel base, giving the car an air of genuine charisma and outstanding performance.

Moreover, you will appreciate the pronounced shoulder sections that look like tensed muscles and the large wheels with 10 spokes further bolstering the car's sheer power. And if color is more of your thing, then the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster will not disappoint when you opt for its AMG Sepang brown metallic finish.

The wheels may also be painted matte black and accented with a shiny rim flange. Looking at the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster from the outside, you cannot help but think of the 300 SL Roadster -- the classic dream car from the 50s. You have the wide radiator grille with a large iconic Mercedes star, the wing-shaped crossfins, and the fins that you can find on the hood and sides.

Getting inside the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

If you think that the exteriors are sleek and awesome, then prepare to be amazed when you see the inside. Sitting inside a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster is like sitting inside an airplane cockpit. In fact, there are several elements here that take inspiration from airplanes and aviation such as the wing-shaped dashboard and the adjustable air vents that look like those cruciform nozzles you find on jet engines. The center console sports a matte finish and is made out of solid metal, while the E-SELECT lever is shaped like a plane's thrust control.

The luxurious touches do not end there. You have the AMG Drive Unit, which allows for customized and personalized vehicle setup and which uses authentic carbon fiber. Meanwhile, the AMG Performance steering wheel features top quality leather lining and a subdued bottom rim section, allowing for more control. The look is topped off with solid metal lower steering wheel and shift paddles.

Get more out of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

The Roadster boasts an eight-cylinder engine that gives you 479 pound feet of torque and 563 hp of output. Feel free to keep the top up and savor the feel of the wind on your face as you enjoy the unique sound of the car’s engine. You can safely operate the soft top even while you are on the move, provided that you are not going more than 31 miles per hour. The soft top is made of fabric and comes in three different colors: beige, orange and red. These options will go nicely with any of the eight interior color choices and the nine exterior color options, so feel free to pick out your own color scheme!

Press Release

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

AMG is presenting a new dream-car: the 2012MY Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster. This super sports car thrills with a perfect combination of open-top driving pleasure, outstanding driving dynamics and sophisticated lightweight construction. The 2012 SLS AMG Roadster will make its U.S. debut in Fall 2011.

The technological highlights of the 2012 SLS AMG Roadster include an aluminum spaceframe body, an AMG 6.3-liter V8 front-mid engine with dry sump lubrication developing a peak output of 563 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque, a seven-speed dual clutch transaxle transmission and a sports suspension with aluminum double wishbones - all of which will raise the pulse of sports car enthusiasts while providing outstanding driving dynamics and driving pleasure.

The compact fabric soft top of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster opens and closes in just eleven seconds, and can be operated on the move at speeds up to 31 mph (50 km/h). The new Adaptive AMG Sport Suspension with electronically controlled damping is available as an attractive optional extra. It enables the damping characteristics to be modified at the touch of a button. Using the AMG DRIVE UNIT, the driver of the SLS AMG Roadster is therefore able to choose his own suspension setup. Three modes are available: "Comfort", "Sport" and "Sport plus".

"AMG Performance Media" is a unique new feature: this innovative, motorsport-inspired multimedia system offers an unrivalled combination of numerous telemetric displays such as lateral and linear acceleration, various engine data and lap times on a racetrack.

Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Cars: "The SLS Roadster is a super sports car, cruiser and highly desirable dream-car all in one. In its distinctive way, it continues the succession of iconic and exciting sports cars from Mercedes-Benz."

Ola Källenius, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: "Systematic lightweight construction, outstanding performance and a breathtaking design combined with sensuous open-air driving pleasure - the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster perfectly embodies the AMG philosophy of German engineering and craftsmanship. The gullwing model has already thrilled sports car fans all over the world, and now the convertible version is bound to cause a sensation."

Pure roadster design with perfect proportions

The new Roadster adds a second exciting dream-car to the SLS AMG family. Head of Design at Mercedes-Benz, Gorden Wagener: "As in the gullwing model, the pure, athletic design immediately catches the eye. Whether with the roof open or closed, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster is an impressive visual delight!" The perfect proportions are particularly memorable: a long hood, the greenhouse positioned well to the rear and a short rear end. Plus the automatically extending rear wing, long wheelbase, wide track and short overhangs - in short, the convertible SLS AMG exudes effortless performance and an authentic charisma. The pronounced shoulder sections are reminiscent of tensed muscles, and suggest sheer power in combination with the large wheels - 265/35 ZR 19 (front) and 295/30 ZR 20 (rear). The attractive AMG Sepang brown metallic paint finish and weight-optimized forged wheels in a 10-spoke design, painted in matte black with a high-sheen rim flange, are available as new optional extras.

Features reminiscent of the 300 SL Roadster, the classic dream-car from the 1950s, include not only the wide radiator grille with its large Mercedes star and the wing-shaped cross-fin, but also the fins on the hood and on the vehicle sides. Like the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster, the 300 SL Roadster appeared slightly later than the original gullwing 300 SL, but unlike the SL's both AMG dream cars are available at the same time.

Interior atmosphere like an aircraft cockpit

The interior continues the breathtaking design idiom of the exterior, and awakens associations with an aircraft cockpit: prominent features include the dashboard in the shape of a wing and the air vents with adjustable, cruciform nozzles reminiscent of jet engines. The extended center console of matte, solid metal and the new E-SELECT lever in the shape of an aircraft's thrust control are also design features adopted from the world of aviation. Another discreet, fine detail is the embossed AMG emblem on the leather-lined selector lever.

The AMG DRIVE UNIT - which like numerous other interior features is available in genuine carbon-fiber - is the central control unit in the center console: it allows the driver to choose a personal vehicle setup, including adjustment of the optional Adaptive AMG Sport Suspension. The AMG Performance steering wheel with its high-grade premium leather lining and flattened bottom rim section provides perfect vehicle control. The shift paddles and lower steering wheel bezel are made of solid metal.

Fully automatic, weight-optimized soft top

The sensual experience in the 2012MY SLS AMG Roadster is further enhanced when the soft top is open, and the powerful, naturally aspirated eight-cylinder engine with 563 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque asserts itself and makes the heart beat faster with its distinctive AMG eight-cylinder sound. The fabric soft top can be opened and closed while on the move at speeds up to 31 mph (50 km/h); the fully automatic opening/closing process takes only eleven seconds. The driver only needs to operate the roof control unit conveniently integrated at the front of the center armrest. When open, the soft top is space-savingly retracted behind the seats in a folded Z-configuration. Three soft top colors - black, red and beige - are available to suit the nine exterior and eight interior colors.

The three-layered fabric soft top is a weight-optimized magnesium/steel/aluminum construction, and contributes greatly to the car's low center of gravity. The soft top has a seamlessly bonded rear window of heated singlelayer safety glass. The flush, gap-free transition between the outer roof skin and the rear window keeps wind noise low. A continuous, flexible water pocket running under the soft top catches rainwater and directs it to the underbody via two apertures on each side. The trunk capacity is 6.1 cubic feet with the roof either open or closed, and therefore roughly equal to that of the SLS AMG Coupé (6.2 cubic feet).

Outstanding material quality and finish

The finest leather, matte-finished solid metal or optional, genuine carbon-fiber trim create an exclusive ambience and correspond with the authentic feel of the cockpit. Precisely executed decorative and contrasting stitching enhances the visual impression, heightens the hand-crafted look and reflects the attention to detail which is the hallmark of Mercedes design.

The standard appointments of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster include black designo leather, heated AMG sports seats, a detachable glass windstop, COMAND with Navigation and DVD player, anti-theft alarm system with tow-away protection and interior monitoring, dual-zone automatic climate control and the KEYLESSGO starting function. The standard AIRSCARF® system exclusive to Mercedes-Benz acts like an invisible scarf warming the head and neck areas of the occupants. It is integrated into the backrests of the AMG sports seats, and blows warm air from vents in the head restraints. The airflow can be adapted for different occupant sizes by means of adjustable louvers, and the level of warmth can be selected in three stages at the touch of a button.

Leather-lined roll-over bars with integrated mesh in a "Silver Shadow" look are available in conjunction with designo Exclusive leather to reduce turbulence in the cockpit. Ambient lighting is integrated into the electrically folding exterior mirrors.

Single-tone or two-tone designo leather in espresso brown is available as a new interior color - this dark shade of brown perfectly matches the new metallic paint finish AMG Sepang brown.

AMG Performance Media and Bang & Olufsen as optional highlights

In addition to the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG surround sound system, another optional entertainment highlight is the AMG Performance Media. In an unprecedented way, this racing-inspired system combines numerous telemetric displays such as engine data, lateral and linear acceleration and lap times on a racetrack. AMG Performance Media is activated by pressing the AMG key in the AMG DRIVE UNIT, and operated using the COMAND Controller. Key functions at a glance:

Real-time display of engine oil, coolant and transmission fluid temperature
Real-time display of engine output, torque and accelerator position
Real-time display of individual tire pressures
Real-time display of acceleration time from 0-60 mph or 0-100 km/h (alternatively: quarter-mile)
Real-time display of lateral and linear acceleration combined with braking performance and accelerator position, including memory function
Recording of individual lap times on a closed racetrack, with sector times and memory function
Integration of DRIVE UNIT functions to save setup data to memory and initiate RACE START
The different functions of AMG Performance Media are shown by the color display integrated into the dashboard. Three displays are shown at any one time, with the most important information positioned in the center. Digitally simulated dial instruments with red needles ensure outstanding legibility.

Specifically reinforced aluminum spaceframe, low curb weight

In addition to maximum comfort, the key factor for driving pleasure in the new SLS AMG Roadster is the outstanding performance. The basis for this is the innovative body design: the chassis and body are made of aluminum, a design combining intelligent lightweight construction with high strength. With a curb weight of 3,661 pounds (estimated), the Roadster is only 88 pounds heavier than the Coupé. The result is a remarkable power-to-weight ratio of 6.5 pounds per hp.

To achieve the same level of driving dynamics - without a fixed roof, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster incorporates several features specifically designed to strengthen the bodyshell, including side skirts with greater wall thicknesses and additional chambers. The dashboard cross-member is supported against the windshield frame and center tunnel by additional struts, and a curved strut between the soft top and the tank reinforces the rear axle. The lack of a roof and gullwing doors means that the open-top SLS AMG has a reinforcing crossmember behind the seats to support the fixed roll-over protection system. This also accommodates the 250 watt subwoofer of the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end sound system.

All this prevents unwanted vibrations right from the start, and makes it unnecessary to use the additional, weight-increasing vibration dampers that are often found in open-top sports cars. The weight-optimized aluminum spaceframe weighs 536 pounds, tipping the scales at just 4.5 pounds more than the gullwing model.

Intelligent material mix and low center of gravity

50 percent of the intelligently designed, weight-optimized aluminum spaceframe is made of aluminum sections, 26 percent of sheet aluminum, 18 percent of cast aluminum and 6 percent of steel. Maximum occupant safety requires the use of ultra-high-strength, heat-formed steel in the A-pillars.

The entire vehicle has been designed to achieve the lowest possible center of gravity. This applies both to the low connection points of the powertrain and axles, as well as to the arrangement of the rigid bodyshell structure, which has been kept as low as possible. Examples include the rigid flexural and torsional connections between the front and rear section and the passenger safety cell, which have been designed to use force paths that are as low as possible.

Passive safety

The aluminum spaceframe provides the basis for outstanding passive safety. The extensive safety features include the fixed roll-over protection system, three-point seat belts with belt tensioners and belt force limiters, and eight airbags: adaptive front airbags and kneebags, two seat-integrated sidebags and two windowbags deploying from the door beltlines.

The standard Blind Spot Assist helps the driver with a visual warning symbol and acoustic alert if the danger of a collision with another vehicle is detected when changing lanes.

Powerful AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine with 563 hp

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster has the same, muscular engine as the gullwing model. The 6.3-litre V8 with a peak output of 563 hp at 6,800 rpm makes the open-top SLS one of the most powerful sports cars in its segment. Its power-to-weight ratio is 6.5 pounds per hp. This naturally aspirated engine generates its maximum torque of 479 pound-feet at 4,750 rpm. The convertible SLS AMG accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds (0-100 km/h in 3.8 s), and the top speed is 197 mph / 317 km/h (electronically limited) - which means that the Roadster has almost identical performance to the gullwing.

The high-revving 6.3-liter V8 engine has the typical characteristics of powerful racing engines. It responds immediately and effortlessly to accelerator movements. The use of a dry sump lubrication system allows for a considerably lower installation in the vehicle, yielding a lower center of gravity for high lateral acceleration and thrilling driving dynamics.

Achievement of demanding fuel consumption targets

Despite its uncompromisingly athletic character, fuel consumption has also been addressed. The SLS AMG consumes 13.2 litres per 100 kilometres (NEDC combined), corresponding to CO2 emissions of 308 grams per kilometre. Efficiency enhancements include the familiar AMG-exclusive, friction-optimized twin-wire arc-sprayed coating on the cylinder walls as well as the on-demand, map-optimized oil supply and intelligent generator management: during the engine's overrun phases, kinetic energy is used to charge the battery rather than wasted by simply generating heat. Conversely, the generator is switched to no-load operation during acceleration, thus reducing the load on the engine. Sophisticated catalytic converter technology enables current and future emission standards such as Euro-5, LEV 2 and ULEV to be met.

Rev-matching transmission with transaxle configuration and torque tube

The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine delivers its abundant power to the rear transaxle via an ultra-light carbon-fiber driveshaft - similar to the setup used in the DTM C-Class racing touring car. The rev-matching transmission is mounted at the rear (transaxle), and connected to the engine housing via a torque tube. A carbon-fiber shaft rotates at engine speed in the torque tube. The advantages of this sophisticated solution lie in the rigid link between the engine and transmission and, in turn, the optimum support for the forces and torque generated.

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission boasts fast gear changes with no loss of tractive force - in as little as 100 milliseconds. The driver has a choice of four different driving modes: "C" (Controlled Efficiency), "S" (Sport), "S+" (Sport plus) or "M" (Manual). In the Sport, Sport plus and Manual modes the automatic rev-matching function is active; all the modes can be selected conveniently via the rotary control knob on the AMG DRIVE UNIT. The RACE START function provides optimum traction for full power launches from a dead stop -- as does the mechanical differential lock, which is integrated into the compact transmission housing.

Sophisticated suspension layout with double-wishbone axles

The front-mid-engine plus transaxle configuration provides an ideal front/rear weight distribution of 47 to 53 percent. Mounting the engine behind the front axle has created ideal driving dynamics with precise steering, first-class agility, low inertia for spontaneous directional changes and outstanding traction. All four wheels are located on double wishbones with a track rod, a technology that has proven itself in motor racing right through to Formula 1. With a double-wishbone axle, the wheel location and suspension functions remain separate; the spring/damper struts are supported on the lower wishbone. The double-wishbone setup with its high camber and track rigidity positively locates the wheel with minimal elastic movements, providing the driver with an optimum sense of road contact when driving at the limits.

Wishbones, steering knuckles and hub carriers at the front and rear are made entirely from forged aluminum - substantially reducing the unsprung masses; this configuration also notably improves the suspension response. The long wheelbase of 105.5 inches not only results in outstanding straight-line stability but also low wheel load shifts, significantly reducing the vehicle's tendency to dive and squat when braking and accelerating. The broad track width - front 66.2 inches, rear 65.1 inches - provides lower shifts in the wheel loads from the inner to the outer wheel when cornering, enabling the tires to retain more grip.

New Adaptive AMG Sport Suspension

The new Adaptive AMG Sport Suspension with electronically controlled damping is available as an attractive optional alternative to the standard AMG sports suspension. It enables the damping characteristics to be modified at the touch of a button. Using a button on the AMG DRIVE UNIT, the driver can choose his own suspension setup. Three modes are available: "Comfort", "Sport" and "Sport plus". The current mode is shown in the instrument cluster.

"Comfort" delivers a sensitive response with soft damping characteristics, while in "Sport" mode the shock absorbers have a much stiffer response depending on the driving situation. This not only leads to better road contact, but also effectively suppresses body roll and pitching. "Sport plus" is ideal for challenging laps on a racetrack: in addition to the higher damping force, this mode comes with specific control algorithms that have been tailor-made for a sporty driving style. The new, variable suspension will also be optionally available for the SLS AMG Coupé in future.

Direct steering, differential lock and 3-stage ESP®

The rack-and-pinion steering gear provides a consistently direct steering feel with a constant mechanical ratio of 13.6:1, in tune with the high expectations placed on a super sports car. The power steering provides speed-sensitive assistance and improves feedback for the driver as speed increases, valuable during high-speed straight-line driving. Mounting the steering gear in front of the engine on the integral subframe enables the engine to be set down very low. The SLS AMG comes with 3-stage ESP® as standard, providing the driver with access to the three "ESP ON", "ESP SPORT" and "ESP OFF" modes at the touch of a button. In "ESP OFF" mode, operating the brake pedal restores all the normal ESP® functions.

The acceleration skid control (ASR) system's traction logic is active in all three ESP® modes. If one of the drive wheels starts to spin, specific brake pressure is applied to improve traction significantly - especially in conjunction with the standard-fit mechanical multi-disc limited-slip differential. This means that the engine power is transferred to the road more effectively during aggressive driving.

Optional AMG ceramic high-performance two-piece braking system

The AMG high-performance braking system with two-piece brake discs at the front provides extremely short stopping distances even under enormous loads. Red-painted brake calipers at all four corners are available as an option. The optional ceramic two-piece brakes with even larger discs provide even better braking performance. The ceramic brake discs perform at even higher operating temperatures thanks to their greater hardness, all combined with an impressive weight reduction of around 40 percent. Reducing the unsprung masses has further improved both comfort and grip, and the reduced rotating masses at the front axle provide a more direct steering response.

Lightweight construction was also key when it came to the wheels: AMG light-alloy wheels based on the innovative flow-forming principle reduce the unsprung masses while improving driving dynamics and suspension comfort. In addition to the standard AMG twin 5-spoke light-alloy wheels, there is a 7-spoke wheel that's available as a no cost option. Weight-optimized 10-spoke forged wheels are available as an option. 265/35 R 19 (front) and 295/30 R 20 (rear) tires developed exclusively for the SLS AMG provide optimum performance. A tire pressure monitoring system is fitted as standard to permanently monitor tire pressure in all four wheels, with an individual display for each tire.

Production in Sindelfingen, market launch in Fall 2011

The convertible super sports car will be produced at the largest Mercedes-Benz production plant in Sindelfingen. The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine comes directly from the AMG engine workshop in Affalterbach, where it is hand-assembled according to the traditional "One man, one engine" philosophy.

The selling price in Germany is €195,160 (incl. 19% VAT). The 2012 SLS AMG Roadster will make its U.S. debut in Fall 2011.

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