The ultimate Barbie car? German tuners Hamann pimp a Range Rover and turn it very pink
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster review (2011 onwards)
What - Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster
Where - Monaco
Date - September 2011
Price - £176,895
Available - November
Key rivals - Ferrari California, Aston Martin DBS Volante, Maserati GranCabrio S, Bentley Continental GTC, Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet
Summary - Monumentally fast, gloriously noisy and dripping with Riviera glamour the SLS AMG Roadster has what it takes to step out from the shadow of its gullwinged brother
We like - Wickedly fast, wonderfully charismatic engine, stiff body, as good at posing as it is to drive, noise, hardcore but easy to live with too
We don't like - Losing the gullwing doors, can feel unwieldy on twisty roads, gullwing coupe looks more dramatic, generic switchgear, cosy with the roof up
Can the Mercedes SLS survive having its trademark gullwing doors clipped? It's the million-dollar question raised by the new SLS AMG Roadster. And one we have the answer to just a week after the car's debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.
AMG certainly hasn't messed with the formula with this new SLS Roadster. Like the coupe it gets AMG's handbuilt 6.2-litre V8 engine, souped up a tad over the C-Classes and other cars it's featured in and turning out a noisy and exciting 571hp.
Losing those trademark doors is a fair swap for the ability to hear that legendary engine do its thing too, the SLS Roadster weighing in at £176,895. That's about £30K (and 110hp...) more than the Ferrari California and £14K less than an Aston Martin DBS Volante.
OK, it lacks a little of the gullwing's drama. But driving an SLS around Monaco with the roof down you can actually hear the cries of 'wow!' Which in a town where Ferraris are two a penny tells you all you need to know its head turning ability.
The SLS is a big car but a relatively trim one, the AMG developed aluminium spaceframe chassis actually significantly lighter than the all carbon fibre SLR McLaren. And the Roadster weighs just 40kg more than the coupe.
Comparisons with fast AMG SLs are meaningless too - the SLS weighs several hundred kilos less for a start. And though their 6.2-litre V8s are chips off the same block the SLS's is much, much more aggressive and vocal.
The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is very different too. C mode is fine for wafting around town and works much like a normal auto. But S and S+ unleash a different beast. There's a manual mode too, though it doesn't always react as quickly as you'd like.
This is a car dominated by its engine, in a good way. Its reach is enormous, with big-lunged power low in the rev range and a frankly scary top-end lunge before the next gear dumps you right back into the powerband for another hit. Addictive.
Ride and handling
A RaceStart mode on the gearbox will despatch the benchmark 0-62mph run in 3.8 seconds, same as the coupe, on a par with the Ferrari California and half a second quicker than the comparable Aston Martin DBS Volante.
Epic performance is one thing but it's the way the SLS lets you enjoy and exploit it that really stands out. With the weight contained within the wheelbase it has a great natural balance and changes direction way faster than you'd credit given the size.
Optional adjustable Ride Control dampers are a new feature for the Roadster and will be available on the coupe too. The mid-way Sport setting equates to the standard set-up on the coupe with Comfort for wafting about and Sport Plus for when you really want to let fly.
A stiff body, great stability and quick reflexes make the SLS huge fun at speed and there's barely any compromise in losing the roof. From Cote d'Azur cruiser to hardcore supercar is simply a question squeezing the throttle harder.
Like the coupe the SLS Roadster has great style, fit and finish spoiled just slightly by some disappointingly generic switchgear for the infotainment and heating controls. For this money Aston Martin does it better.
It's snug with the roof up too. There are lots of new gadgets and toys though, not least a ton of Nissan GT-R worthy downloadable readouts for g-force, 0-62, lap times and more via the new AMG Performance Media.
Economy and safety
With AMG adopting downsizing - relatively - and other technology like turbos and cylinder cut-off the days of this 6.2-litre V8 in the current eco climate are, sadly, numbered. But it's getting one hell of a finale in the SLS.
308g/km and an official (officially very optimistic) 21.4mpg are as good as it gets, not that his will trouble the target audience too much. Hardcore supercar it may be too but the SLS gets all the safety technology you'd find elsewhere in the range too.
The MSN Cars verdict
The quality of AMG's ability to engineer a blisteringly fast and bulletproof car have never been in doubt. But a car like the SLS Roadster needs more than that. It needs charisma too.
Thankfully it has it in spades. And as we said at the start, if a car can make the residents of Monaco say 'wow!' you just know it's got that vital X-factor. Forget 'posh SL' comparisons too - the SLS Roadster moves in a very different league.
related stories on msn
Latest Cars videos
Take control of your truck and prove your driving skills in Trucker: Parking Simulator - the realisitc 3D lorry driver 'driving test' game for iOS.
Date 4 hrs ago, Duration 1:02, Views 1076