Mercedes-Benz will in future also market its SLR McLaren super sports car in the form of a roadster with a top. In common with Formula 1 vehicles of today, it, too, will be made of carbon-fiber, a material that will endow the vehicle with a very high degree of safety as well as extreme torsional stiffness at the same high level as the coupe version. This gives rise, in combination with the racing-type chassis, to outstanding ride characteristics. The top speed of the new Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster, which is powered by an AMG V8 compressor engine delivering 617 bhp, is 206 mph, therefore at the same high level as the coupe.
Like the coupe version, the new Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster once again unites the legend of the successful SLR racing models from the 1950s with the innovative technology of modern Formula 1 vehicles from the Vodafone-McLaren-Mercedes team. Typical stylistic elements, such as the arrow-shaped tip of the Formula 1 Silver Arrow, establish a visual link with the racing cars. The SLR legend of the 50s lives on stylistically in the distinctive lateral louvers, side pipes behind the front wheels and the wide-opening gullwing doors.
The new SLR McLaren Roadster benefits technically from the many years of experience of Mercedes-Benz and its Formula 1 partner McLaren. Apart from two aluminum engine frames, its body is made entirely of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) materials, making the vehicle an exception among high-performance sports cars. Especially for the Roadster, complex carbon-fiber technology has been intelligently further developed for the monocoque chassis. The result is low weight, exemplary energy absorption and, therefore, extremely high occupant safety as well as a degree of torsional stiffness hitherto unattained in open-top vehicles. This leads to outstanding ride characteristics of the kind otherwise found only in closed-top super sports cars.
The exceptional qualities of the Roadster are attributable also to the fully retractable top, which blends harmoniously into the flowing lines of the SLR McLaren. Its newly developed roof material, which is available in three different colors, not only guarantees complete suitability for everyday use in all weathers, but also endows the high-performance sports car with characteristics that are exceptionally unusual in a roadster.
The roof opens and closes semi-automatically in less than ten seconds, thereby combining the desire for convenience with the puristic character of the roadster. To open, the roof merely needs to be unlocked from the windscreen frame and be briefly raised, after which it folds away electrically. Since an aluminum cover is integrated into its front section, the roof elegantly closes off the top when retracted.
In the wind tunnel, the Roadster has been optimized for high speeds with regard to handling, aeroacoustics and aerodynamics. It likewise employs the aerodynamic concept already known from the coupe version, featuring an airbrake integrated into the access lid and a diffuser in the rear bumper to provide increased downforce on the rear axle.
The open two-seater is equipped with a racing-type chassis featuring high-performance carbon-ceramic brake discs, thereby setting extremely high standards. Its front-mid-engine provides for optimum weight distribution. With 617 bhp and a maximum torque of 575 lb-ft, the AMG V8 compressor engine, which is coupled to an AMG Speedshift R five-speed automatic transmission, accelerates the Roadster from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds.
The exclusive standard equipment includes semi-aniline-leather-upholstered carbon-fiber bucket seats which can be individually adapted to the driver and front passenger by means of differently sized seat pads; dual-zone automatic air-conditioning; a high-quality BOSE premium sound system; a multifunction sport steering wheel with gear-change paddles, and a navigation system with integral radio and CD player.
The new Mercedes-Benz SLR Roadster, like the coupe, is produced at McLaren's Formula 1 factory in Woking, England, in accordance with stringent Mercedes-Benz quality criteria and will be available as from September 2007.