All Articles
All Articles
TECH

Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster

TECH

Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster

Our top-down road test in one of the best-looking, best-performing cars available

by Evan Orensten
on 29 September 2011
Mercedes_SLS_AMG1.jpg

When Mercedes introduced the SLS in 2009, the Gullwing coupe dropped jaws and turned heads with its retro inspiration and powerful guts. The move also firmly staked its claim toward the future expression of the brand. Designed at the same time but only now available, the SLS Roadster brings the thrill of a convertible to this already near-perfect driver's car—along with a few new additions.

Mercedes_SLS_AMG2.jpg

We had a chance to check the new model out first-hand when Mercedes invited us to France's sunny Côte d'Azur to spend a day-and-a-half in the supercar (which I shared with good friend Jean Aw from Notcot). Driving from Monaco into Italy, up to Col du Brouis and back down to St. Jean Cap-Ferrat made for an idyllic itinerary to experience driving with the top down at its most chic.

What's so impressive about the car is everything. Respectful of its heritage in the coveted 1950s 300 SL Roadster, the SLS also firmly represents all that Mercedes-Benz has to offer. It incorporates some of the most sophisticated engineering and technology available, yet is both easy and an absolute pleasure to drive. The interior perfectly balances sport, luxury and comfort. Both sinner and saint, while many other cars and supercars achieve many of the same levels and worthy praise, few bring it together so seamlessly and perfectly. (Though the Ferrari FF comes to mind).

Mercedes_SLS_AMG5.jpg Mercedes_SLS_AMG6.jpg

The Roadster shares all of the same technology and equipment as the Coupe. Its lightweight aluminum construction, seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission and AMG 6.3 liter 571-horsepower V8 engine all makes for the same 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds. The more rigid body is only 60 pounds heavier than the Gullwing, impressively retaining the same performance (and most of its trunk space).

New options to the Roadster are a much welcomed AMG Ride Control and a very impressive set of Internet-enabled performance functions called AMG Performance Media, which reside in a tab of the car's on-board computer system. A kick-ass Bang & Olufson sound system is also available, and includes a 250 watt subwoofer. Another feature I liked (though didn't need to try) is the Airscarf neck vent, which blows hot air to keep you warm for off-season, top-down driving (heated seats are also available).

Mercedes_SLS_AMG7.jpg Mercedes_SLS_AMG8.jpg

Ride Control lets you select from three preset suspension and transmission variations: Comfort, Sport (stiffer, higher performance ride) and Sport+, even more firm and tuned for the highest-performance conditions. This is really helpful for traveling most comfortably from urban traffic to the countryside, freeways or track. It also adjusts the sound of the engine and exhaust from a purr to one of the best sounding roars I've heard—the consensus among other journalists there as well.

Mercedes_SLS_AMG3.jpg Mercedes_SLS_AMG4.jpg

Want to see how many Gs you're pulling on the track? The Performance Media option, an Android-based mobile platform, provides high-speed Internet access (when the car isn't moving). Multiple racing-inspired screens show real-time temperatures, performance, tire pressures, lateral and linear acceleration and a host of track-related functions. This section is seamlessly integrated into the rest of the car's system, which itself is well-designed and intuitive to use. As you'd expect, the car is highly customizable, including custom paint colors.

Rumored to start around $200,000 and available at Mercedes dealerships, this beauty may be unattainable for most of us, but its exceptional design is something we can all enjoy.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance
Loading More...