Mercedes-Benz SLR Roadster
The next generation.

Pedigree

A driving experience as free and unconfined as in the old days. In 1952, as many as four 300 SL racing cars competed at the Nürburgring. These were standard coupés, in a "topped" version without roof – to afford better visibility and thus improved safety on one of the world's most challenging racing circuits. The 300 SLR racer, too, recorded its greatest triumphs as an open-top vehicle.

However, it was to take somewhat longer before the fusion of motorsport technology and roadster experience could be made available in the form of a road-going version. At the International Motor Show (IAA) of 1999, the vision of an SLR Roadster gave a first impression of what such a vehicle might look like. 

We now know for sure: the new SLR Roadster remained faithful to the stylistic elements of its historic predecessors from the 1950s while employing materials and technologies from the world of modern-day motorsport. Ideally uniting the qualities of an elegant coupé with the incomparable feeling of freedom that comes from driving with no roof, it recalls the open-top racing cars of the 1950s. Tradition and innovation, state-of-the-art technology and open-air driving pleasure are impressively combined on every front.

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Design

Incomparable open-air feel. There it stands, open for all to admire. An automotive work of art. The SLR Roadster, a super sports car that redraws the boundaries. And its long, squat looks are not just for show. They are essential, for only the combination of sleek underbody, front splitter, diffusers and rear AIRBRAKE can produce the necessary downforce, which translates directly into traction and, therefore, driving stability. Each design feature is highly functional.

The SLR Roadster's soft top is woven from two differently coloured yarns and changes colour depending on the light. A special weave of the yarns lends the textile roof an extreme strength to counteract the so-called "ballooning" effect. This enables it to withstand the stresses at speeds up to the maximum while also making it resistant to all weathers. All in all, the result is a roadster that brings the race track to the road – driver permitting.

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Technology

The outstanding technological platform of the SLR Coupé in combination with the know-how and supreme commitment of the responsible engineers made it possible to bring the SLR Roadster to the road with only minor modifications and without loss of power – an otherwise not unusual corollary of the transfer from closed to open-top vehicle concepts. This also allowed the characteristic gullwing doors to be retained.

The construction of the SLR monocoque in carbon fibre composite plastic was of key significance in this respect. The combination of monocoque, roll-over bar and hybrid, elastically resilient A-pillar, made from carbon fibre with a high-strength steel core, offers a new-type passive safety package.

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Dynamics

The combination of carbon fibre monocoque, perfectly matched suspension and outstanding aerodynamics, all of which have their origins in motorsport, provides the guarantee of phenomenal handling for a roadster. Which is just as well, the ultimate goal being to make sure that the 460 kW/626 hp from the AMG 5.5-litre V8 supercharged engine is delivered to the road in a controlled manner – at speeds all the way up to the maximum of 332 km/h. The construction and aerodynamic optimisation of the soft top ensure that the Cd value of the SLR Roadster is almost identical to that of the Coupé.

Even the wind noise is reduced to a minimum, the ingenious design of the SLR Roadster, in combination with a mere 10-cm-high draught-stop, ensuring that there is virtually no disruptive air turbulence in the cockpit. Instead, what can be heard with even greater clarity is the sonorous tone of the V8.

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Specification

Exclusivity comes as standard with the SLR Roadster. The interior of the SLR Roadster can be fitted out with elements in black carbon fibre, foot mats with leather piping in the second interior appointments colour or seats in new, woven "Composition" leather.

n addition, the external appearance of the SLR Roadster can be personalised with 19-inch turbine-look rims and a 19-inch braking system with coloured callipers. Despite these many combination possibilities, however, one thing is the same about every SLR Roadster: each is unique – special, thrilling and personal.

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