With its sleek body, long bonnet and predatory open-mouth grille, the Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster has a shark-like presence on the road. What a car this is. It has dramatic styling, supercar performance, and a price tag to match. This is the sporting pinnacle of the Mercedes range, the kind of car that millionaires drive and the rest of us might aspire to if those Lotto numbers come up.
Mercedes has two SLS models in its range. The SLS coupe is better known as the modern interpretation of a legendary classic, with its jaw-dropping gullwing doors that pivot upwards when the driver or passenger want to get in or out of the car. This SLS Roadster has conventional doors and a triple-layer fabric roof instead of the coupe’s aluminium top.
The engine is a mighty 6.2 litre V8 which delivers prodigious performance. How does a standing start to the benchmark 100 km/h – 62 mph – in under four seconds sound? It’s pretty damn quick in any language.
This car falls into the ‘if you have to ask the price, you certainly can’t afford it’ category. In some parts of the country the same money would buy you a pair of semi-detached houses. For almost precisely the same outlay you could buy a fleet of 18 Ford Fiestas or a dozen MINI Coopers. In a money-no-object world though, this car would be high on the wish-list.
The engine is a 6.2 litre, 32-valve V8, teamed with a seven-speed automatic transmission and installed in an aluminium spaceframe chassis. This power-weight combination means that the SLS Roadster’s performance is absolutely scorching. The top speed, if you could find anywhere safe or legal to try it, is 197 mph. The 0-62 mph acceleration figure is 3.8 seconds. Squeeze the throttle, and you feel like you have ignited a rocket.
The engine power output is 571 bhp at 6,800 rpm and the maximum torque is 479 lb ft at 4,750 rpm. The CO2 emissions output is 308 g/km and the official combined fuel economy figure is 21.4 mpg. The cost of this car’s annual road tax disc is more than £1,000.