New Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster Reviewed at Business Car Manager Release

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It's not often that a convertible manages to be better than the hardtop version - but the SLS AMG Roadster really is.

What is it?

The SLS AMG Roadster loses the famous gullwing doors and swaps them for an electric canvas roof. Other changes include new suspension changes and adaptive dampers which certainly improve comfort levels. Everything else is pretty much the same - with the star of the show being the mighty 563bhp 6.3-litre AMG-developed V8 engine driving the rear wheels through a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox.

Neat isn't it? With the top down drivers can really enjoy the AMG tweaked V8

What's hot?

-Those looks. The Roadster is even more glamourous than the coupe
-That hood is a work of art too. Made of three layers, it's very quiet inside when in place...
-Takes only 11 seconds to raise or lower, hardly taking up any bootspace
-When lowered, it puts the driver even closer to the fury of that V8...
-...which sounds incredible; a bassy roar under power, with pops and bangs from the exhausts when the accelerator is lift off
-It rockets the Roadster from 0-62mph in 3.8secs and onto 197mph
-The roof only adds 40kg to the SLS's weight and with suspension tweaks...
-...plus adaptive dampers, it handles even better than the coupe, feeling more comfortable and more fluid through corners
-Mercedes' clever Airscarf system blows warm air onto the neck to keep out the cold
-The brakes are incredible
-Roof-up, it's a fabulous high-speed GT cruiser too

What's not?

-At £176,895, the SLS AMG Roadster is £30,00 more than a Ferrari California...
-...and almost as much as a 458 Spider, not to mention £70k more than a Merc SL63 AMG
-It's a very wide car and threading a way through narrow streets can be nerve-wracking
-There's an annoying delay in the response of the gearbox when the paddles on the steering wheel is pulled
-The steering is meaty but it's not as precise as a Porsche or Ferrari system

Business Car Manager Road Test Verdict

It's not often that a convertible manages to be better than the hardtop version - but the SLS AMG Roadster really is. Putting the drop-top roof down puts drivers closer to than ever to that amazing V8 engine, which has to be one of the loudest, most characterful engines in the world today.

Of course, the SLS Roadster is hugely expensive to buy and run - better not to think about the pence per mile. It's a very long way indeed from a standard company car but it's an extremely desirable machine for the successful small business owner who can ignore all these business car advices.

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Conrad Swailes