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First Look: Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster

Germans give unexpected sneak peek.

by on Feb.09, 2011

Look closely and you'll see several new Mercedes models, including the SLS Roadster and C-Class Coupe.

Sometimes you have to take a closer look at some of the ads automakers roll out.  Over the years, we’ve seen a number of future products put in cameo appearances behind other, more immediately apparent models – as we belatedly realized with the Super Bowl ad for Mercedes-Benz.

Okay, most folks were focused on the classic cars seeming to come to life or, perhaps, P Diddy.  But the rapper wasn’t the real star.  In the background, for those who bothered to look, was the first production version of the new Mercedes SLS Roadster, the latest incarnation of the German marque’s supercar flagship.

Set to come in north of the roughly $250,000 SLS coupe, the Roadster will share the same 6.2-liter V8, with its twin-clutch gearbox, and most of the other mechanicals.

But, obviously, the convertible will have to forego the signature detail of the SLS Coupe.  Gone are the distinctive gullwing doors, long a Mercedes trademark.  In their place, a pair of conventional portals.

The Mercedes SLS Roadster will opt for a relatively traditional canvas top, also foregoing a foldaway metal roof that would have complicated the vehicle’s design – and added a significant amount of weight.

The Mercedes supercar will get another variant, shortly, in the form of the SLS AMG E-Cell, the battery-powered super-coupe that the German maker revealed, in production form, at the Detroit Auto Show, last month.  Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche told that production of that model will be extremely limited, perhaps a hundred or so, at most.

Look for the SLS Coupe to make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, later this year.  However, if you go back and check once again, you may see yet another cameo appearance in the Mercedes Super Bowl commercial: the next-generation C-Class Coupe, which will officially debut at the Geneva Motor Show, next month.