Mercedes-Benz has chosen this weekend’s Festival of Speed at Goodwood, in West Sussex, England, for the world’s first-ever public viewing of the incredible new Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster.
The SLR Roadster participates in all Friday, Saturday and Sunday Supercar Runs, giving the tens of thousands of visitors a total of six chances to see it in action. The SLR Roadster will also be the star exhibit on the Mercedes-Benz stand, located in its familiar position on the inside of the first corner of the track. Alongside the new supercar is a display celebrating 40 years of AMG.
Three models from the past show some of the many highlights of the AMG range. A replica of the 1971 300 SEL 6.8 marks the start of the huge successes on track; the legendary 300 CE 5.6 AMG (better-known as The Hammer) from the 1980s; and the first official model, the C 36 AMG.
Alongside the classics is a selection of the latest models in the range, including the new S 63 AMG and the very special SLK 55 AMG Black Series.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Goodwood without these new cars being joined by some treasures from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center. The W125 Silver Arrow Grand Prix racer from 1937 will be there; as will Juan Manuel Fangio’s 1955 Mille Miglia 300 SLR; and the 1990 World Sportscar Championship-winning Sauber-Mercedes C11 makes a return appearance.
With the new SLR McLaren Roadster and stars throughout the ages, the three-pointed star will once again brightly shine over Goodwood this weekend.
In common with Formula 1 vehicles of today, the SLR Roadster is made of carbon fibre, a material that endows the vehicle with a very high degree of safety as well as extreme torsional stiffness. This gives rise, in combination with the racing-type chassis, to outstanding ride characteristics. The maximum speed of the new high-performance sports car, which is powered by an AMG V8 supercharged engine delivering 626 hp, is 207 mph, at the same high level as the coupé. Although, thanks to its fully retractable top, the Roadster offers undiluted open-air driving pleasure in the highest performance class, its occupants in no way lose out in terms of comfort or the vehicle’s suitability for everyday use. Consequently, the new Roadster opens up a new dimension in refinement for open-top super sports cars.
Like the coupé version, the new Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster once again unites the legend of the successful SLR racing models from the 1950s with the innovative technology of modern Formula 1 vehicles from the Vodafone-McLaren-Mercedes team. Typical stylistic elements, such as the arrow-shaped tip of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car, establish a visual link with the racing cars. The SLR legend of the 1950s lives on stylistically in the distinctive lateral louvres, side pipes behind the front wheels and the wide-opening gullwing doors.
The new Roadster benefits technically from the many years of experience of Mercedes-Benz and its Formula 1 partner McLaren. Apart from two aluminium engine frames, its body is made entirely of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) materials, making the vehicle an exception among high-performance sports cars. Especially for the Roadster, complex carbon-fibre technology has been intelligently further developed for the monocoque chassis. The result is low weight, exemplary energy absorption and, therefore, extremely high occupant safety as well as a degree of torsional stiffness hitherto unattained in open-top vehicles. This leads to outstanding ride characteristics of the kind otherwise found only in closed-top super sports cars.
The exceptional qualities of the Roadster are attributable also to the fully retractable top, which blends harmoniously into the flowing lines of the SLR McLaren. Its newly developed roof material, which is available in three different colours, not only guarantees complete suitability for everyday use in all weathers, but also endows the high-performance sports car with characteristics that are exceptionally unusual in a roadster. For example, at 207 mph, the maximum speed is at the high level of the coupé version. Conversation is still possible at well over 125 mph on open-air journeys thanks to the favourable aeroacoustics.
The roof opens and closes semi-automatically in less than ten seconds, thereby combining the desire for convenience with the pure character of the roadster. To open, the roof merely needs to be unlocked from the windscreen frame and be briefly raised, after which it folds away electrically. Since an aluminium cover is integrated into its front section, the roof elegantly closes off the top when retracted.
In the wind tunnel, the Roadster has been optimised for high speeds with special focus on handling, aeroacoustics and aerodynamics. It employs the aerodynamic concept already known from the coupé version, featuring an airbrake integrated into the boot lid and a diffuser in the rear bumper to provide increased downforce on the rear axle.
The open two-seater is equipped with a racing-type chassis featuring high-performance carbon-ceramic brake discs, thereby setting extremely high standards. Its front-mid-engined layout delivers optimum weight distribution. With 626 hp and a maximum torque of 780 Nm, the AMG V8 supercharged engine, coupled to an AMG Speedshift R five-speed automatic transmission, accelerates the Roadster from zero to 62 mph in 3.8 seconds.
A high degree of safety is ensured by unique carbon-fibre crash elements, steel-reinforced A-pillars and two fixed roll-over bars. The comprehensive specification also features adaptive frontal, knee and side airbags as well as seat belt tensioners and a tyre-pressure monitoring system.
The exclusive standard equipment includes semi-aniline leather-upholstered carbon fibre bucket seats which can be individually adapted to the driver and front passenger by means of differently sized seat pads; dual-zone automatic air-conditioning; a high-quality Bose premium sound system; a multifunction sport steering wheel with gear-change paddles, and a navigation system with integral radio and CD player.
The new Mercedes-Benz SLR Roadster, like the coupé, is produced at McLaren’s Formula 1 factory in Woking, England, in accordance with stringent Mercedes-Benz quality criteria and will be available as from September 2007.