How This Supercar Fares Without Its Signature Doors There are several ways to get to Monte Carlo once you've landed in Nice. There's the train, a 23-minute meandering trek over and through the wooded undulations of the intervening cities that deposits you at Monte Carlo's downtown station. There's a taxi, more than 30 times the cost of a train, and it takes twice as long, but it does offer service porte à porte. Or there's Heli Air Monaco with a fleet of choppers stationed at the Nice airport. Those fine gents can get you to the Monaco heliport in eight minutes, floating past seafront redoubts and over an azure Mediterranean dotted with billions of dollars of sailing and motor yachts. Of those three modes of transport, only one is appropriate when Mercedes has invited you to Monte Carlo to drive its new SLS AMG Roadster. We offered the appropriate "Mercis" to our chopper pilot for providing a smooth ride. The SLS AMG was introduced at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show. The roadster was engineered alongside the coupe, but it's taken two years to remove the top for public purposes. It will take you two minutes of top-down driving to begin quoting high school poetry in homage to it: "Come with me and be my love," you'll coo, "and we will all the pleasures prove...." The Villa Key Largo is where we met our day's work, an angled row of SLS AMG Roadsters lined up along the jetty. We chose a model wearing the newest exterior color, metallic AMG Sepang Brown, a coat that ripples with bronzed silverfish hues in any temperature of light, then goes all brooding matte under cloud and shade. It is one of the nine exterior colors available on the range, to go along with either red, black or beige roof options. It is beautiful. Or, to borrow a descriptive courtesy of British comedy duo Hale & Pace, it's "a knee-trembling color, a crumpet magnet." The roadster is veritably the coupe, tweaked. The engine remains the 6.3-liter (yes, that's really a 6.208-liter) V8 with 571 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, but has been given revised intake air ducting to reduce pressure losses. Through the twin pipes out back, it continues to emit a subterranean bellow that's a mating call for monstrosities of the Godzilla family. Wrapped around it is an aluminum spaceframe and lightly adorned body. The spaceframe itself is seven kilograms lighter than the engine, and roadster's body-in-white is but two kilograms heavier than the coupe. The mass of the fixed roof has been transferred into trusses behind the instrument panel, the center tunnel, the soft top and gas tank, a carbon fiber support behind the seats, and higher door sills with more reinforcing chambers. All up, the roadster is 88 pounds heavier than its gullwinged brother. The three-layer cloth softtop surrounds bones of aluminum, magnesium and steel, and stows behind the front seats. It folds into the shape of the last letter of the …
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|MPG||14 City / 20 Hwy|
|Transmission||7-spd auto-shift man w/OD|
|Power||563 @ 6800 rpm|
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