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Why Doesn't Anyone Want A Mercedes SLS Roadster?

Smart Buy

The Roadster is missing a very important feature.

The Mercedes SLS AMG was produced from 2011 to 2015 and sat as the flagship of the three-pointed star's lineup. It was later replaced by the AMG GT, which was less expensive and more geared towards battling the Porsche 911. Mercedes learned a lot from the SLS, like how buyers would be willing to pay up for a bespoke AMG car with no base model beneath it. As the years go on, the SLS has a chance to be a desirable collectible because it has a normally aspirated engine, retro styling, and those wacky gullwing doors. But what about the Roadster?

Mercedes also produced Roadster variant of the SLS, which dropped the gullwing doors in favor of a fabric droptop. When it was new, the Roadster was a few thousand dollars more than the Coupe but has since depreciated more than its hardtop counterpart. Now might be the ideal time to strike on an SLS Roadster while prices are relatively low.

Why You Should Buy One

When you run a search for used SLS models, the most affordable examples (by far) will all be Roadsters. Why? Because it doesn't have the gullwing doors. The SLS was a very interesting car but its party piece was those head-turning doors. Getting out of an SLS was a major event, making drivers feel like a celebrity every time they arrived at their destination. Without the doors, the SLS looks like a run-of-the-mill SL and won't draw much attention to itself.

This could be a bad thing depending on how you look at it. Not everyone enjoys having a barrage of cell phone cameras pointed at them every time they get out of their car. So if you are the type of person who would like to own a supercar but doesn't want the attention a supercar typically brings, the SLS Roadster could be a great choice. Plus, it's way less expensive than the Coupe.

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The Price

Back when the SLS was still on sale, the Coupe retailed for around $192,000 while the Roadster was closer to $200,000. Convertibles typically cost more than the coupe counterparts, so this was no surprise, but prices have now flipped on the used market. The cheapest SLS models are Roadsters starting at just under $100,000. By contrast, the cheapest SLS Coupe models are $20,000 to $30,000 more expensive and have higher mileage (around 30,000) on their odometers. If you want the best deal on an SLS, the Roadster is the way to go.

The Performance

Opting for the Roadster only minimally affects performance. The folding roof adds just 88 pounds (3,657 pounds total) over the Coupe and the Roadster can still be driven at 197 mph with the top down. Power comes from the same 6.2-liter M159 V8 engine producing 563 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque mated to a rear axle-mounted seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. When new, the V8 was the most powerful naturally aspirated engine ever put into production. Putting the power down with launch control could rocket the SLS Roadster up to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, which is nearly identical to the Coupe.

The Interior

Mercedes has come a long way in a few short years with its interiors. The SLS's interior was nice at the time but looks dated by modern standards. There is a central infotainment system controlled by the Mercedes Comand system but the screen is tiny compared to the new Mercedes models. Inside, many of the buttons and switches are shared with lesser Mercedes models but some of the materials, like the carbon fiber trim and brushed metal gauges, are bespoke to the SLS. Even with a nearly decade-old interior, the SLS is still a pleasant place to sit and spend time.

The Practical Stuff

The SLS was engineered in such a way that the folding roof doesn't drastically impact trunk space with 6.1 cubic feet of storage space or just enough for a weekend getaway. You will probably have to stop a few times for gas on your getaway because the SLS is rated at just 13/19/15 mpg city/highway/combined. There is one small benefit of opting for the Roadster - you won't have to strain your back trying to close the gullwing doors.

Verdict

If you are looking for a collectible car likely to increase in value, the SLS AMG Coupe is the car to buy. Much like the Ford GT, its retro styling should garner the attention of collectors. The SLS Roadster may never appreciate in value but it is currently available for tens of thousands of dollars less than equivalent Coupes. If you don't desire the flashiness of the gullwing doors, the SLS Roadster is a smart buy.

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