Wraps Come Off Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster

Mirroring the strategy taken with the GT Coupe launched last year, the GT Roadster will be sold in two versions when North American sales get under way later this year.

Greg Kable

September 14, 2016

5 Min Read
GT Roadster goes on sale in US in secondhalf 2017
GT Roadster goes on sale in U.S. in second-half 2017.

STUTTGART, Germany – Mercedes-AMG reveals its new 196-mph (315-km/h) GT Roadster in a series of official photographs ahead of the 2-seater’s planned world premiere at the Paris auto show later this month.

Mirroring the strategy taken with the GT Coupe launched last year, the GT Roadster will be sold in two versions when North American sales get under way later this year: a 476-hp GT Roadster and the more comprehensively equipped 557-hp GT C Roadster.

Pricing is yet to be revealed, although Mercedes-AMG officials suggest the GT Roadster will be pitched around $10,000 above respective GT Coupe models in the U.S. This should see the standard GT Roadster priced close to $121,000, with the GT C Roadster nudging $141,000. Deliveries won’t begin until second-half 2017.

Sporting the styling updates unveiled on the 585-hp GT R back in June, the GT R Roadster features AMG’s distinctive new 300 SL Panamericana-inspired grille, which receives an altered shape and vertical chrome bars instead of the earlier blade treatment seen on the GT Coupe.

To ensure more efficient cooling of the engine and improved aerodynamics, the GT Roadster also adopts the active air-management system that debuted on the GT R. It uses a series of vertical louvers within the grille that automatically open and close depending on the temperature of the engine to either enhance cooling or smooth airflow.

Further visual changes over the GT Coupe include a more defined splitter element in the lower section of the front bumper, larger air ducts and more defined door sills.

At the rear, the two GT Roadster models vary in width due to the adoption of differing rear fenders. The standard GT Roadster uses the same fenders as the existing GT Coupe, while the GT C Roadster uses the 2.2-in. (51-mm) wider bodywork of the GT R. This allows the latter to run larger 20-in. rear wheels with 305/30 profile rubber as standard in place of the 19-in. rims and 295/35 tires of the former.

As with its predecessor, the SLS Roadster produced between 2011 and 2014, the GT Roadster features an automatic fabric roof. The 3-layer structure, which comes in black, red or beige, is supported by a frame manufactured from aluminum, magnesium and steel. It opens and closes in a claimed 11 seconds at vehicle speeds up to 31 mph (50 km/h), folding and stowing over the rear bulkhead.

Offsetting the loss of a fixed-roof structure is a stiffened aluminum body with thicker sill elements, an additional dashboard support and a new aluminum crossmember supporting a fixed roll bar.

Significantly, the GT Roadster packs greater reserves than the GT Coupe to counteract the higher curb weight brought on by its electrically powered fabric roof and structural stiffening measures.

The roadster lineup shares its twin-charged 4.0L gasoline V-8 with AMG’s headlining coupe. But while the 90-degree unit delivers 462 hp in the GT Coupe and 510 hp in the GT S Coupe, its output has risen to 469 hp in the GT Roadster and 557 hp in the GT C Roadster.

Torque also is up over the GT Coupe, extending by 22 lb.-ft. (30 Nm) in both the GT Roadster and GT C Roadster to 464 lb.-ft. (629 Nm) and 501 lb.-ft. (679 Nm), respectively.

By comparison, the twin-turbocharged 3.8L horizontally opposed 6-cyl. powering the Porsche 911 S Turbo Cabriolet kicks out 580 hp and 516 lb.-ft. (700 Nm).

Together with the increase in power and torque, the rear-drive GT Roadster also receives altered gear ratios for its 7-speed Speedshift dual-clutch transaxle. AMG says the roadster features a higher first and lower seventh gear, as well as a lower final drive than the existing GT Coupe.

Four driving modes are standard via a so-called Dynamic Select controller: Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. The more performance-focused GT C Roadster adds a fifth mode: Race.

With a weight-to-power ratio of 7.4 lbs. (3.4 kg) per horsepower, the 3,516-lb. (1,595-kg) GT Roadster is claimed to hit 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.0 seconds and run to a top speed of 188 mph (302 km/h). With 6.6 lb. (3 kg) per horsepower, the more powerful 3,660-lb. (1,660-kg) GT C reaches 62 mph in 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 196 mph (315 km/h).

Corresponding fuel consumption is put at 25.0 mpg (9.4 L/100 km) and 20.6 mpg (11.4 L/100 km), respectively, on the European test cycle.

AMG says the 144-lb. (65-kg) difference in weight is due to the GT C Roadster receiving more standard features. Included is the 4-wheel-steering system first unveiled on the GT R. It steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction of those up front at speeds up to 62 mph to enhance agility and reduce the amount of steering input that is required to turn into corners. Once that speed is exceeded, the rear wheels turn in the same direction as those at the front for enhanced longitudinal stability without any reduction in overall steering response.

As with the GT Coupe, the two GT Roadster models feature differing suspension setups. The GT Roadster receives a sports suspension with fixed-rate damping, with the GT C Roadster boasting AMG Ride Control with adaptive damping.

Although Mercedes-AMG refuses to comment, German dealer sources confirm the altered styling, more powerful engine and altered gearbox ratios of the GT Roadster models also will be used by an upcoming facelifted version of the GT Coupe.

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