Mercedes released photos of its upcoming convertible SLS AMG Roadster undergoing testing in Stuttgart, Germany. Barely disguised with black adhesive foil at the front, rear, and along the sides, the Roadster appears to have the same body proportions as its coupe sibling that debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt International Automobile Show, but sans gull wings and a fixed roof.
Chopping off the top of the SLS required a few structural changes. To create driving dynamics that are identical to the coupe model, Mercedes designed more-robust side skirts, added supporting struts at the windshield frame and center tunnel, and stiffened the rear axle using a structure between the soft top and the tank. These changes should help dampen vibrations without adding a lot of weight.
For one of its practical trials, the Roadster will also travel to Laredo, Texas, to see how well the convertible's seals keep out the area's notoriously fine dust that permeates practically all barriers.
Probably the most crucial of the standard tests will be the "Sindelfingen rain test," which is actually a series of 16 tests that will validate the SLS AMG Roadster's watertightness. Among other trials, the SLS AMG Roadster will have its flap seals sprayed with a water hose, experience continuous overnight rain, withstand swirl and high-pressure test, and for the final stage of the gauntlet, run through an automatic car wash.