Not to be outdone by the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport, this is Mercedes’ own ultra-fast open-top. Snappily named as the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster 722 S, it’s a convertible version of the special edition 722 variant. And yes, Merc is indeed eking all it can out of the SLR supercar before the SL Black and SLC/Gullwing arrive.
Just 150 722 SLR S models will be built and that ‘722’ designation (sadly) doesn’t refer to the brake horsepower output, but the number of Stirling Moss’s race-winning 300 SLR from the 1955 Mille Miglia.
Is this Mercedes 722 S drop-top merely a mix of other SLR parts?
Essentially yes. The S is an SLR roadster with all the 722's special tweaks.
So we start with a carbonfibre SLR, but add a '722 S' etched wind deflector and an aluminium-reinforced folding fabric roof with carbon-look weave – though said roof still needs to be manually unlatched.
The supercharged 5.5-litre V8 is then tweaked, lifting power from 617 to 641bhp, while torque climbs from 575 to 605lb ft. That means the 0-62mph sprint passes by in 3.7 seconds, 125mph flashes up in 10.6 and the top speed is raised to 209mph. And all these figures are achieved through a five-speed automatic – those AMG engine builders in Affalterbach are clearly doing a decent job.
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What about other tweaks and changes?
There are new 19-inch forged aluminium wheels, hiding huge ceramic brakes and red callipers. The springs and shocks are stiffer, while the suspension has been lowered 10mm front and rear. The SLR 722 S retains the huge air brake and diffuser.
The 722 updates include a new front splitter, lots of ‘722 S’ badges, plus leather and Alcantara seats with contrasting red stitching and red seatbelts. The interior also features a suede-covered gearlever and handbrake, climate control, a Bose stereo and paddles for the gearbox
All 722 S editions are made by McLaren in Woking, England, the first cars will be available from January 1 2009 and prices should start at around £370,000.
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