When it introduced the 911-fighting GT at last fall’s Paris Motor Show, Mercedes-AMG categorically ruled out building a convertible version of it. It looks like the Three-Pointed Star’s performance sub-division has changed its mind and German media outlets are reporting the topless GT is on track for a 2016 launch.
Tentatively called GT Roadster, the convertible will fill the gap that separates the SLK-Class and the SL. Sources close to Mercedes have indicated that the Roadster will cost about the same as a mid-level SL but it will be positioned as a more sport-focused model, while the SL will remain the luxury-oriented gran tourer that it has almost always been.
The Roadster is at the embryonic stage of development so details are few and far between. However, it will most likely use a cloth soft top in order to keep weight in check and further set itself apart from the SL, and it will feature roughly the same fastback-like silhouette as the coupe when the top is up.
Body aside, the Roadster is expected to be nearly identical to the existing GT coupe. Entry-level models will be powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine tuned to generate 456 horsepower and 443 foot-pounds of torque, while more expensive S models will benefit from a tweaked evolution of the eight-cylinder that will churn out 503 ponies and 479 torques.
In both models, the front-mid-mounted V8 will spin the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission located over the rear axle.
The GT Roadster will join the newly-announced AMG Sport models in helping Mercedes-AMG give its annual sales a big boost. The sub-division believes it can build a record-breaking 50,000 cars in 2016 and reach an impressive 70,000 cars the following year.
Mercedes will introduce several ragtops over the next few years. A topless version of the C-Class is scheduled to arrive before the end of the year, the first convertible S-Class in decades will be unveiled early next year and the aforementioned SLK will be given a minor facelift and rechristened SLC-Class before next summer.