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Tony O'Kane | Mar 11, 2010

IMAGES SUBMITTED BY Mercedes-Benz to the European patent office have revealed the true shape of the upcoming SLS AMG Roadster, a convertible variant of the gullwinged supercar that's due to arrive in Australia by the middle of this year.

Seen testing late last year in camouflaged form, the topless SLS ditches the hardtop's distinctive roof-hinged doors and replaces them with a conventional front-hinged design.

The windscreen surround is different to accommodate the roof latching mechanism, but the bodywork ahead of the A-pillars is shared with the Gullwing.

The sloping rear deck of the Gullwing also features on the Roadster, but the side profile reveals that the door aperture on the convertible is larger.

To reduce weight and complexity, Mercedes-Benz has opted to equip the SLS AMG Roadster with a fabric soft top rather than a folding metal roof.

To make up for the loss of rigidity the Roadster will feature additional structural reinforcements to its aluminium chassis, but official information on the weight difference between the Gullwing and the Roadster has yet to be revealed.

The mechanical package, however, will be identical. The Roadster will be powered by the same 420kW 6.2 litre V8 as the Gullwing, and power will be taken to the rear wheels via a rear-mounted seven-speed twin clutch transaxle.

Expect more information to surface closer to the SLA AMG Roadster's official launch, which is expected to occur sometime in the second quarter of 2011.

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