The new car was star of the show as it took the famous hill climb circuit six times over the course of the weekend. Despite the traditional British summer weather a mixture of glorious sunshine and torrential rain the SLR Roadster always drew huge crowds and gave them a chance to see the new supercar months before it goes on sale in September 2007.

It was appropriate that the SLR Roadster made its first official public appearance at the world-famous Festival of Speed at Goodwood an event local to where it is made at the McLaren Technology Centre in nearby Woking, Surrey.

With the same stunning performance as its coupé counterpart, the carbon fiber SLR Roadster accelerates from 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds, and (where laws permit) on to a top speed of 207 mph. Power comes from a handmade AMG 5.5-liter supercharged V8 engine which develops 626 hp and 780 Nm.

Alongside the new supercar was a display celebrating 40 years of AMG.

Three models from the past showed some of the many highlights of the AMG range. A replica of the 1971 300 SEL 6.8 marked the start of the huge successes on track; the legendary 300 CE 5.6 AMG (better-known as The Hammer) is from the 1980s; and the first official model, the C 36 AMG, all represented some of the milestones in AMG's history.

Alongside the classics was a selection of the latest models in the range, including the new S 63 AMG and the very special SLK 55 AMG Black Series.

The new cars were joined by some treasures from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center. The W125 Silver Arrow Grand Prix racer from 1937 was there; as was Juan Manuel Fangio's 1955 Mille Miglia 300 SLR; and the 1990 World Sportscar Championship-winning Sauber-Mercedes C11 made a return appearance.

Judging by the extremely positive reaction of the knowledgeable visitors at Goodwood, the SLR Roadster is set to become the world's most exciting open car when it is released for sale later this year.