Last year, both Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetsche and head of design Gorden Wagener confirmed rumors about a new front-engined, rear-wheel drive compact supercar that would be named the SLC.
At the time, it was thought that the SLC would slot below the SLS AMG, doubling the three-pointed star’s supercar fleet. Now, though, a report from CAR magazine claims that the SLC, in fact, will replace the SLS when it hits the market in 2015.
While do not have any input from Mercedes' officials to support the report yet, the British publication states that the SLC will be based on a revamped version of the current SLS aluminum platform, which is flexible enough to be easily modified for length, width and wheelbase.
In theory, that’s good news as it will reduce the development costs of the SLC that will be smaller than the SLS AMG. Losing the gullwing doors will contribute to the cost cutting, although the conventional doors are also designed to reduce weight and improve structural rigidity.
Being based on a redesigned SLS platform means that the SLC will retain the same basic proportions with a long hood and cabin moved towards the rear, and will also retain the transaxle configuration.
Unlike the SLS, though, which was developed from the outset with a roadster in mind, the SLC will, according to the report, be offered only as a coupe.
Since AMG has all but phased out naturally aspirated engines, the 6.2-liter V8 that is currently available only in the SLS and the C 63 AMG is said to be replaced by a forced-induction unit.
Company insiders told the magazine that the 1,550 kg (3,47 lbs) SLC will be powered by a new twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 packing 485 bhp and 500 lb-ft (677 Nm) of torque that should make it more than a formidable rival for the 155 kg lighter, but 85 bhp less powerful, Porsche 911 Carrera S.
It’s true that these numbers are inferior to the 563 bhp of the SLS – but fear not, as an S-Model version of the same engine with a larger intake plenum, new camshafts and a free-flowing exhaust system will not only match but exceed Mercedes' current supercar, putting out 585 bhp and 553 lb-ft (750 Nm) of torque.
Both versions are said to transmit power to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a limited-slip differential, with the S-Model getting ceramic brakes as standard.
Other variants on the cards are an even more powerful GT and even a Black Series. Perhaps most important, as far as sales are concerned, is the addition of a 3.0-liter 333 bhp V6 in 2016 that will be aimed at the base 911 Carrera.
*Car pictured above is an SLS AMG test mule
By Andrew Tsaousis