Mercedes-Benz’s secret plans for a front-engined sports car positioned beneath the SLS have progressed to a decisive phase, according to officials from the German maker.
They’ve confirmed to Autocar that the new V8-powered two-seater has been granted an official codename — traditionally the first step towards intensive development and a production future.
The new sports car is scheduled for launch in 2014 and has a projected price of £75,000. The evocatively styled two-door has been conceived in a joint exercise between Mercedes-Benz’s regular passenger car department and its performance car division, AMG.
AMG is set to assume responsibility for the car’s engineering, development and testing in a move mirroring that of the SLS coupé and its forthcoming roadster sibling.
High-ranking Mercedes-Benz officials already refer to the new model as the SLC — a name last used on a fixed-roofed version of the fourth-generation SL, produced between 1971 and 1981.
Unlike that car, though, the modern-day SLC is set to receive its own unique exterior and interior design. The coupé version, depicted here, will be followed in 2016 by a fabric-roofed roadster variant.
However, in a move aimed at ensuring that its development and production costs are kept in check, the new SLC is earmarked to share various mechanical and electrical components with next year’s seventh-generation SL.
Buoyed by the success of the SLS — both commercially and in terms of image building for the rest of the range — Mercedes-Benz’s management sees the SLC as the next logical step in cementing plans for a two-tier line-up of performance cars wearing the three-pointed star: those based on regular models and a more exclusive line-up of dedicated cars.