Instead of replacing the existing SLS with a like-for-like model, the new car will be smaller in order to allow it to more readily compete with the Porsche 911.
Both coupé and cabriolet models of the front-engined, rear-drive SLS successor are set to be offered, with a mooted price tag of between £80,000 and £120,000. Originally thought to be badged the SLC, it is now understood that the model will not have an 'SL' prefix.
Set for a launch in late 2015, the new sports car is hoped to help Mercedes appeal to a wider market. Codenamed C190, it is predicted to sport a more contemporary appearance than the retro-inspired SLS as part of the new Mercedes push to attract younger buyers.
“It is important that it appeals to the youth crowd, even though in all likelihood it will be bought by older customers,” a senior design source at Mercedes revealed.
Officials claim that the new model gets a distinctive swept-back silhouette, while dimensionally it is as wide as the SLS AMG but shorter. It won't have the gullwing doors of the SLS AMG, but instead will be fitted with conventional front-hinged doors.
No powertrain options have been confirmed but it is likely that the new C190 uses AMG's new twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, which will also see service in the replacement for the C63 AMG. The transmission is expected to be a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle unit. An SLS AMG Roadster seen testing recently is reportedly being used to benchmark that engine.
AMG boss Ola Källenius has dismissed rumours of a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 for a base version of the upcoming model. “The V8 engine commands cult status at AMG,” he said. “It is what our customers demand.”
Initial reports estimate a kerb weight for the new C190 of 1480kg, with 220kg of that reputedly consisting of an aluminium body supplied by manufacturing company Magna. The engine will be mounted far back in car's engine bay, helping optimise its weight distribution.
It's rumoured that the manufacturer has been benchmarking the car against the Aston Martin Vantage as well as the 911, due to its similar layout.
The new two-seater will be the second stand-alone model to be created by Mercedes’ AMG performance arm, after the SLS.