Mercedes officials who have seen the car claim it gets a distinctive swept-back silhouette and an evolution of the ‘soft nose’ treatment seen on recent Mercedes models.
Dimensionally, it is described as being as wide as the SLS but shorter. Unlike the gullwing-doored SLS coupé, the initial fixed-roof version of the SLC is planned to receive conventional front-hinged doors. A roadster version using a traditional fabric roof is set for launch in 2016.
The coupé’s targeted 2014 launch has been pushed back a year, due to engineering capacity problems caused by the new 2014 C-class.
However, despite the delay, development is on track. “We are progressing the project in a methodical fashion, but there are limits to how many cars we can engineer at the same time,” confirmed a source.
Sources say AMG is benchmarking the SLC against the Aston Martin Vantage as much as the 911 due to its similar front-engined, rear-drive layout.
The SLC will adopt a lightweight aluminium body that weighs around 220kg and is expected to be supplied by Magna. A kerb weight of around 1480kg, some 100kg more than the lightest 911, is being targeted.
The SLC’s V8 will be mounted as far back as possible to optimise weight distribution, with a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox located in the rear axle.
Mystery surrounds which Mercedes V8 engine the SLC will use. Initial plans were to provide it with a new twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, early engineering of which has already taken place. But the cost of developing the new engine, which would produce around 450bhp in the SLC, is leading Mercedes’ financiers to push AMG towards using the SLK55 AMG’s normally aspirated 5.5-litre V8.
This engine currently produces 416bhp — 4bhp less than the Aston Vantage V8 but 21bhp more than the Porsche 911 Carrera S. But the V8’s 398lb ft comfortably eclipses both the Porsche and Aston.
AMG boss Ola Källenius has dismissed speculation of a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 for a base version. “The V8 engine commands cult status at AMG,” he said. “It is what our customers demand.”
The issue of which engine the SLC will use is further clouded by Mercedes’ need to engineer its famed 6.2-litre V8 to meet future stringent EU6 emissions regulations without robbing it of power.