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Mercedes SLC (2015) - the R190 baby SLS revealed

By Georg Kacher (artist's impression Christian Schulte)

Spy shots

08 November 2011 09:22

The gestation process was slow and tricky, but we can now announce that Mercedes has at last signed off the SLC - a baby SLS supercar the AMG boys had up their sleeves for over two years.

The new Merc SLC is now due in 2015 when the SLS comes in for its final pit stop. The new, slightly smaller supercar will be available in coupe and roadster guise, and it is front-engined after an earlier brief dalliance with a mid-engined set-up.

So what powers the new Mercedes-Benz SLC?

This is one area where we were wrong. The SLC will not accommodate the expected new AMG-tuned twin-turbo V6, as CAR reported earlier, but the faithful V8 which is mated to the familiar dual-clutch transmission.

It's still early days for this programme, but the Affalterbach grapevine suggests that instead of the big-bore 5.4- or 6.3-litre V8 units, project R190 (the official codename) will in fact feature a brand-new downsized 4.0-litre V8.

How come? Because after BMW and VW/Audi, MB is also about to switch to a new engine generation with a standardised 500cc-per-cylinder displacement. As a result, there will soon only be 2.0-litre fours, 3.0-litre sixes and 4.0-litre V8s. Heaven knows how they will be badged, though, Merc labels having long since lost much bearing on the actual capacity under bonnet.

The V12 and the old-school three-cylinder will eventually be phased out, and the all-new three for Smart and the A-class will be supplied by Renault-Nissan.

What is the new Mercedes SLC (2015) made out of?

Since R190 does after a brief overlap effectively replace the SLS, we can expect a similar aluminium-intensive engineering layout, a lighter kerb weight, even better handling qualities and exceptional performance.

The SLC puts an end to the dream of a mid-engined Mercedes sports car, but at the same time it fuels speculation about a complete range of emphatically dynamic two-seaters.

Merc's supercar plan

On one side of the SLC, we may thus eventually find a lightweight V6-engined spin-off of the next SLK. On the other side, we may find a carbonfibre supercar which could take the friendly rivalry with McLaren to the next stage.

Unfortunately none of these emotional newcomers can answer such truly urgent questions facing parent firm Daimler. Such as the future of Smart, how to plug the gap between Smart and the A-/B-class, and which alternatives to BMW i and Audi E-tron Mercedes should offer.