There is life after the McMerc SLR. We’ve caught Mercedes’ next supercar – the SLC – on test in the icy snows of Scandinavia. Under the bodged Dodge Viper bodywork of this test mule lie the innards of the SLC, which promises to fly Merc’s performance flag into the next decade.
There's no McLaren link this time, so who's helping Merc build it?
Instead of teaming up with McLaren this time, Mercedes is relying on its inhouse expertise in Germany. The AMG performance wing and HWA race team is developing the hard-core SLC. The latter runs the company’s DTM touring car outfit from its base in Affalterbach, and is used to converting sensible roadgoing Mercs into weapon-grade track cars.
It won't look like a Viper, but what will it look like?
Insiders talk of seeking inspiration from the 300SL Gullwing – one of the most hyped Mercs of all time – and it might even ape the 1955 car’s eponymous lift-up doors. We’ll know more when we see a concept car in 2008, possibly as early as the Geneva Motor Show according to some reports. However, CAR thinks an autumn debut is more likely.
Will it be a hi-tech masterpiece?
The SLC represents an important technological leap for Mercedes, being constructed largely out of aluminium. In that sense, it’s a testbed for the next SL roadster, which will be next to get the lightweight treatment in 2012. The SLC may get a carbon roof, too – Merc, like BMW, has been experimenting with composite roof structures to lower the centre of gravity on some of its track-focused Black Series cars.
And what about the power?
The engine is mounted up front in the aluminium chassis, sending the drive back to the rear wheels for a classic GT set-up. Details are still sketchy at this stage, but expect the package to be a two-seater only.
Speculation suggests the V8 powerplant will be the 6.2-litre V8 that powers numerous AMG models. Everyone we’ve spoken to remains tight-lipped about the engine, but the big lump can be tuned to crank out upwards of 500bhp.
Looks like we’ll have to wait until 2008 to find out more concrete details on the SLC…