Mercedes-Benz is hard at work on a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe to rival the likes of the Porsche 911, Bentley Continental GT and Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Based on the next-generation SL-Class architecture, the SLC will be smaller and lighter than the luxurious 2-seat roadster. Expect plenty of aluminum and, possibly, even carbon fiber to be used in the chassis and body of the SLC.
Slotted beneath the SLS AMG Coupe (and the new SLS Roadster), the SLC will likely be powered by an AMG-tuned 5.5-liter V-8 engine. That should give the SLC more than enough power to challenge the 911 Carrera, without treading on the toes of its bigger and more expensive sibling, the 571-bhp SLS AMG.
Based on the SLS’ starting price of $185,000—and the $80,000 you’d pay for a base Porsche 911—we expect the price of the SLC to fall somewhere around $120,000 when it arrives in 2014.
It has been a while since the SLC name graced a Mercedes-Benz. The last iteration was the long-lived C107 model, which lasted from 1971 to 1981. The top powerplant at the time was an aluminum 5.0-liter V-8 engine mated to a 3-speed automatic (though Mercedes-Benz eventually added one extra cog toward the end of the SLC’s lifetime). The new SLC will borrow some styling cues from the past, though the shape appears wholly modern and less retro in spirit than the SLS AMG.
Judging from this illustration, the shape of the SLC appears squat and aggressive. A large grille and oversized Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star dominate the front end. The headlamps sweep backward, giving a sense of speed. Those large side vents are likely functional and there to draw heat away from the engine. And admit it, they also look really cool.
Don’t expect any gullwing-style doors, such as the ones you’ll find on the SLS. A roadster version of the SLC is likely, though Mercedes will be eager not to have it overlap with the most potent versions of the next SL-Class. That means any SLC Roadster will likely place an emphasis on performance, rather than the luxury and tech goodies found in an SL.