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Mercedes SLC: It's About Time!

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On: Mon, Jul 18, 2011 at 5:28PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Mercedes SLC:  It's About Time!

It seems a bit long overdue, but it has finally been confirmed that Mercedes is finally building a Porsche/Corvette fighting sports coupe. Sure the SLK Roadster is a lot of fun, but the fact of the matter is it just can’t compete on the track with anything more than 250 horsepower. Even with its new redesign, it’s a fun car, but real enthusiasts aren’t going to flock towards it, no matter how pretty. On the other end of the spectrum, the drop-dead gorgeous high-end SLS AMG is a premium blend bruiser. Unlike the mass produced SLK, the SLS AMG is too exotic, and far too expensive for most enthusiasts to afford, or to drive with any amount of regularity (presuming they want to preserve it to any extent). So Mercedes has solved that problem by creating car in between the two that will be called the SLC.

Starting by resurrecting the name SLC, which was last in production for a decade from 1971 to 1981 in the form of the C107 model, the Mercedes will be built on the next-gen SL-Class platform. But whereas the SL models have notoriously been more Gran Turismo cruisers competing with Aston Martins, Jaguars, and Bentleys, the new SLC will be lighter, faster, and erring on the side of sport rather than supple. Power is expected to come from an AMG spec motor. The tried-and-true naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V8 has been used in various cars over the years, but don’t be surprised if a turbocharged V8 (ala the CL550 4Matic) shows up to compete with the latest twin-turbo M5 (or next generation turbocharged M3). Power should be about 100 horsepower shy of the top-dog SLS AMG, just to make sure the new kid on the block doesn’t cannibalize the Alpha Male’s potential customers.

The target weight is expected to be about 3,400 pounds through the use of aluminum, carbon fiber, and other lightweight materials to keep pounds off. Sticking with the traditional front-engine rear-drive platform, the SLC will also stick with traditional-style doors, leaving the flash to big brother SLS. No word on if there will be a manual option, as shifting will more than likely be taken care of by a seven- or eight-speed paddle-shifted semi-automatic. The corporate Mercedes face will stay intact, as well as similar hood and side vents that have graced the SL and SLK of the past few years.

Pricing should come in right around $115,000, which would only be two grand higher than the current Carrera GTS, and be enough of a base price to put the fit and finish above the current C6, even if it doesn’t match the Z06 or ZR1 on the track. But, the big question is: Can the SLC draw loyalists away from the Bowtie brethren or the Porsche purists? We’ll have to wait until fall of 2014 to find out, which may seem like a long time to wait, but better late than never!

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