Lit­tle wing

AMG flies into ac­tion with a ri­val for the Porsche Cay­man

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­guide.com.au

THE high-cal­i­bre MercedesBenz SLS gull wing’s baby brother ar­rives later this year.

The SLC coupe should be re­vealed at the Frankfurt mo­tor show in Septem­ber. It is only the sec­ond all-new model devel­oped en­tirely at Benz’s per­for­mance hot­house, AMG.

De­tails of the SLC emerged re­cently, with Benz’s de­sign guru Gor­don Wa­gener con­firm­ing the name of the likely Porsche Cay­man ri­val.

The SLC has been caught test­ing at the Nur­bur­gring, with ev­ery­thing point­ing to a pow­er­plant very sim­i­lar to the 5.5-litre tur­bocharged V8 al­ready used in Benz’s SL63 AMG con­vert­ible.

The SLC should be on sale next year with a con­vert­ible likely for 2015 – a pro­gram that mir­rors devel­op­ment of the SLS.

‘‘ We pushed AMG from a tuning com­pany to an au­to­mo­tive com­pany,’’ AMG-- Mercedes head of devel­op­ment To­bias Mo­ers says. ‘‘ We achieved that with the SLS. It moved us to a new level.

‘‘ We have more than 600 peo­ple. It’s a tech­nol­o­gy­driven com­pany now. You can see that in the out­put to­day in the SLS Black Se­ries.’’

The lat­est devel­op­ment work is on tur­bocharged en­gines and all-wheel drive, he says. ‘‘ When we would like to in­crease our vol­umes for E-Class we have to have a four­wheel drive car. Right-hand drive in com­bi­na­tion with four­wheel drive is coming. With new plat­forms there will be a change and new op­por­tu­ni­ties.’’

That’s al­ready bring­ing three AMG models from the new A-Class range, in­clud­ing the CLA 45 and one that is still se­cret, as well as an up­date of the com­pact GLK that should give a new SUV edge for Benz in Aus­tralia in 2015.

‘‘ Fuel econ­omy is an­other im­por­tant is­sue for the fu­ture. To­gether with our strat­egy, AMG50, our stretch tar­get for the fuel ef­fi­ciency is an­other 20 per cent less,’’ Mo­ers says.

‘‘ One of the clear tar­gets for AMG is to get over 30,000 cars, in the next three to four years. For 2011 it was about 20,000.’’

In Aus­tralia plans are to jump from 1200 cars last year to more than 2000.

‘‘ We haven’t ne­go­ti­ated a tar­get, but we be­lieve we can dou­ble our cur­rent vol­ume. That could be 2014 or 2015,’’ says Mercedes-Benz Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Horst von San­den.

‘‘ It’s am­bi­tious, but a def­i­nite goal. It’s 2000-plus. We be­lieve A45 will open a whole new seg­ment for us. With the pen­e­tra­tion of AMG in this mar­ket we think there are new buy­ers who can now af­ford an AMG.’’

Coupe coup: The SLS soon

will have a smaller sib­ling

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