AMG flies into action with a rival for the Porsche Cayman
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