Along with the streamlined new naming conventions that fans are still coming to terms with, there’s been a much more sensible and obvious platform-sharing arrangement of late within Mercedes-Benz.
With more models moving onto a shared architecture, it is logical to consider that the next generation of Mercedes’ renamed SLC range (previously SLK) might be underpinned by a front-wheel-drive platform in the future.
“A front-wheel-drive roadster is a very different animal,” says Mercedes-Benz chief Dr. Dieter Zetsche, when asked the question at this week’s international launch of the refreshed SLC range.
He’s also keen to emphasise there’s more to consider than simply the platform that the vehicle would be based on – design being a key factor.
“Especially the Mercedes-Benz long hood and the long space between the wheel and the front door, which is a signature,” he says. “That is very much learned, and inherent to the brand.”
The boss of Mercedes-Benz also notes the direction of where development funding goes will be key for all brands in the next decade.
“Going forward, we all know there are big expansions in the auto industry, and those expansions are more to sedans and SUVs than sports cars,” he says. “Within this climate, we have to look also at our coupes and convertibles and roadsters.”
Reading between the lines, it is clear that slipping a drop-top body onto a more affordably produced front-wheel-drive architecture is not out of the question for the next SLC.
So, will the new SLC be FWD or not? Don’t expect Zetsche to hand out any golden answer just yet. “Our development times are much shorter than they used to be, so we can’t comment on that yet,” Dr. Zetsche says with a smile.