Mercedes-Benz has confirmed to a UK car magazine that it will launch a compact all-wheel-drive sports car to take on the Porsche 911.
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The sports car has been anticipated as one of the numerous new models to be spun off the company's new 'MFA' modular platform that underpins the recently released Mercedes-Benz B-Class and will sit beneath the next-generation A-Class due here in early 2013, as well as a compact four-door 'coupe' and a baby SUV that will take on the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.

Autocar magazine reports the chief of Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, Dr Dieter Zetsche, hinted that a baby SLS, which will reportedly be called the Mercedes-Benz SLC, would be one of 32 new or significantly updated models the German car maker would launch before 2016.

Due to launch in 2014, the two-door SLC will be priced around £75,000, roughly the same price as the new 911 Carrera, which starts at £71,499. In Australia, the 257kW/390Nm Porsche 911 Carrera is priced from $229,900, which gives an indication of where Mercedes’ sports car is likely to be positioned if it is introduced to out market.

The MFA platform supports both front- and all-wheel-drive layouts, but insiders indicated to CarAdvice the SLC would only be available with all-wheel-drive underpinnings.

Autocar says the SLC is being developed jointly by Mercedes-Benz’s regular passenger car division and its sports-oriented AMG branch.

AMG has already been involved in the overall development of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback, and there will be an AMG-badged model included in the range.