2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550, front three-quarter view

Planning to reduce its platform count to just four, Mercedes-Benz will put the next generation SL on the same Modular Sports Architecture (MSA) as the upcoming SLK. Right now they are the only two cars planned to use MSA, with the firm's other rear-wheel-drive cars going on the Modular Rear Architecture (MRA). That leaves the Modular Front and Modular High architectures for the rest of the lineup.

The SL rides on its own platform now, but Auto Express reports that switching to the highly versatile MSA will allow the 2019 SL and next SLK to be built in the same Bremen, Germany factory. The MSA might make for a lighter SL, and it allows for a different wheelbase, length, width and height between that and the SLK, so the SL will retain its stance advantage over the smaller roadster. A previous report indicated that the 2019 SL would go back to a fabric roof, but the AE piece says that the possibilities inherent in the MSA could allow both fabric and a folding hardtop options.

The MSA will also, as part of the overall platform strategy, save money, improve quality and reduce time-to-market. Sharing between models lines can also go both ways, with plug-in hybrid advances potentially moving up from the C-Class to the SL. 4Matic might make its first appearance on Mercedes' top-tier droptop.