Just Auto is reporting that Mercedes has plans to build the SL model out of aluminum, much like Aston Martin, Audi, Jaguar and Rolls-Royce have done with some of their models. Expected to use an aluminum spaceframe and body panels, the new SL should be at least 10 - 15% lighter than the current model, the weight of which ranges from 3,860 lbs. to 4,500 lbs. depending on what model and options are chosen.
Not wanting an interruption in SL production when the new aluminum structure is phased in, Mercedes is planning the super coupe SLC as a car that will use the spaceframe but be produced only in limited numbers. The idea is to make sure all the kinks are ironed out of the new production process before it's applied to the higher volume SL. Expect only about 3,000 to 4,000 SLC coupes to be produced, and you'll be able to pick one up around 2010, two years before the new all-aluminum SL debuts.
The SLC, however, will not share a body panel with the SL, which means it could even be the retro "gull-wing" coupe at which insiders have been hinting. We're also not sure if Mercedes will even continue to produce the SLC after the new SL arrives in 2012. At this point, there remains more questions than answers.
[Source: Just Auto - sub. req'd]