Next Mercedes SL to ditch retractable hardtop?

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG
2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG
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Mercedes-Benz has had great success with its front-wheel drive compact platform that underpins the CLA-Class, GLA-Class and other models. Now, it looks like that spirit of sharing might be moving up market for the Three-Pointed Star. AutoBild in Germany suggests the company is working on a modular chassis for the next SL-Class and SLK-Class, and it would be just one of many rumored changes for the droptop models.

The report claims that Mercedes is developing a new Modulare Sportwagen-Architektur platform. As the name suggests, it would underpin the company's sports cars, including the SL in 2021 and SLK in 2020. This solution would mean cheaper development costs and more shared parts. However, it would also provide a performance advantage with a lower mounting position for the engine and transmission, according to AutoBild.

The SL and SLK would also see major changes to their roofs. The new SL would move from its current folding hardtop to a fabric top to save weight and go for a more classic design. On the other hand, the SLK would stick with its current retractable hardtop.

In terms of future engines, AutoBild believes that Mercedes' rumored 3.0-liter inline-six is going to make up most of the SL's engine options with 365-horsepower and 435-hp versions. The SLK would make do with four-cylinder engines and lower power tunes of the inline-six.

Commenting on the possibility of a shared platform, Christian Bokich, Mercedes-Benz US manager of product and technology PR said: "At this point, it's too early to tell."

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