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Mercedes-Benz is once again testing in the open a new modular platform for its next-generation SL and SLC sports cars.
Engineers are using the modified body of a Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe to hide the platform whose official title is Modular Sports car Architecture (MSA).
Comparing the tester with a standard S63 Coupe highlights its dramatically smaller size.
Mercedes-Benz Modular Sports car Architecture (MSA) test mule spy shots – Image S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
It was in 2014 that Mercedes confirmed it will streamline its various vehicle platforms to four core designs.
These were confirmed as the MRA for Mercedes’ mainstream sedan models, the MFA for compact cars, the MHA for SUVs and the MSA for sports cars.
The first three of these platforms have already started to make their way into production models. The MSA, though, is still several years off as the current SL and SLC are only midway through their respective life cycles.
The new platforms draw on a system of interchangeable modules and components and are scalable in length, width and height and wheelbase. Crucially, the platforms also employ multi-material construction enabling significant weight savings.
It’s too early to talk specifics but it’s expected the new SL will arrive first, most likely at the end of the decade. The new SLC is expected to trail it by about a year. Interestingly, we’ve heard both cars will ditch their retractable hardtops in favor of more conventional—and much lighter—soft-top roofs.
We’ve also heard the next SLC will evolve into a more focused sports car to better challenge BMW’s Supra-twinned Z4 replacement as well as pave the way for a new, entry-level SLA sports car based on Mercedes’ MFA platform.