The spectacular Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG ‘Gullwing’ sports car will not be directly or immediately replaced when its production ceases.
Instead it will be phased out sometime soon after the introduction of the smaller C190-codenamed ‘Porsche fighter’ and eventually replaced – after a suitable gap – by a new flagship supercar.
The C190, also referred to as the GT and SLC, is currently on high rotation in spy footage and photography as the front/mid-engined V8 coupe tests in heavily disguised form ahead of a 2014 reveal and 2015 on-sale date.
The 6.2-litre V8-engined SLS, which is also offered as a convertible, has been a huge success for AMG. The C190 is based on a shorter and simpler version of its aluminium spaceframe chassis and will not have gullwing doors.
“The SLS was in the last 10 years maybe the most important decision we made as a performance car company, because it took the whole organisation and the brand in my view to yet another level,” Ola Kallenius, the CEO of AMG told motoring.com.au.
“That was the car we really had the opportunity to start with a white sheet of paper and really do an out-and-out AMG.
“It has been immensely successful -- successful beyond what we had thought in the beginning. If you look on a life-to-date basis that segment for the last 10-20 years has been dominated by a car perhaps with a red colour and in terms of sales we have been a close second in that segment, the 200,000 Euro roughly entry point supersport segment.”
The SLS’ nominal predecessor, the McLaren SLR, was built between 2003 and 2010. An SLS successor would probably not be seen from AMG, Mercedes-Benz’s in-house tuning arm, until 2020.
Kallenius said a suitable gap was required because the SLS was a unique motor car.
“We probably won’t do a Volkswagen Golf 5, 6, 7 with the SLS because of the unique gullwing doors and so on and so forth. It’s not something you just do one after the after,” he said.
“I am not suggesting we should wait 55 years to do the next gullwing car, but certainly not straight after the one we have done now. That needs to sit in automotive history as its own chapter.”
Kallenius said the success of the SLS had allowed and encouraged AMG to develop the C190 project.
“We will do another sports car. It will be another true AMG in an interesting sports car segment.”
Kallenius would not say how much longer the lifespan of the $486,230 SLS is, but he was prepared to drop a hint.
“We haven’t said yet -- we will say soon. But if you want to buy one strike now!”
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