Mercedes Benz 2000 SLA Vision roadster

2000-mercedes-benz-vision-sla-concept-sideOne Mercedes-Benz source said that “…the new front-drive platform will lend itself to many new bodystyle options”, which may include the long-rumoured sub-SLK two-seater convertible in the vein of the 2000 SLA Vision roadster.

Based on the original, W168 A-class platform, it was one of the stars of the German company’s 2000 Detroit motor show. However, Mercedes got cold feet and aborted the project.

If a modern SLA is spun off the new small-car platform, it might use Mercedes new “twin-charge” turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder family of internal combustion petrol engines.

Mercedes is reportedly in talks with arch rival BMW about sharing the development costs of this engine family for use in a future sub-1 Series range of environmental city car models being mooted by various sources.

We understand that Mercedes’ in-house performance arm, AMG, may even release a works version of the new engine family, driving all four wheels, to take on the likes of the Volkswagen Golf R32 and Ford Focus RS.

Meanwhile, as we reported late last year, the other end of the new B-class range – BlueZero – will leverage the 12-year-old sandwich-floor platform to accommodate the various environmental drivetrains being developed by Mercedes.

These include the E-Cell electric BlueZero, the BlueZero F-Cell fuel-cell hydrogen car, and a petrol-electric hybrid known as BlueZero E-Cell Plus, with all three employing the latest development of liquid-cooled lithium-ion batteries to provide optimum power output and recharging times.

Research and development chief Thomas Weber confirmed there would be two Mercedes small-car architectures in the future.

“The modified sandwich-floor platform provides the perfect basis for a wide model range with electric drive systems,” he said.

“We are also developing a new, additional platform for future compact models with power units based on optimised internal combustion engines.

“The intelligent networking of both architectures enables us to develop our product portfolio extremely flexibly and efficiently.”


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