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Mercedes SLC confirmed

A baby Mercedes SLS will go into production in 2014, and it could be joined by a crossover, Auto Express has learned

The baby Mercedes SLS has been given the green light and it will be called the SLC, the firm's design chief told Auto Express.

Head of Design Gorden Wagener confirmed plans for the car and its name during an interview at the Beijing Motor Show. He also said that the production version of the Concept Style Coupe - or CSC - which debuted at the show, will be called the CLA.

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While explaining the firm's three-pronged design strategy, Wagener said: "There is traditional design for cars like the S-Class, progressive design for vehicles like the CLA and dynamic design for the SLS and SLC."

There has long been speculation of an £80,000 Mercedes sports car to rival the Porsche 911 and Aston Martin V8 Vantage, but this is the first time any high-ranking official has confirmed its existence. The car is believed to be a joint venture between Mercedes and its AMG division.

In order to keep costs down, the SLC is unlikely to feature gullwing doors. Power is expected to come from an all-new 4.0-litre V8, while a V6 version based on the SLK's engine is likely to be offered too.

Wagener suggested that a coupe version of the ML 4x4 is also in the pipeline. The BMW X6 rival would be part of a new breed of Sports Utility Coupes, the first of which is likely to use the new A-Class platform.

The SLC isn't likely to arrive until 2014. In the meantime, there will be two more versions of the SLS, the first of which will be the Black Series in July. The CLS Shooting Brake will be unveiled later this year, followed by the CLA and a new S-Class in 2013.

The firm's flagship luxury car will be the first model in the line-up to get Mercedes' new 'black box' technology, which will allow Mercedes to monitor each car's health via the Internet, allowing the early detection of any potential mechanical problems.

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