Mercedes previously said it would limit its new front-wheel drive platform to the existing five worldwide models, but AutoEvolution reports that there is at least one more in the works.
According to the site, a small sports car based on the same platform as the CLA and A-Class is still a possibility, and could be called the SLA.
Back in 2000, Mercedes unveiled the Vision SLA concept, a similarly tiny sports car based on the then-new first-generation A-Class, at the Detroit Auto Show.
Could it finally get its moment in the showroom?
Obviously, things have changed significantly since then. The original Vision SLA’s aluminum and plastic body looks like a prop from a bad sic-fi show, and its 1.9-liter engine probably wouldn’t provide enough power for the modern Mercedes buyer.
However, with Mercedes touting the new A-Class as a sporty hot hatchback, the timing seems right for a drop-top version. Imagine a car the size of a Mazda Miata with the 355-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine from the CLA45 AMG.
What may not be appropriate is the platform’s front-wheel drive. The Mercury Capri and Lotus M100 Elan have shown that front-drive sports cars don’t really work. Mercedes may have to make the roadster all-wheel drive instead.
This is all speculation right now, but Mercedes’ desire to move downmarket – and the popularity of the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S twins – could get the SLA green-lighted, just as the popularity of the original Mazda Miata encouraged Mercedes to build its current small sports car, the SLK.