2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

It's a good time to be the high performance arm of a major automaker.

The newly independent SRT is expected to become the new home of the Dodge Viper.

Nissan's Nismo will soon have a new headquarters and has already begun its more visible role in the company.

Now, Mercedes-Benz's tuning arm AMG is expected to get its very own model. AMG has already developed its own car in the SLS AMG and will soon enjoy ownership of a smaller sports car based on the SLS, if a report in Motor Trend holds true.

The  rumored car is a small, entry level sports coupe built on a shortened SLS platform. It's being referred to as the SLV and is likely to debut at a major auto show sometime this year. The source believes that the car will be a competitor to the Porsche Boxster and Cayman.

It's not clear if the SLV is the same as or separate from the rumored SLC. Information from last summer suggested that the SLV will be powered by a V-6 engine worth around 400 horses. Around the same time, other reports had a model called the SLC battling the Porsche 911 in several tunes from 350  to 500 horsepower. 

While those two models sound close enough to be the same, both sets of rumors suggested that Mercedes/AMG was developing each with several variants in mind. The "V" in SLV supposedly stands for variable body styles, likely to include a coupe and roadster.

So will Mercedes launch an entire line of sports cars to do battle with the likes of Porsche and Aston Martin? Will they all be branded as AMG? It looks like 2012 could bring some answers.