Mike Stevens | Feb 8, 2012

Talk of a sub-SLS sports car from Mercedes tuning arm AMG is back, with reports out of the UK this week building on whispers that a rival for Porsche's 911 could be in the works.

Confirming nothing but the possibility, AMG boss Ola Kallenius told Britain's Autocar this week that the popularity of the SLS AMG among buyers - particularly with those that had never considered the brand before - has inspired discussions at head office.

“These products can’t just be built for fun. We need a reasonable return to new fund projects," Kallenius said.

"But the SLS has a return, as well as succeeding by building a brand and being fascinating technologically. Could we grow the family? Probably, yes, but that is not a decision we’ve made at this stage."

If Merc moves to introduce a smaller and lighter sibling for the SLS, it would likely enter as the entry-level offering in an expanded AMG range - one that could also see the AMG brand split off into its own entity (see Dodge and SRT).

Power for the new model could come from a verion of AMG's 5.5 litre V8 engine, producing around 370kW - rather than the 420kW of the SLS AMG's 6.2 litre V8.

Earlier reports have suggested the new model will be named SSK, drawing its styling influence from the SLS but switching out the gull wings for regular doors to reduce cost.

The report adds that the new model could be on sale as soon as late 2013, but unless AMG is working on the car right now, a later debut would be likely.

As for diesels, BMW can keep its new M Performance hi-po diesel, with Kallenius describing petrol engines as the more appealing option for sports applications.

“We looked at diesel a few years back, but petrol engines have obvious benefits of sound, weight, agility and response,” said Kallenius.

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