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Mercedes' Vision with verve

Virtual Vision: Mercedes-Benz's Vision SLA harks back to the silver arrow racers of the 1950s.

Mercedes-Benz will unveil an A-class based roadster concept at the upcoming Detroit motor show

9 Dec 1999

HAVING stolen the 1999 Detroit motor show with its gull-winged Vision SLR, Mercedes-Benz aims to repeat the dose in 2000 with a striking roadster based on the A-class.

The two-seater Vision SLA incorporates several design elements from the SLR, albeit scaled down in every way.

Measuring just 3.77m long, the SLA uses the A190's mechanicals, including its 92kW, 1.9-litre engine.

Mercedes-Benz says the compact roadster aims to deliver "back to the roots" driving enjoyment.

The company's official press release waxes lyrical about the car: "The Vision SLA quickens the pulse, provokes spontaneous enthusiasm and transfers the grand tradition of the SL roadsters to the compact segment for the first time".

Its overall profile is meant to recapture the lines of the legendary silver arrow racers of the 1950s.

But the arrow-shaped hood is perhaps more a link to the Mercedes- powered McLaren that Mika Hakkinen has piloted to the Formula One world championship for the past two years.

The manufacturer has revealed only a sketch of the car with the real thing remaining under wraps until January 10 - when the Detroit motor show gets under way.

Although purely a concept at this stage, the Benz roadster may eventually spawn a production version that could compete against the likes of the BMW Z3 or Mazda MX-5.

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