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Mercedes to offer SL, GL platforms to Aston Martin?

Sun, 23 Mar 2014

The agonizingly slow courtship between Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz has been a regular topic of conversation ever since the 2009 Lagonda Concept debuted, riding on a Mercedes GL chassis. Beyond that one polarizing concept, though, nearly every other attempt to pair the two brands up in a major way has fallen through. Only the technical partnership between Mercedes and Aston for certain components from AMG, which was negotiated back in July, has held up so far.

That may finally be set to change, according to an excellent profile of the two brands' relationship from Automobile, which claims that two platforms will unite the Germans and Brits. The first tie up is, not surprisingly, a sports car.

As Aston Martin's VH platform - which underpins every car that comes out of Gaydon - continues to age, the pressure will well and truly be on Aston to find a next-gen replacement to underpin the successors to the Vantage, Vanquish, DB9 and Rapide. Automobile claims Mercedes has just such an architecture, in the form its new modular sports car platform. This new platform is slated for the next-generation SLK and SL and is still in its design infancy.

Automobile claims that this fact, along with MSA's versatility - MSA can handle just about any body style - makes it a logical replacement for VH. The fact that it's being designed with plug-in and autonomous technology in mind is a big bonus as well.

As for the other platform, well, it's an SUV. It is not, however, a production version of the Lagonda Concept. Instead, Automobile claims this will be a proper, big, high-riding SUV in the same vein as a Range Rover. Despite previous reports, the Aston SUV would likely end up riding on the next-generation GL platform, which is codenamed X167, although it's still far from a done deal.

"Dieter [Zetsche] is quite chuffed about the Aston thing and he is willing to let them in on X167," an anonymous Mercedes board member told the mag. "Money, however, is a big issue. Aston's 500 million pound ($833.5 million) four-year investment plan is just not enough when you need to renew your entire model range and think about adding an SUV."

According to the board member, to make sharing X167 palatable to Mercedes, Aston will need to hand over another batch of stock, increasing the five-percent share already owned by MB.

The entire profile of Aston's future with Mercedes is available over on Automobile. It really is worth a read. What are your thoughts, though? Should Aston be handing over stock to gain access to additional platforms? Is a car that rides on the bones of an SLK really a proper Aston? Have your say in Comments.

By Brandon Turkus

See also: Motor Trend pits Aston V12 Vantage S against Jaguar XKR-S GT in battle of the Brits, Aston Martin and Mercedes-AMG formalize technical partnership, Get lost in Evo's sublime 2013 Car of the Year testing.