MERCEDES-BENZ’S SLK-replacing SLC has arrived with more than just surface-level
changes as the new rear-drive two-seat roadster receives a pricing reshuffle,
new engine options, improved safety technology, and the only manual gearbox in
its entire passenger-car range.
According the Mercedes, the name change is to acknowledge the “traditionally
close relationship with the C-Class” where “much of the roadster’s technology
is derived”, and can be differentiated from its SLK predecessor by the diamond
radiator grille and reworked lower front fascia.
A new entry-level SLC180 variant has been introduced, priced at $70,900 before
on-road costs, while the SLC200 receives a $3300 price cut to $83,855. The
SLC300 jumps $400 to $99,855 and the new flagship AMG43 carries a $134,615
Powering the new SLC180 – available with a six-speed manual or no-cost
nine-speed torque converter automatic – is a 1.6-litre turbocharged
four-cylinder petrol, producing 115kW of power and 250Nm of torque, marking the
return of a sub-2.0-litre engine into Mercedes’ two-seat roadster range which
was last seen in 2015 before Mercedes replaced the powerplant of the SLK200
with a 2.0-litre engine.
Mercedes-Benz public relations and product communications manager Jerry
Stamoulis said the debut of the SLC180 would broaden the appeal of its two-seat
roadster and is instrumental in the German marque’s new approach.
“With the SLC180, looking at previous models like the C180 coupe that we had in
the previous generation – the W204 C-Class – there was certainly a market that
were happy with that engine,” he said.
“Those of us internally who have driven the C-Class coupe which had the
1.6-litre thought it was a great engine and we had the opportunity to bring
that engine into the SLC.
“We thought, let’s see how we can maybe capture a different market to what SLK
did because we’ve changed the strategy. You can tell by the entire line-up, a
fair amount has changed compared to the SLK.”
Standard equipment on the SLC180 includes 18-inch wheels, satellite navigation,
leather interior, heated seats, reversing camera, digital radio and Apple
With peak torque available from 1200-4000rpm, the baby SLC will accelerate from
zero to 100km/h in 7.9 seconds, or 8.1s with the automatic transmission option
ticked, before hitting an electronically limited top speed of 210km/h.
Fuel efficiency is rated at 5.2 litres per 100km in the 1428 kilogram manual
SLC180 and 6.2L/100km for the 1456kg SLC180 automatic.
Moving up to the SLC200 adds Dynamic Select driving modes and removes the
manual option, but sees power increase to 135kW/300Nm courtesy of the SLK200
carryover 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, able to propel the SLC from
0-100km/h in 6.9s and return a fuel economy figure of 6.2L/100km.
The SLC300 gains 18-inch AMG wheels, AMG bodykit, lowered sports suspension,
keyless entry and start, radar guided cruise control, and Mercedes’ Airscarf
system to heat occupant’s necks with the roof down.
Powered by a 180kW/370Nm 2.0-litre turbo four – the same engine in its SLK300
predecessor – the automatic-only SLC300 will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 5.8s
with a fuel economy figure of 6.3L/100km.
While the new range-topping automatic-only AMG43 ditches the outgoing SLK55 AMG’
s 310kW/540Nm 5.5-litre naturally aspirated V8 donk in favour of a 270kW/520Nm
3.0-litre biturbo V6, the SLC is only 0.1 seconds slower to 100km/h, reaching
the speed from a standstill in 4.7s.
Fuel economy, as expected, is improved from 8.5L/100km in the V8 to 7.9L/100km
in the V6 and additional equipment over the SLC300 includes a modified version
of the AMG-fettled suspension from the SLK55 AMG, specially designed engine and
rear axle mounts, an adjustable AMG sports exhaust, perforated front and rear
brakes, sports seats wrapped in Nappa leather, Harman Kardon sound system and
Mercedes-AMG chairman Tobias Moers said the AMG SLC43 is still a thoroughbred
AMG despite the downsizing of the engine.
“The new Mercedes-AMG SLC43 unites the classic virtues of a roadster with
exemplar efficiency,” he said.
“Weighing less and with lower fuel consumption, the new SLC43 delivers a
similar performance to the SLK55 on the race track. This vehicle provides
typical AMG driving pleasure in a compact open-top two-seater in line with the
needs of today’s market.”
While its C-Class stablemate has a choice of two AMG-fettled versions, the AMG
C43 powered by the same 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and a fire-breathing 4.0-litre
biturbo V8 AMG C63 S, Mr Stamoulis ruled out the higher-performing engine for
Mercedes’ roadster range.
“Look at this stage, there is no other variant planned above the 43,” he said.
“Never say never, but at this stage, for the foreseeable future, that is the
top-of-the-range AMG model.”
Safety features standard across the new SLC range include six airbags, Active
Brake Assist with emergency autonomous braking, driver fatigue warning system
and hill-start assist.