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Detroit show: Benz uncovers new SLC

C this: The Mercedes SLK is dead long live the SLC.

Mercedes SLC replaces SLK and exchanges AMG V8 engine for bi-turbo six


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16 Dec 2015

MERCEDES-BENZ has swapped a V8 engine for a bi-turbo V6 in the flagship AMG version of its refreshed and renamed SLC convertible sportscar.

In line with its global naming policy, Benz has dropped the old SLK moniker for SLC, with the ‘C’ highlighting the car’s close mechanical connection with the C-Class mid-sizer.

The reveal of the reborn roadster falls nearly 20 years after the original SLK went on sale globally, and the new one will arrive in Australian showrooms in June next year.

The biggest change is to powertrains, with Benz ditching the 310kW/540Nm 5.5-litre V8 from the SLK55 AMG and replacing it with a more fuel-efficient V6 unit.

The new performance flagship will now be called the Mercedes-AMG SLC43 and is powered by a 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6 pumping out 270kW at 5500-6000rpm and 520Nm at 2000-4200rpm, which is 40kW and 20Nm less than the outgoing bent eight.

It can dash from zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds – 0.1s slower than the outgoing V8 version –but its fuel consumption figure of 7.8 litres per 100km betters its more powerful predecessor by 0.7L/100km.

The rival BMW Z4 sDrive35i uses a 250kW/450Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight six and does the 0-100km/h sprint in 5.4s, while the Audi TTS Roadster delivers 210kW/380Nm from its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo for a 4.7s 0-100km/h dash.

The SLC line-up has four other variants, starting with a base SLC180 that emplys a 115kW/250Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder delivering fuel consumption of 5.6L/100km and a 0-100km/h time of 7.9s when paired with the six-speed manual, or 8.1s with the 9G-Tronic nine-speed dual-clutch auto.

Next up is the 135kW/300Nm 2.0-litre four-pot in the SLC200 that consumes 6.1L/100km (5.7L for the auto) and hits 100km/h in 7.0s, or 6.9s in auto guise.

All other variants are auto-only, including the SLC300 that uses a 180kW/370 2.0-litre four, ensuring a 6.6s 0-100km/h time and fuel use of 5.8L.

The most economical variant is the SLC250d, which is the sole diesel offering and is powered by a 150kW/500Nm 2.1-litre four-cylinder unit offering up fuel use of 4.4L/100km and a 0-100km/h time of 6.6s. This variant is unlikely to be made available Down Under.

At the moment the Australian SLK line-up includes the SLK200, 250, 350 and SLK55 AMG. A full model line-up will be revealed at the Detroit motor show in January, but Australian pricing and specification will be announced closer to launch.

The SLC is not an all-new model, rather a major facelift of the third-generation SLK that arrived in mid-2011, but it gains a number of exterior styling tweaks to bring it in to line with its more modern stablemates.

Up front, the SLC gets a new bumper with larger, more aggressive air intakes, chrome trim, new headlights with LED daytime running lights, and a redesigned grille that is offered with the diamond pattern as standard across the range.

At the rear there is a new bumper and diffuser housing the tailpipes, and new, narrower tail-lights.

Cabin updates include a new instrument cluster, light or dark aluminium trim parts with a carbon-fibre finish, a new sports steering wheel updated leather and Nappa leather trim and a new Comand infotainment system with a 7.0-inch display.

The ‘vario’ metal roof can now be opened or closed at speeds up to 40km/h, and the new automatic boot separator moves down when the roof is open if it is in the upper position for increased boot capacity.

The SLC adds the Dynamic Select system that adjusts the engine, transmission, steering and suspension to the driver’s taste and includes Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Eco and Individual modes.

The optional Dynamic Handling package lowers the ride height by 10mm and includes an adaptive damping system, direct steering and Dynamic Cornering Assist.

In terms of safety, the SLC has autonomous emergency braking as standard, while options include a reversing camera, blind-spot and lane-keeping aid, an automatic high-beam adjustment function and traffic sign recognition.

A DVD player, Bluetooth, internet radio, sat-nav, USB ports, and an SD card slot are also standard.

The original SLK was launched globally in March 1996 (it went on sale in Australia in February 1997). Over its three generations Benz has sold about 670,000 units.

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