The SLC isn’t an all-new car, but a heavily revised version of the outgoing SLK. As part of Mercedes’ new naming strategy, the new title signifies its position within the Mercedes range, which the brand says is most closely aligned with the C-Class.
Mercedes SLC styling
Those familiar with the outgoing SLK will see the similarities from the outside, because the SLC retains the same basic shape. Details like the sleeker headlights bring the new model closer in line with the current C-class, as does the re-profiled bumper and diamond-shaped pattern for the radiator grille. At the rear, the tail lights receive revised LED graphics, and the bumper features a more purposeful diffuser section at its base.
Mercedes SLC interior
Save for a few minor tweaks, the cabin remains almost identical to that of the SLK. Changes include a new seven-inch infotainment screen (up from the SLK’s 5.8-inch screen), revised dials and a new steering wheel, as well as two new leather upholstery shades: saddle brown and platinum white.
As with the SLK which preceded it, the SLC’s party piece is its metal folding convertible roof. The mechanism and software have been updated for the SLC, allowing it to open and close up to a speed of 25mph.
Mercedes-AMG SLC 43
The peak of the SLC range will be the new Mercedes-AMG SLC 43. Power comes courtesy of a 362hp 3.0-litre biturbo V6, replacing the 5.5-litre lump of the old SLK 55 AMG. While it’s a shame the hilarity of a huge V8 shoehorned into a small roadster will be lost, the new unit isn’t found wanting – a 0-62 time of 4.7 seconds is only 0.1 seconds shy of the old car.
Peak torque of 384lb ft is slightly down on the V8’s 398lb ft, but it arrives much lower in the rev range, so in the real world it feels more flexible. It’s more efficient, too: the latest AMG is claimed to return 36.2mpg – a 2.6mpg improvement.
A pair of flaps within the exhaust system remain closed in normal driving conditions to keep things quiet and refined, but during hard acceleration they open up for a more raucous exhaust note.
Mercedes SLC driving
Under the skin, the regular SLC models remain similar to the SLK. A Dynamic Select System allows the driver to adjust the engine, transmission, steering and suspension settings to one of five modes: Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Eco and Individual. An optional Dynamic Handling package incorporates an adaptive damping system and drops the suspension by 10mm.
The SLC 43 gains more extensive changes. Handling is said to feel more tightly controlled thanks to newly-developed front and rear axles and new engine mounts. A mechanical limited slip differential is optionally available, which Mercedes says improves acceleration out of corners and provides greater stability under heavy braking.
Mercedes SLC engines
In addition to the SLC 43, SLC buyers in the UK will have a choice of one diesel and two petrol engines. The SLC 200’s 2.0-litre motor produces the same 181hp as the outgoing SLK 200, but with 221lb ft it’s significantly more torquey. It’s also capable of returning up to 49.5mpg – a claimed 6mpg improvement. The SLC 300 uses a 242hp version of the 200’s engine, enough to help it reach 62mph from rest in 5.8 seconds. The one diesel option, the 250 d, is relatively unchanged from the outgoing SLK 250d, returning 64.2mpg in official tests.
All models are available with Mercedes’ latest nine-speed automatic gearbox, while the 200 is also offered with a six-speed manual.
Mercedes SLC specs
As one would hope for from a Mercedes sports car, equipment levels will be fairly generous, with all models featuring a full leather interior and a seven-inch infotainment system as standard. Notable optional extras include full-LED headlights and a reversing camera.
The SLC is offered with a couple of safety features not previously available for the SLK. Active Brake Assist – an autonomous emergency braking system – is now offered as standard, as is a function within the passenger seat which automatically deactivates the passenger airbag if a child seat is fitted. Traffic Sign assist recognises speed limit signs, and can even inform the driver if they try to head the wrong way along a one-way street… should you need it.
Mercedes SLC price
Exact prices for the new SLC have yet to be announced. However, they are unlikely to change significantly from the SLK, which starts at £34,715 for the entry-level 200 and rise to around £55,000 for the AMG.
Mercedes SLC release date
Order books for the new SLC are set to open in January, with deliveries starting in March 2016 – 20 years since the introduction of the first SLK.