This SLC roadster is an imperfect and slightly confusing way to introduce Mercedes-AMG’s new range of medium-hot ‘43’ models for one very good reason: it’s rear-wheel drive.
The similar-engined V6 saloons, coupés and estates due to follow it will all feature not just nine-speed automatic gearboxes but also all-corner 4Matic drivelines.
The cornerstones of AMG’s ‘43’ mini-brand will be defined as performance value, all-weather usability and decent real-world fuel economy. That’s largely virgin territory for AMG in every instance.
Nevertheless, the SLC 43 has the same twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 engine that will power the upcoming C 43 Coupé and E 43 in saloon and estate guises, here producing 362bhp and 384lb ft of torque.
That’s gutsy enough for a 0-62mph acceleration claim of 4.7sec. The outgoing SLK 55’s V8 was good for 416bhp, 398lb ft and 0-62mph in 4.6sec – but the SLK 55 was also a £55,000 car and always felt to us somewhat overpriced and better endowed than its chassis truly deserved.
A subtle repositioning on price and a reappraisal of sporting ambitions were in order, then.
The new 43 engine, codenamed M276DELA30, is made up of six slightly oversquare cylinders in a 60deg V shape. Unlike AMG’s V8s, it’s not hand-assembled by AMG in Affalterbach but built at Mercedes’ main engine plant at Bad Cannstatt, Untertürkheim.