What is it?
Out with the old, in with the new. That’s the message Mercedes-Benz is extolling with the SLC. Don’t be fooled, though. Despite the change in name, the two-seat roadster is nothing more than a mildly facelifted version of the third-generation SLK, which first hit UK showrooms back in 2011. Not so new, then.
Among the subtle mid-life styling changes brought to Mercedes-Benz’s compact roadster are a redesigned front bumper with larger ducts for improved engine bay cooling, an altered grille design and revised headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights and fresh internal graphics. At the rear, there are new LED tail-light graphics and a reprofiled bumper with integrated tailpipes and a more pronounced diffuser element.
Revisions to the operating procedure of the SLC’s folding hard-top now allow it to be opened without having to manually set the luggage cover in place. It also now operates at speeds of up to 25mph, allowing it to be opened and closed while setting off rather than at a standstill, as with the older SLK. Buyers can continue to order the optional Magic Sky Control glass roof, which employs an electrochromic process to vary the amount of light entering the cabin.
Inside, the SLC retains the same dashboard as the SLK. However, it receives revised instruments, fresh trim applications, a larger infotainment monitor and a new three-spoke steering wheel, among other detailed changes.
Standard safety equipment now includes the Active Brake Assist collision prevention system, Attention Assist (which detects and alerts drivers to signs of fatigue), Active Bonnet (which raises the bonnet to protect pedestrians in the event of a collision), remote boot lid release and automatic headlights.
Heading the SLC range is the £46,355 SLC 43. The replacement for the old SLK 55 receives the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine used by the C 450 4Matic Sport. With 362bhp, it delivers 53bhp less than the naturally aspirated 5.5-litre V8 petrol unit used by its predecessor. But while the SLK 55 AMG developed its 398lb ft of peak torque at 4500rpm, the SLC 43's 384lb ft can be tapped from just 2000rpm.
The SLK 55 used a seven-speed version of AMG’s Speedshift automatic gearbox, while the SLC 43 is fitted with Mercedes-Benz’s latest nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission, which, apart from its two extra ratios and significantly higher final drive, also features Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, Eco and Individual driving modes.