As a keen driver, it’s a lot easier to find things to like about the SLC 43’s dynamic character, and what it does on a well-surfaced road, than it was with the SLK 55.
Muted and inert steering, overly firm and reactive body control, an unengaging balance of grip and intrusive stability control made this car’s predecessor a dish best served on someone else’s plate.
The SLC 43 addresses at least some of those shortcomings moderately well.
Although it falls short of the dynamic standards needed to compete with the best sports cars in its class, it isn’t for want of effort from AMG.
The stiffer pathways engineered into the SLC’s front end and greater lateral forces conjured by those new wheel angles and suspension settings certainly pay a healthy dividend on steering feel and handling balance.
The directness of the steering is still considerable but, matched to plenty of reassuring weight and contact patch feedback, it’s no longer a barrier to your enjoyment of the car’s handling.
You can guide this SLC with confidence and even feel sure enough of the grip level up front to begin engaging the rear axle in your cornering routines, driving and adjusting the SLC on the throttle as and when you fancy.
The ride, however, can be a little crashy and aggressively damped with the current suspension set-up. If the vertical body control were defter and more progressive, it probably wouldn’t need to be so uncompromising, but as it is, the passive dampers allow a little too much initial unchecked deflection, only to suddenly and abruptly clamp down on it.
That unsympathetic ride tune also frequently asks too much of the SLC’s body structure.
Thumps and thuds that ought to be contained within the wheel arches are allowed to eddy outwards around the cabin, and some scuttle shake is evident over poorer surfaces with the roof down.
Smooth circuits suit the SLC 43 quite well — better, at least, than bumpy, testing B-roads. With good lateral body control and grippy and incisive handling, the car darts into corners keenly.
It demands a certain amount of effort through that weighty, direct steering but also rewards that effort by sticking determinedly to its line and carrying lots of speed.