Set to debut at next month's Detroit auto show, the SLC becomes the latest model to conform to Mercedes’ new naming structure, with the compact roadster trading its old SLK moniker for the new badge that aligns it with the brand’s ‘C’ family of vehicles (C-Class, GLC).
With the SLK badge goes Mercedes-AMG’s 5.5-litre V8 – the SLK55 AMG was the last model in the car maker’s line-up to feature the old naturally aspirated high-performance engine.
While Mercedes-AMG’s new twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 may seem like an obvious replacement for the new SLC, Mercedes has decided to reserve that engine for its all-new C63 Cabriolet.
The flagship Mercedes-AMG SLC43 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 – harking back to the original SLK32 AMG that sported a 3.2-litre supercharged V6.
The new twin-turbo powerplant produces 270kW between 5500-6000rpm and 520Nm from 2000-4200rpm, leaving it 40kW and 20Nm shy of the old V8, despite trailing its capacity by 2.5 litres. The new SLC43 in one tenth of a second slower from 0-100km/h than the old SLK55 AMG (4.7sec vs 4.6), but importantly for Mercedes’ emissions goals is more than 8 per cent more fuel efficient, claiming combined cycle fuel consumption of 7.8 litres per 100 kilometres.
The SLC43, along with the rest of the SLC range, trades its seven-speed automatic transmission for a new nine-speed unit. A six-speed manual remains standard in the two entry models.
The new line-up comprises the SLC180, SLC200, SLC300, and the SLC250d diesel.
Mercedes-Benz Australia looks set to offer the SLC200, SLC300 and SLC43 variants when the updated roadster arrives on our shores in the third quarter of 2016.
The SLC200 gets a mildly uprated version of its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, now producing 135kW at 5500rpm and 300Nm between 1200-4000rpm (up 30Nm).
The SLC300 will take the place of the current four-cylinder SLK250 and V6-powered SLK350. The new variant gets a high tune of the SLC200’s engine, producing 180kW at 5500rpm and 370Nm from 1300-4000rpm.
Both variants are marginally quicker to triple figures and more frugal than their predecessors.
In a big step forward, the SLC’s ‘Vario roof’ can now be opened and closed at vehicle speeds up to 40km/h, where previously the car had to be stationary.
Outside the SLC comes into line with Mercedes’ latest design language. A new grille, bumper and headlights create an elegant new look at the front, while the rear features narrower tail-lights and a reshaped bumper.
The cabin gets a refresh of its own, benefitting from a new instrument cluster with a 4.5-inch TFT screen, a larger 7.0-inch central display for the enhanced infotainment systems, a new three-spoke sports steering wheel, and a host of other material and trim revisions.
The new Comand Online system incorporates internet access for use of Mercedes-Benz Apps, and facilitates a range of functions including satellite navigation, DVD player, internet radio, voice control, Bluetooth and dual SUB ports and a single SD card reader, among others.
Active Brake Assist autonomous emergency braking is introduced as standard across the SLC range, while the LED intelligent light and adaptive high beam assist plus systems are available as options.
Australian specifications and pricing for the Mercedes-Benz SLC and Mercedes-AMG SLC variants will be announced closer to the cars’ arrival later next year.