Mid-Cycle Refresh Brings New Name to Compact Roadster
The SLK name is history, but in its place is the new SLC, a refreshed roadster with a badge that aligns it with the automaker’s new naming strategy. Before it goes on sale next spring, the 2017 SLC-Class will debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show.
Two model variants will be offered: the Mercedes-Benz SLC300 and the high-performance Mercedes-AMG SLC43. Power for the SLC300 comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder making 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, and the AMG SLC43 gets a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 rated 362 hp and 384 lb-ft. Both engines are backed by a new nine-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels.
Mercedes claims the SLC300 can reach 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and the SLC43 in 4.6 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph and 155 mph (209 and 249 m/h), respectively. The Dynamic Select feature offers five driving modes include Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Eco, and Individual. On AMG SLC43 models, the adjustable flaps on the AMG Sport exhaust system change depending on drive mode.
The outgoing Mercedes-AMG SLK55’s AMG suspension has been modified for duty in the SLC43 and features more robust mounting points and revised steering. An available AMG Ride Control suspension for the AMG SLC43 features adaptive adjustable damping, the Handling package, and a mechanical limited-slip differential.
The SLC300’s available Dynamic Handling package features an adaptive damping system and ESP Dynamic Cornering Assist, which is adjusted depending on the selected drive mode. Like the AMG version, the SLC300’s sport exhaust system features an adjustable internal flap that changes the exhaust tone based on drive mode.
Exterior changes on the 2017 SLC include a revised front grille with a new diamond insert and new LED daytime running lights, and available LED headlights. The grille on base models is finished in black with silver louvers and chrome trim, while the Sport package is finished in chrome with silver louvers. The Night package changes the Sport package’s louvers to high-gloss black. Around back, new LED taillights feature a narrower design with horizontal graphics. Other cosmetic changes include new aluminum trim parts with carbon fiber finish and a redesigned instrument cluster and sport steering wheel. Ambient lighting is available for the footwells.
The 2017 SLC will offer two new interior colors including Saddle Brown and Platinum White. Both colors are available in Nappa leather, while the latter is also available in designo Nappa leather. New exterior colors include Solar Red, Polar Blue, and Polar White.
New standard safety features includes a rearview camera and Active Brake Assist, which uses radar-based proximity sensors to autonomously brake to reduce the chances or severity of a rear-end collision depending on vehicle speed. Available active safety tech includes Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist, and Dynamic LED Headlights.
Other changes to the SLC include streamlined operation of the retractable hard top. Although the operation must begin with the vehicle stationary, the roof can continue to be raised or lowered up speeds up to about 25 mph (40 km/h). Still available is the Magic Sky Control feature that can lighten or darken the roof’s glass. A new trunk separator is now standard and separates the cargo area from the lowered hard top.
The available Airscarf keeps occupants neck’s warm with the top down, while the rear quarter windows can now be raised independently of the door windows to reduce wind noise with the top down.
The available Comand Infotainment system features a new 7.0-inch high-res color screen, hard disc navigation system, internet access, Mercedes-Benz Apps, DVD player, Internet radio, Bluetooth phone and music streaming, voice-operated control, two USB ports and an SD card slot, iPhone/iPod integration including phone book import and album cover art display.
Mercedes claims the new 2017 SLC models offer better performance as well as improve fuel economy. Even though the new name better ties the compact roadster to the C-Class, the revisions to the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC300 and 2017 Mercedes-AMG SLC43 should keep the sporty model competitive.