The key changes for most buyers though, lie in upgraded automatic transmission and a ‘DYNAMIC SELECT’ driving modes system that helps make this machine more rewarding to drive than you might expect.
The SLC is very much an evolution of the SLK it replaces, which is a good thing in our book. What you get is a sleek two-seat roadster that corners with ease and plenty of poise. It also steers accurately and precisely, with none of the shimmy or flex that some convertible cars suffer when dealing with bends or broken roads. Go for the this particular model’s ‘AMG Line’ trim and you get firmer ‘Sports’ suspension that lowers the car by 10mm but delivers no detriment to comfort or agility. Key improvements made as part of the evolution into this SLC model include the addition of a sophisticated 9-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic gearbox that almost all customers will want. Plus there’s a ‘DYNAMIC SELECT’ driving modes system that allows you to alter steering feel, throttle response, gearshift timings and stability control thresholds to suit the way you want to drive.
Under the bonnet, the key change is the installation of a twin-turbo 3. 0-litre V6 in the top full-AMG model to replace the previous throbbing V8. Otherwise, the mainstream engines are carried over from the previous SLK line-up, with SLC 200 and 300 variants sharing the same 2. 0-litre petrol turbo engine and respectively offering either 184 or 245bhp. Alternatively, buyers can opt for an SLC 250d diesel variant that develops 204bhp and puts out 500Nm of torque, yet still manages 70. 6mpg on the combined cycle and 114g/km of CO2.
Different, but somehow still the same is the aesthetic story with this SLC. The changes over the third generation SLK it’s derived from are minor, which means that you get the familiar ‘long bonnet, short boot’ roadster proportions that have long characterised that model line.
The steeply-raked ‘diamond’-style front grille is new, elongating the appearance of the arrow-shaped bonnet and now more closely copying that of the C-Class model that provides this roadster’s engineware.
Before we look inside, let’s just take a moment to consider the SLC’s electro-hydraulic vario metal folding roof. It works in just 16 seconds and can, as here, be specified with a glass top that comes with a further ‘MAGIC SKY CONTROL’ option that’ll turn the panel opaque at the touch of a button to shade the cabin from bright sunlight. Changes allow the roof to now work on the move at speeds of up to 25mph. And with this improved set-up, the boot separator will always automatically be moved into the right position to enable roof functionality. Specify the ‘KEYLESS GO’ option and the top can even activate from the key fob. Of course, with the roof down, luggage capacity will be compromised – it’s just 225-litres; that rises to 335-litres when the roof is up.
Take a seat inside and again, you’ll find that the evolutionary process has led to a range of subtle changes. This revised sports steering wheel for example, perfect in size and thickness and lovely to hold with the perforated leather and contrasting top-stitching you get in this ‘AMG Line’-trimmed model. Through it, you view a redesigned instrument binnacle, the two tubular instrument surrounds now featuring black dials with red needles, the gauge faces on this sportier variant picked out with a chequered flag motif. Sports seats are standard of course, and they’re very supportive for drivers of all sizes.
Back in 1996, the Mercedes SLK re-invented the coupe-cabriolet concept for the modern age. In many ways, its SLC successor still does.
The brand understands its target audience and in this SLC, has brought us a contender that's become more finely attuned to its market than ever before. If you’re one of those believing a two-seat roadster to be a selfish and irresponsible indulgence, the Three Pointed Star clearly thinks it can persuade you otherwise.