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2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class Overview

Anthony Sophinos
Automotive Editor - May 10, 2018

You'll be forgiven if you forgot about the SLC. Last year, Mercedes moved just under 2,900 units of the little roadster here in the States; to put that in perspective, it managed to be outsold by the 45% more expensive SL. Credit for its meager sales numbers can be at least partially attributed to age: the baby convertible has been largely unchanged since debuting in 2011, despite a name change three years ago. For 2018, the SLC continues to soldier on with few changes.

What's New for 2018

Mercedes tries to liven things up with the Studio Performance RedArt Edition appearance package for the AMG SLC43. It includes red brake calipers, RedArt interior touches, and black 18-inch wheels with red trim. There's also a new optional steering wheel for the SLC43, and both variants get redesigned leather seating surfaces and optional ambient lighting that now extends to the footwells.

Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class

Choosing Your Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class

There's two distinct flavors of SLC on tap: the sedate SLC300, and the livelier AMG SLC43.

Despite what the 300 moniker might suggest, the SLC300's engine bay is home to a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Power output is 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, which is enough to scoot the 3,300-pound roadster to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. Though there's no manual transmission available, the nine-speed automatic does offer paddle shifters for some semblance of control. The EPA rates this boulevardier as being good for 25 miles per gallon city and 32 highway.

For anyone yawning at those performance stats, there's the AMG SLC43. To earn the AMG credentials, Mercedes swapped out the turbo-four for a twin-turbo six-cylinder. The two additional cylinders and extra turbo are good for 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque, and the whole package lets the SLC do 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds. The nine-speed gearbox returns, but is enhanced by AMG. Unsurprisingly, fuel economy takes a hit over the SLC300, with the EPA estimating 20 miles per gallon city and 29 highway.

Both models eschew a ragtop for a power-retractable hardtop. It can be operated at speeds of up to 25 mph, and retracts in under 20 seconds. For $2,500, the top can be equipped with a trick panoramic roof that remains transparent while puttering around town but darkens when the car is parked. There's also something Mercedes calls Airscarf, which is a neck-and-shoulder-level heating system intended to make top-down motoring more comfortable, whether that's once the sun dips down or while you're trying to eek out a few more open-air jaunts during the shoulders of convertible season. It's standard on the SLC43, and available on the 300.

The familiar Comand infotainment software is standard issue in all SLCs. A console-mounted rotary switch allows users to rotate through the menus displayed on the seven-inch screen. It controls the standard eight-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, and auxiliary audio features.

Other standard features for both SLCs include multiple drive modes, MD-Tex upholstery (Mercedes verbiage for vinyl), power sport seats with memory, heated and powered mirrors, illuminated entry system, a four-way power steering column, and five years of complimentary mbrace Connect, a service which offers roadside assistance, maintenance reminders, and remote access to the vehicle via a smartphone or desktop. Among the no-cost safety features are active brake assist, attention assist, a rearview camera, and dual roll-bars.

SLC300

Starting at $49,395 (including a $995 destination charge), the SLC300 is the cheaper of the two SLC variants. Besides the aforementioned standard features, it comes with the 2.0-liter turbo-four, 17-inch wheels, a sport exhaust, and aluminium trim.

There are three primary option packages from which to choose from, with each more substantive (and expensive) than the previous. The first is the $2,950 Premium 1 Package, which includes the Airscarf system, heated seats, keyless ignition, blind-spot assist, remote hardtop operation, a Harmon-Kardon surround-sound audio system, and SiriusXM radio.

If that's not enough, there's the $7,500 Premium 2 Package. It includes all the contents of P1P, as well as dual-zone climate control, dashtop analog clock, LED headlights with adaptive high-beams, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice control, and ambient lighting.

The priciest but most comprehensive of the three is the $9,600 Premium 3 Package. It is similar to P2P, but adds lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, parking assist, and five years of SiriusXM real-time traffic and weather services.

Also available is a $300 Night Package, which brings some distinct aesthetic touches by the way of gloss black trim, and black 18-inch wheels. Notable standalone options include $350 smartphone integration, $990 adjustable suspension, $625 Garmin navigation, and $1,400 leather upholstery.

AMG SLC43

Stickering for $62,345, the twin-turbo AMG model bestows the SLC with a certain athleticism and performance the 300 model lacks. It is visually distinguishable from the lower-tier car with 18-inch wheels, a distinct grille, true dual exhaust, and a bespoke lower front bumper.

For those hankering for more performance than the standard AMG setup offers, there's the $3,700 AMG Handling Package. It brings with it a sport suspension, a limited-slip differential, performance steering wheel, red brake calipers, and an analog clock.

The Premium 1 Package that is optional on the 300 is standard here, which means no ponying up extra dough for worthwhile features like the Airscarf or heated seats. Because the Premium 1 Package is standard, prices for the Premium 2 and 3 Packages drop to $4,550 and $6,650, respectively. Included equipment on both match what comes with the equivalent packages on the SLC300, but without the now-standard Premium 1 Package items.

Buyers can also get the Studio Performance RedArt Edition for $3,500 and the Night Package for $750. Compared to the 300, leather is now only a $630 upcharge and the SLC300's adjustable suspension is not available; the smartphone integration and Garmin navigation are again on the option sheet.

CarsDirect Tip

No matter which SLC you splurge on, we recommend opting for the Premium 2 Package. Not only does it equip this sun-seeking Benz with navigation and smartphone integration, it also includes the better LED headlights and traffic-friendly adaptive cruise control.

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