To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its SLK roadster, Mercedes-Benz is giving it an update, and a new identity. Reviving the SLC name, albeit in a different form to when it last appeared as a coupe version of the smaller SL roadster.
Hitting the road overseas in March 2016, the SLC will offer a restyled front, new tail-lights and rear bumper, and a new flagship SLC 43 model that ditches the SLK 55’s V8 in favour of a less-powerful twin-turbo V6.
Overseas the model range will also include the 115kW 1.6-litre SLC 180, 135kW SLC 200 and 180kW SLC 300 turbocharged four-cylinder versions, the latter two both measuring 2.0-litres in capacity.
Europe will also get an SLC 250d diesel variant that produces 150kW and a huge 500Nm of torque, however don’t expect to see that model in the Australian line-up.
Both the SLC 180 and SLC 200 will be offered with a six-speed manual transmission, with an optional nine-speed automatic. SLC 250d, SLC 300 and SLC 43 are paired with the nine-speed transmission as standard.
The new range topping SLC 43 makes for an interesting debut. replacing the previous naturally aspirated V8 of the SLK 55. The new model drops 40kW and 20Nm, but offers 0.6 l/100km better fuel economy (7.8 l/100km), and takes just 0.1 second longer to hit 100 km/h from zero (4.7 seconds).
Despite measuring 3.0-litres capacity, and twin turbochargers, the 43 V6 is still outgunned by the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo used in the A 45, CLA 45 and GLA 45, which is rated at 280kW, but falls back on torque with 475Nm.
Interestingly, the SLC 43 outputs are identical to those of the GLE 450 Coupe, however Mercedes-Benz hasn’t confirmed if the ‘one man, one engine’ build philosophy will apply to the new engine, compared to its mass-produced counterpart.
Other new features for the range include a variable exhaust, standard on SLC 300 and SLC 43, and optional on SLC 200, along with a variable roof that can now be operated at speeds of up to 40km/h (if activated when stationery - previously the vehicle needed to be stationary during the entire roof operation).
An autonomous emergency brake system joins the standard features list, while blind-spot assist and lane-keep assist are available options, as are adaptive LED headlights.
Inside the cabin, COMAND Online offers an expanded range of connected technologies including internet access and Mercedes-Benz apps, along with a 7.0-inch screen, internet radio, DVD player, and more.
Changes to the outside see the diamond pattern grille take pride of place up front, with new headlights and a more aggressively styled lower bumper featuring larger air intakes. New internal tail-light detailing, and a new rear bumper round out the changes.