by John Tallodi
For 2017 a naming change and mild facelift have been carried out on what used to be called the SLK roadster. Two decades on, this successful formula is now on its third generation and in SLC form offers the same classy open-air motoring package as it has always done.
|SLC 300 Roadster||
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
The range has been reshuffled too and while there is a more powerful SLC43 AMG version our focus here is on the entry level SLC300. Some additional equipment is also available for the new model year.
While the exterior was subjected to a refresh, the interior stays much the same as before and this is no bad thing. Despite its entry level status in the world of Mercedes-Benz convertibles, quality levels are high and the design is in keeping with the rest of the range.
That said, the cabin dimensions are quite tight and while the supportive seats feel comfortable and offer a range of adjustments, taller occupants will find themselves short on leg room. The glass sectioned retractable roof can also let in a fair degree of light and heat on warm days
Storage space is good for the class though, although the retractable roof does take up some of the usable space when it is down.
The SLK has never been the sportiest drive in its class but this means that it did not have to resort to a bone-jarring ride in the name of ultimate handling ability. The same applies to the rebranded SLC and its combination of firm but absorbent ride does little to compromise its ability in the corners.
The aging Z4 and recently updated Boxster may be sharper to drive at the limit but the comfort-oriented SLC has its own appeal. With the metal folding roof up the baby roadster is quiet and capable on the highway with only some tire noise on coarser road surfaces making its way into the cabin.
The updated Mercedes-Benz SLC300 comes equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, outputs are 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard and performance levels are competitive for its class.
The 0-60mph time is a claimed 5.7-seconds which is about average and the 9-speed transmission ensures that the engine is always operating in its optimum rev-range which provides for sharp responses to the throttle.
A bit of lag can be felt when pulling away at lower engine speeds, but in general the SLC300 provides swift and confident progress. A combined 25/31mpg in city/highway driving conditions is competitive too.
The SLC300 is available in one basic trim level which includes power sports seats with memory function, 4-way power steering column, 7-inch infotainment display with Bluetooth streaming, rearview camera, climate control and 17-inch alloy wheels. Adaptive braking, active brake assist and dual roll bars add to the standard safety levels.
There are numerous packages to choose from to add to the generous base equipment levels. The Premium 1 Package adds a neck-warming airscarf system, heated seats, keyless go, blind spot assist, remote hardtop operation and updated Harman/Kardon audio system.
The Premium 2 Package includes the above and adds active LED headlamps with adaptive high beam assist, dual-zone climate control, ambient interior lighting, navigation, Apple CarPlay compatibility and voice control.
Then there is an all-encompassing Premium 3 Package which also adds a range of safety systems such as adaptive cruise control, parking assistant and lane keeping assist.
For the exterior there is an AMG Line package which adds 18-inch AMG alloys and AMG body-styling items or a Night Package which offers the AMG alloys and gloss black exterior accents. A standalone panoramic roof with automated tinting facility is available too as is an adaptive suspension system.
A name change and minor update see the renamed Mercedes-Benz SLC300 offering a similar range of strengths as its predecessor. A comfortable ride, competent dynamic ability and decent performance make the SLC eminently usable as daily transport and the folding hard top provides added refinement when required.