2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC

Starting MSRP: $47,950 - $60,300

Estimated MPG: 25 city / 32 hwy

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC Review

Thanks to elegant styling, precise steering, a sport-tuned suspension and a duo of powerful and efficient engines, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC looks great and provides an incredible amount of driving enjoyment. Created to replace the outgoing Mercedes SLK, this new retractable-hardtop convertible is a luxurious addition to the segment.

By Chris Brewer
Last Updated 08/12/2016

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC is an all-new two-passenger luxury hardtop convertible. It’s available in two models: the SLC300, which comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and the Mercedes-AMG SLC43, which comes with a twin-turbo V6. Whether you opt for the SLC300 or AMG SLC43, a nine-speed automatic transmission is standard.

Exterior

Exterior
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The styling team at Mercedes-Benz was on point when designing the all-new SLC. The diamond-textured grille is complemented by a pair of attractive headlights that frame the oversized three-pointed star emblem. The long hood and short rear deck announce the sporty character of the luxury roadster long before you push the start/stop button and hear the engine roar to life.

The wide stance of the SLC adds power and dominance to the otherwise compact design. The proportions are aggressive, and possibly exaggerated for some, but the overall design is graceful. The power-retractable hardtop affords the convertible the lines of a grand tourer when up and a fun-loving roadster when down. When in place, the convertible top features a panorama roof that can be optioned to include electrically variable tinted Magic Sky Control glass. The glass goes from approximately 30 to 70 percent tint almost immediately with a touch of a button.

The SLC300 arrives with 17-inch alloy wheels, while the AMG SLC43 receives 18-inch AMG multispoke versions. Mercedes offers a variety of exterior styling packages that allow the owner to configure the SLC’s exterior with custom wheels, gloss black accents, AMG body styling kits and more.

Interior

Interior
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Simple. Elegant. Refined.

While the SLC may be one of the more affordable vehicles in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the little roadster continues the brand’s legacy of building excellent interiors, only on a smaller scale. The new flat-bottom steering wheel greets the driver, and the ergonomically designed cockpit clearly illustrates the driver-centric theme of the cabin. The standard power memory seats are comfortable and easy to configure, especially for smaller to average-size occupants. The center console is highly functional and easy to use. The shifter is located perfectly and the shape comfortably fits your hand.

Base models are equipped with black or beige leatherette, and real leather and premium nappa leather upholstery are available as options. Aluminum trim with dark-textured grain accents comes standard, and a variety of real wood and carbon fiber trims are also available.

Optional features like Airscarf - which blows warm air around your neck - and heated seats extend the convertible top's usefulness in colder climates.

Cargo space is decent considering the nature of the vehicle, and you get 10.1 cubic feet with the top up and 6.4 cubic feet when retracted. Although you’d be hard-pressed to use the SLC for a week-long road trip, the trunk is adequate for an overnight bag or two. The space provided is more than enough for a trip to the grocery store.

Performance

Performance
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The SLC300 is powered by a 241-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode. The turbocharged four-cylinder’s performance is more than capable for the 3,296-pound roadster. Zero to 60 mph ticks by in 5.7 seconds. Midrange torque comes on early and is ample at 273 pound-feet, making highway passing easy. The only downside is the turbo lag that appears in full stop-and-go situations, such as during bumper-to-bumper traffic or when briskly exiting traffic signals. The SLC300 has an EPA rating of 25/32 mpg city/highway.

The optional twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine found in the AMG SLC43 produces 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard here as well.

With precise steering and a firm, often unforgiving suspension, the AMG SLC43 is a sport-tuned roadster that is exhilarating to drive. The immediate acceleration is scintillating; 0 to 60 mph takes a brief 4.6 seconds. The sound emanating from the SLC43’s exhaust adds to the fun.

Mundane daily driving suffered a bit due to the SLC43’s piano-wire-tight suspension, but overall the effect was positive and well received.

Both SLC models are equipped with a multimode drive program selector that allows you to configure the car’s personality. The four modes include Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. The parameters adjusted include shift points, throttle response, steering effort, automated fuel-saving Eco start/stop and more. The SLC also includes an Individual mode that allows the driver to choose each of the parameters to suit his or her tastes. Adding the optional adjustable suspension brings even more configurability to the SLC’s driving character.

Technology

Technology
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The Mercedes SLC is a true luxury car and includes a nice amount of standard technology features. Standard features include a 7-inch infotainment system with a CD player, MP3 capability, two USB ports and Bluetooth. The eight-speaker audio system sounds great and can be controlled from the steering wheel. The standard in-car Wi-Fi requires a subscription service to use, but is great for staying connected on the road.

The SLC arrives with five years of Mercedes-Benz Mbrace Connect. The service allows you to interact with your car by using your smartphone. The Mbrace mobile app allows you to remote-start the SLC, send destinations to the car’s navigation system, use remote diagnostic tools and request roadside assistance.

Options include seamless smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay, weather and traffic service, a fantastic-sounding Harmon Kardon surround-sound system and satellite radio.

Safety

Safety
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You would be hard-pressed to find a vehicle manufacturer that focuses on safety with more intensity than Mercedes-Benz. This convertible's standard attention-assist system continuously monitors up to 70 parameters of driving behavior and alerts the driver of potential dangers along the way.

Standard safety features include antilock brakes, electronic stability control and a rearview camera. Optional driver assistance systems include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, active LED headlamps with adaptive high beams and lane keeping assist.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC300 arrives with a high level of standard features including leatherette seating, a 7-inch infotainment system and of course, a retractable hardtop, for $48,875 including destination charges.

The top-trim AMG SLC43 ups the performance quotient and adds features such as standard leather seating, 18-inch alloy wheels, a Harmon Kardon audio system and an AMG suspension for $61,225.

The pricing for the SLC is good for a Mercedes-Benz vehicle and excellent for a Mercedes-AMG roadster. While there are certainly less expensive convertibles on the market, Mercedes fans will find the SLC a great option for summer fun. Enthusiasts will find the AMG-influenced SLC43 satisfies most driving interests, although the higher-priced Mercedes SL offers much more in terms of tire-squealing, rocket-ship-inspired fun.

Overall

Overall
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When you first spot the SLC, you are immediately aware of its Mercedes-Benz heritage, and you are also struck by how beautiful it is to look at. The long hood, wide stance and massive grille emblem are reminiscent of the German roadsters of years gone by. The SLC’s performance delivers modern, efficient turbocharged fun.

The nature of a tiny two-seat roadster will limit the SLC’s potential purchasing audience, but if you’re in the market for a luxury roadster that wears the prestigious Mercedes-Benz badge, the SLC300 and enthusiast-oriented AMG SLC43 are well worth a good look. All things equal, the SLC’s standard safety features alone afford the little performance roadster a seat at the sports-car table.