2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class Preview
By Christian Wardlaw, December 15, 2015
- Replaces SLK-Class roadster
- SLC300 and AMG SLC43
- V-6 engine is dropped
- Twin-turbo V-6 for AMG model
- Revised exterior styling
- Upgraded interior materials
- Improved convertible roof operation
- Standard Active Brake Assist system
- New Comand infotainment system
- New park-assist system
- On sale in spring of 2016
Mercedes-Benz is in the process of overhauling its entire product lineup, and those models that are not due for a complete redesign are getting a mid-life nip and tuck. Thus, the new 2017 Mercedes SLC-Class debuts as a replacement for the SLK-Class roadster.
Due to arrive in showrooms in the spring of 2016, the SLC300 and the AMG SLC43 will compete head-to-head with the Audi TT, BMW Z4, Jaguar F-Type, and Porsche Boxster.
Minor changes to the exterior styling differentiate the new 2017 SLC-Class from the outgoing SLK-Class. Most obvious is the new front end with updated headlights and a diamond-pattern grille. Around back, restyled LED taillights and adjustments to the rear bumper freshen the car’s appearance, and new wheel designs debut. Choose the AMG SLC43 for additional modifications designed to give this version of the roadster a unique appearance.
For both models, the power-retractable roof now operates at speeds up to 25 mph. Additionally, if there is adequate clearance, a new standard trunk separator system automatically moves the cargo protector down and out of the way rather than requiring manual adjustment of the cover prior to dropping the top. Mercedes says it takes less than 20 seconds to transform the SLC from a coupe into a convertible.
For 2016, Mercedes upgrades the SLC’s interior with new aluminum trim or carbon fiber finishes, electroplated controls, and revised instrumentation. New sport steering wheel designs also debut.
Sun-reflective leather is available, keeping the seats cooler in direct sunlight. The upholstery receives new perforations, piping, and stitching. New color selections include Saddle Brown and Platinum White.
As was true last year, the convertible top features a panoramic glass roof. A draft stop helps to reduce cabin buffeting, and for 2017 the rear side windows open and close separately. Mercedes will continue to offer Designo interior treatments for a more custom look and feel.
Options for the SLC300 include ambient cabin lighting, now with three different colors from which to choose. Additionally, Sport and Night option packages are available.
Upgrades carrying over from last year include a Harmon Kardon surround-sound system, heated seats, and an AirScarf neck warming system that helps to extend the top-down driving season. An available Magic Sky Control system allows the glass roof to be lightened or darkened using a button.
Under the Hood
A turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard in the SLC300, making 241 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, the latter available at 1,300 rpm. A 9-speed automatic transmission powers the car’s rear wheels, and Dynamic Select technology gives the driver a choice between Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual driving modes. This version of the car should get to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds, based on official numbers from the previous SLK300.
The AMG SLC43 is equipped with a new twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V-6 engine, which replaces the 5.5-liter V-8 in the SLK55 AMG. The V-6 generates 362 horsepower and 384 lb.-ft. of torque, with peak torque beginning at 2,000 rpm. A 9-speed sport automatic transmission is standard, and Mercedes-AMG claims this car can accelerate to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds.
When it downshifts, the AMG SLC43’s transmission employs a double-declutching feature to match revs and burp the standard AMG Sport exhaust system. New axles, more precise steering with Comfort and Sport modes, a high-performance braking system, and a stability control system with Sport Handling and Off settings all come standard.
An AMG Ride Control suspension is an option for the AMG SLC43, along with a Handling package that includes a mechanical limited-slip rear differential.
New for 2017, an Active Brake Assist autonomous emergency braking system is standard equipment, along with carryover features such as a reversing camera and a drowsy-driver detection system. Safety-related options include dynamic LED headlights with automatic operation, blind-spot warning system, and a lane-keeping assist system.
In addition to an optional park-assist system that steers the SLC-Class into a parallel parking space while the driver operates the transmission and pedals, this 2-seat roadster gets a new infotainment system for 2017.
Using a larger 7-in. high-resolution display, the latest version of Comand offers faster response and quicker screen loading times, according to Mercedes. The system supplies access to Internet radio and can be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot when the car is not moving. Dual USB ports, an SD card slot, media interface for iPhones, and text-messaging support are also included.