The SLK is dead, long live the SLC

Not every refresh needs to be some massively grandiose update, where the new car barely resembles the one it's supplanting. Some updates are a bit more subtle, choosing to pay more attention to the workings underneath all that sheet metal. That's the case with Mercedes-Benz and the new 2017 SLC-Class roadster.

The SLC, formerly the SLK, now falls in line with Mercedes-Benz's taxonomic structure. All roadsters start with SL, and the third letter denotes its size class. Much as the C-Class used to be the smallest sedan prior to the CLA, the SLC's name puts it as the smallest roadster the brand makes. We doubt an SLA is on the way.

Mercedes-Benz

Perhaps the most notable update to the SLC is its new pair of engines. Gone is the midrange six-cylinder and the honkin' AMG eight-cylinder. The SLC will now come in two trims -- the Mercedes-Benz SLC300 and the Mercedes-AMG SLC43. The SLC300 gets a 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 241 horsepower, and the SLC43 packs a 3.0-liter six-cylinder putting out 362 hp. Both engines come mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The exterior has changed slightly for 2017. The grille is featured more prominently, the headlights are slimmer, and the taillights have all-new innards. Mercedes' diamond-style grille is standard across all models, and the automatic folding hardtop can now be operated at speeds up to 25 mph. The SLC remains with its own look, not trying to chase its big brother, the SL.

Inside, changes are minimal, save for some minor adjustments to controls and a new, three-spoke steering wheel. The interior now includes a 7.0-inch infotainment screen (up from 5.8 inches in the SLK) and a 4.5-inch display between the gauges. The SLC also receives autonomous emergency braking for the first time.

Mercedes-Benz

Opt for the AMG model, and you'll get more than just a powerful engine. The Mercedes-AMG SLC43 includes more aggressive fasciae elements, and the ubiquitous AMG quad tailpipes make an appearance, as well. The SLC43 also receives special suspension tuning and two unique options -- adjustable dampers and a mechanical limited-slip differential.

Mercedes says the car will launch in the spring of 2016, but it does not mention specific markets or pricing information at this time.

Discuss 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class