Mercedes-Benz SLC

The Mercedes-Benz SLC features styling cues now familiar across the Mercedes-Benz line. Two versions are offered for 2017: the new base-level SLC300, and the high-performance AMG SLC43.

The SLC300 has a direct-injected turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that produces 241-horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque, which is available as low as 1,300 rpm. Power is put to the rear wheels through a near-seamless 9-speed automatic transmission. Highway fuel economy is EPA-rated at 32 mpg.

Power in the AMG SLC43 comes via a 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 that makes 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. It, too, utilizes the excellent 9-speed automatic transmission, albeit tweaked for even more performance via faster shifts by AMG. The SLC43 can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.6, and the EPA estimates a return of 29 mpg on the highway.

Both SLCs benefit from the push-button Dynamic Select, a multimode drive program that allows the driver to alter the SLC's performance characteristics -- throttle response, shift points, steering sensitivity, etc. -- using five modes: ECO, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual for exclusively manual shifting.

Handling in the SLC300 is courtesy a 4-wheel multilink suspension with firm springs and shocks and a low ride height. The setup is aided by Torque Vectoring Brake technology, which detects understeer in corners and applies braking pressure to the inside rear wheel to help correct the turning line. The SLC43 features a similar architecture, though it uses stiffer, more aggressive components and a more precise tune, along with forged aluminum track rods and increased negative camber in the rear.

Standard safety equipment includes Mercedes' Attention Assist, which monitors the driver and provides an alert if he or she is showing signs of falling asleep at the wheel. Anti-lock brakes are augmented by standard adaptive breaking technology, which includes both a predictive braking feature as well as automatic brake drying during wet weather. Traction control and anti-skid are also standard.

An optional Pre-Safe Brake system can apply the brakes automatically if the car detects an imminent front-end collision. Reinforced structures improve crash test performance and a host of airbags, including a headbag, help further protect both driver and passenger in the event of a collision.

The standard convertible roof comes standard with a transparent glass panel, and can be lowered automatically in about 20 seconds, at speeds up to 25 mph. Available MAGIC SKY panoramic sunroof can be electronically tinted by the driver at the touch of a button. AIRSCARF continues to be available and uses a stream of warm air around the driver's and passenger's necks to help promote top-down driving, even when the weather isn't warm.

Standard interior amenities include a leather-clad tilt/telescopic steering wheel, rear park assist, multi-adjustable power seats with lumbar support and memory, and navigation with real-time traffic. Standard in the SLC43 and optional on the SLC300 are heated front seats, while leather seating, genuine wood trim, and automatic climate control are optional on both models.

In the SLC300, the Sport Package adds AMG body styling and 18-inch AMG wheels. In the SLC43, the AMG Handling Package includes a limited-slip differential, performance steering wheel, red brake calipers and an IWC dashtop clock. The Premium 3 Package brings AIRSCARF, heated seats, keyless entry and start, a harman/kardon surround sound audio system and more.

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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.

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.

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