Up until recently, Mercedes' small two-seat roadster wore the SLK name badge, a name that implied its status as a junior version of the posh SL. (The K stands for kurz, German for "short.") The new name is meant to imply some kinship, at least in terms of size, with the C-Class sedan.
The SLC is a two-seat retractable-hardtop convertible that does a brilliant job of blending entertaining handling with a comfortable ride, and that's no mean feat. Though the interior is tight, the high-class fittings and good driving experience make this an excellent luxury roadster and a perfect pint-size alternative to the big SL.
Current Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class
Mercedes-Benz offers the SLC-Class in SLC 300 and AMG SLC 43 models. Along with different powertrains — more on those in a moment — there are also big differences in standard equipment. Though the SLC 300 is nicely equipped with power front seats, automatic climate control and rain-sensing wipers, the SLC 43 goes even further. A premium stereo, keyless entry and ignition, and the nifty Airscarf system, which blows warm air on the back of your neck, are optional on the SLC 300. New RedArt editions, available for both models, have unique red-themed interior trim and additional equipment.
Both versions of the Mercedes-Benz SLC AMG have a long list of options, and one that we highly recommend is Magic Sky Control, a fancy name for a glass roof panel that can be darkened at the touch of a button. Without it, the SLC gets a tinted glass roof panel with no sunshade, and unless you like wearing a hat, there's no protection from the sun with the roof in place — a silly oversight in a hardtop convertible, if you ask us.
SLC 300 models are powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that develops 241 horsepower, while the AMG SLC 43 gets a 362-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. Both employ rear-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic, and the AMG version gets unique transmission tuning. We haven't subjected the SLC to our formal test-track procedure, but Mercedes-Benz claims a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.7 seconds for the SLC 300 and 4.6 seconds for the SLC 43. The EPA's combined fuel economy estimate for the SLC 300 is a respectable 27 mpg, and the AMG version isn't too far behind at 23 mpg.
A single switch triggers the complex mechanical dance by which the top folds into the trunk, and the SLC is an exceptionally pleasant open-air car. The cabin remains largely free of turbulence, even at highway speeds, and the optional leather upholstery is designed to reflect the sun, slowing the aging process and avoiding the danger of seared thighs. Trunk space is generous with the top up, and although the roof lowers into the trunk, there's still a respectable amount of cargo room with the top down.
Used Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class Models
The Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class was introduced for the 2017 model year as a replacement for the SLK (reviewed separately), though it was essentially a face-lifted and re-engined version of the car it replaced. For 2018, Mercedes introduced two RedArt special editions.
Read the most recent 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class page.