2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class

2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class Review

The Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster serves a blend of performance, refinement, luxury and top-down fun.
author
by Carlos Lago
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The current generation of the SLC has undergone many changes since its introduction in 2011. Back then, it was called the SLK and could be outfitted with a hot-rod V8. That V8 is no longer around, but the core appeal of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC is the same: It serves as a compact version of the brand's flagship convertible SL, offering similar design and prestige at a lower price.

The SLC's two trim levels are defined by the available engines: a four-cylinder and a more powerful V6. Though the bigger engine comes with sportier equipment, both SLCs offer the same options. Determining what's right for you just depends on how fast you want to go.

Overall, the 2018 SLC's luxury focus helps distinguish it from the rest. It's the only one with a convertible hardtop, for instance. But all the same, it's probably worth checking out rivals such as the all-wheel-drive Audi TT, the muscular Chevrolet Corvette, and the sporty Porsche 718 Boxster.



What's new for 2018

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC is essentially unchanged.

We recommend

If you crave thrilling acceleration, the AMG SLC 43's 362 horsepower is a necessity. But most people will be content with the standard SLC 300. No matter the engine you choose, it's worth stepping up to the Premium 2 package for its navigation, superior phone integration, upgraded stereo, heated seats, blind-spot monitoring, Airscarf neck-level heating system, keyless entry, and dual-zone climate control. Magic Sky Control is also a must-have for blocking out the sun's rays through the glass roof.




Trim levels & features

The two-seat 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC Convertible is available in two trim levels that are differentiated by their engines. The SLC 300 has a turbocharged four-cylinder, while the sporting AMG SLC 43 offers a powerful turbo V6. The latter also comes with more standard equipment and performance-oriented features including upgraded brakes and paddle shifters. Both cars have a nine-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive and offer the same option packages.

The SLC 300 employs a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (241 horsepower, 273 pound-feet of torque). Standard features include a power-retractable hardtop with a fixed glass roof panel, 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, Bluetooth, power-adjustable seats with memory function, simulated-leather upholstery, a rearview camera, a 7-inch infotainment display, and an eight-speaker audio system with HD radio. Safety features include integrated roll bars and a forward collision alert and mitigation system.

Shoppers can choose from one of three Premium packages. The first brings an upgraded Harman Kardon sound system, heated seats, keyless ignition and entry, and blind-spot monitoring. It also includes Mercedes' Airscarf system, which blows warm air around your neck from the seat for drop-top driving on cool days. The Premium 2 package includes the aforementioned features and adds navigation, LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Premium 3 package brings driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist.

The AMG SLC 43 derives its name — somehow — from its twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 (362 hp, 384 lb-ft of torque). Along with a more potent engine, this trim level comes standard with the Premium 1 package. Due to its sporty nature, the SLC 43 also has 18-inch wheels, cross-drilled brake rotors, a sport exhaust system, a steering wheel lined with simulated suede, and paddle shifters.

Aside from the Premium 2 and 3 packages described above, the SLC 43 is also available with the AMG Handling package that adds a limited-slip differential, a sport-tuned suspension, a steering wheel with synthetic suede inserts, and an IWC analog clock.



Driving

We've found previous versions of this car to be reasonably athletic and quite enjoyable when going around turns. Yet the ride should be smooth and composed, too. Most roadsters can't marry the two characteristics harmoniously, though it's very much in keeping with the brand's family values.

Comfort

You can always expect a pleasing experience from a Mercedes, with optional features such as heated seats, an adjustable suspension, and the Airscarf system, which blows warm air from the seat on cold days.

Interior

The SLC's interior displays the high-quality look and feel you expect from a Mercedes. It can feel a little intimate, but that's because it's a smaller vehicle. The glass roof lets in the sun even when you don't want it to, requiring the optional Magic Sky Control.

Utility

You can't expect much trunk space from a hardtop convertible, but the SLC offers 10.1 cubic feet with the roof up and 6.4 cubic feet with it folded. Though tight, that's still enough to accommodate weekend luggage.

Technology

Many Mercedes models have received larger, more feature-rich entertainment systems, but the SLC sticks with a 7-inch display. Available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support are welcome additions.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.