2019 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class Review

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Pros & Cons

  • Retractable hardtop reduces interior noise
  • Distinctive glass roof panel
  • Accident avoidance tech is standard
  • Less engaging to drive than rival roadsters
  • Antiquated tech interface
  • Snug interior, even by roadster standards
Other years
Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class for Sale
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Which SLC-Class does Edmunds recommend?

The SLC is at its most distinctive and characterful in AMG 43 guise. It also comes standard with the SLC 300's Premium package content, which includes worthwhile upgrades such as Airscarf neck heaters, heated seats, dual-zone climate control and satellite radio. In terms of options, Magic Sky Control is a must-have for blocking out the sun's rays through the glass roof.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

6.2 / 10

It's been eight years since the Mercedes-Benz SLC was completely redesigned. Back then, it was called the SLK. In that time, other automakers have re-engineered their luxury roadsters to be more compelling to drive and more luxurious. That pretty much leaves the 2019 Mercedes SLC as the old guy yelling at everyone else to get off his lawn.

In-car technology is one area you'll notice where the SLC comes off as a bit of an antique. Having Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the options list helps, but the SLC is using a tech interface that's about three generations behind Mercedes' latest and greatest. Elsewhere in the cabin, the design and quality just aren't up to the current Mercedes standards.

The SLC does have one thing that has made the SLK/SLC special from the very beginning: a retractable hardtop roof. It's quieter than a fabric roof, and its standard glass panel lets in light even if you have the top up. Everything else in this roadster's price range has a fabric roof.

If a retractable hardtop is a must-have, the SLC will likely be your roadster. Otherwise, we suggest taking a look at the all-new BMW Z4 or Porsche Boxster.

2019 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class models

The two-seat 2019 Mercedes-Benz SLC is available in two trim levels that are differentiated by their engines. The SLC 300 has a turbocharged four-cylinder (241 horsepower, 273 pound-feet of torque), while the sporting AMG SLC 43 boasts a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (385 hp, 384 lb-ft) among other performance enhancements. Both cars have a nine-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive.

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The SLC 300 comes standard with 17-inch wheels, a power-retractable hardtop with a fixed glass roof panel, xenon headlights, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, a drowsy driver warning system, automatic wipers, and power-folding mirrors. Inside, you'll find power-adjustable seats with memory settings, simulated leather upholstery (MB-Tex), a power-adjustable steering wheel, Bluetooth, two USB ports, an older version of Mercedes' COMAND tech interface (7-inch display, center console knob controller, dash buttons), and an eight-speaker sound system with HD radio.

The Premium package includes blind-spot warning, Mercedes' Airscarf neck-level heating system, heated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity entry and push-button start, and satellite radio. For adaptive LED headlights with automatic high-beam control, order the Exterior Lighting package. An adaptive suspension and a multitude of leather upholstery types and colors are stand-alone options.

The AMG SLC 43 gains a sport-tuned suspension, a sport exhaust, high-performance brakes, leather upholstery and paddle shifters. Also included are the contents of the Premium and Exterior Lighting packages. For the SLC 43 only, you can order an AMG Handling package that adds an AMG-tuned adaptive suspension, a limited-slip rear differential, a steering wheel wrapped in simulated suede, and an IWC Ingenieur dashtop analog clock.

A few other packages are available for either trim level, including the Driver Assistance package (adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning), the Smartphone Integration package (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), and the Multimedia package (integrated navigation plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto).

Notable stand-alone items include Magic Sky Control (which increases the tinting of the roof panel glass), blind-spot warning, parking sensors, multi-color interior ambient lighting, a less fancy dashtop analog clock, and a premium Harman Kardon sound system.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Mercedes-Benz AMG SLC 43 (turbo 3.0L 6-cyl. | 9-speed automatic | RWD).

Note: Since this test was conducted in 2018, the SLC has received a few minor revisions, including a power increase for the SLC 43's engine. Our findings remain applicable to this year's model, however.

Driving

7.5
The SLC 43 (and the SLC 300) encourages spirited driving, and it's suitably quick. However, it isn't as engaging or as thrilling as an Audi TT, BMW Z4, Jaguar F-Type or Porsche Boxster. Some of these alternatives may be slower, but the sensation of speed and confidence is in their favor.

Acceleration

8.0
With 385 hp, the AMG SLC has plenty of power but not so much that it makes it tricky to drive. There's a brief hesitation after pressing the pedal, but overall the engine is responsive. In our testing, it covered 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds.

Braking

8.0
Stopping from 60 mph required 108 feet, which is a short distance but what we expect from a performance car with summer-rated tires. In typical driving, the brake pedal is appropriately firm and is easy to modulate for smooth stops.

Steering

7.0
At parking lot speeds, the steering effort is a bit too heavy and doesn't return to center on its own (an old Mercedes trait). Once up to speed, it feels direct and precise, and it provides a useful amount of feedback. On the highway, there's little correction needed from the driver to maintain a straight path, even on crowned roads.

Handling

7.0
Under most conditions, the SLC 43's abundant grip allows for confident cornering. However, the car loses some composure when you're driving hard over broken pavement because the tires struggle to stay in contact.

Drivability

7.0
The gear changes are smooth and quick in everyday driving. The auto engine stop-start system causes shudders in the cabin and is a little slow to react. It occasionally turns off the engine just before you come to a full stop, resulting in an inelegant lurch.

Comfort

7.0
The folding hardtop roof helps reduce wind noise, and the powerful climate control — complete with Airscarf's breeze for your neck — is welcome. The SLC, however, could really use ventilated seats.

Seat comfort

7.0
The well-shaped seats are comfortable for hours at a time, but in warm weather they can be rather stifling. Ventilated seats are not available. The side bolstering is substantial enough to keep you firmly in place while cornering but not enough to be confining.

Ride comfort

7.0
The ride quality is about what you'd expect for a sportier version of the SLC. You feel every flaw in the road and there's substantial jostling over undulations, yet it doesn't feel needlessly harsh.

Noise & vibration

8.0
Road noise is ever-present and can be loud on coarse asphalt. Compared to other convertibles, however, the SLC is quieter thanks to the substantial folding hardtop. With the top up, there are no squeaks or rattles.

Climate control

8.0
It's easy to operate the dual-zone automatic climate control, and the system does a good job of cooling the cabin quickly. It's also powerful enough that you can feel air flow with the top down when driving on the highway. The Airscarf system keeps you pleasantly toasty, even with the top down on cold days.

Interior

6.5
The SLC's interior comes across as dated. Other Mercedes vehicles have a more graceful cabin aesthetic, better materials quality and more advanced technology features.

Ease of use

5.0
This old-style Benz has a lot of buttons and a small infotainment screen. The primary controls are fairly easy to use, but other systems are somewhat difficult to find and operate. The black plastic buttons are well-labeled, but the silver buttons are tough to read in daylight.

Getting in/getting out

7.5
Even with the roof up, you won't have to stoop or twist much to get in or out of the SLC. The seats' side bolsters are easy to slide past, too. The top can be operated remotely via the key fob, but you have to be very near the car to make it work.

Driving position

7.0
There are enough adjustments for most body types to find a comfortable position. The driver's seat is positioned a bit high, however. It'd be nice if it went lower.

Roominess

6.5
It's a snug fit in the SLC, but that's typical for a roadster. The low roof and high seating position make it feel smaller on the inside than it really is.

Visibility

6.0
The rearview mirror is mounted low on the windshield, and it obstructs your vision when you're trying to look through sharp right corners. Otherwise, outward visibility is acceptable for a convertible with the top up, especially over the shoulder and to the rear.

Quality

5.5
By current standards, the SLC's materials and construction miss the target by a considerable margin. We expect higher interior quality for a Mercedes.

Convertible top

7.5
Holding down a single switch lowers or raises the hardtop in about 20 seconds. That's slower than the operation of rival fabric roofs. But on the upside, the SLC hardtop is sturdier and quieter.

Utility

5.5
It's a roadster, and the folding hardtop further cuts into cargo space with the roof lowered. Don't expect much utility with the SLC. There's just enough capacity for a weekend escape as long as you pack very light or keep the top up.

Small-item storage

5.5
Space for personal items is limited to some very small pockets and cupholders. The center armrest bin is big enough to hold a smartphone but not much else. Altogether, it's a little less than other contemporary roadsters.

Cargo space

6.0
The trunk isn't generous, but that's expected of a folding hardtop convertible. There's enough luggage space for a couple's weekend getaway with the top up. With the top down, only a single carry-on suitcase will fit so pack light.

Technology

6.0
If there's one thing that ages quickly, it's technology. The SLC's old-generation numeric keypad and redundant menu buttons bring up nostalgia but not in a good way. At least everything works as it should. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available.

Audio & navigation

5.0
You'll find a small display and Mercedes' outdated interface. This old version of the COMAND infotainment system isn't as intuitive as the latest iterations, but it is reliable and responsive. The upgraded Harman Kardon audio system has appropriate power to rock out with the top down.

Smartphone integration

7.0
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are optional and represent a tech Band-Aid to help mask the SLC's old technology. The response time for Apple CarPlay is relatively quick, and we experienced no glitches.

Driver aids

6.0
Forward collision warning with automatic braking is standard. The available adaptive cruise control capably maintains distance and speed on steep downhills, but it frequently taps the brakes instead of downshifting. That results in some inelegant lurching.

Voice control

6.0
Voice commands must follow on-screen and audible prompts and don't employ natural language. Within this structure, commands are accurately executed even with the top down. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are useful substitutes.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall6.2 / 10
Driving7.5
Comfort7.0
Interior6.5
Utility5.5
Technology6.0

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2019 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

New to Mercedes Benz family-2019 SLC300
Karen Cauthen,02/05/2019
SLC 300 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 9A)
I love both the exterior and the interior of my new car SLC 300 Roadster. The cabin area is small inside the car but it’s a Roadster after all!. I wish it came with the standard safety equipment (like what was included without an extra cost on our 2018 Highlander) but unfortunately, it didn’t. For example, you could get lane assist on the SLC 300 but it’s additional charge for this safety feature. Toyota’s Safety Sense on our Highlander has pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, dynamic radar cruise control etc. all included on our suv for no additional cost. However, I didn’t buy this car to compare to our suv’s included safety features that this one charges extra to get on the car. Instead, I bought this car for the “fun factor”. I would have loved to have bought this car with all the so called “bells and whistles’ available for purchase on the car but what my car does have is still adequate. That being said, I wish the Naviation system was automatically included in the cost of the car so that you didn’t have to pay extra for it. My car has the Garmin Map pilot on it ($625 dollar charge) BUT it doesn’t come with the chip to use it. IMO that is crazy and kind of a rip off since you have to purchase the chip separately to be able to use the Garmin Pilot map. As far as reliability goes, since we have never bought a Mercedes Benz before, I really don’t know if this car is a reliable car or not. What I can say is if this car is as reliable as Mercedes Benz vehicles are suppose to be, I’ll be extremely pleased with my new car. I look forward to driving this car for many, many years ( I better since it will take me 7 years to pay it off). Our previous suv (before the Highlander) we kept and drove it for over 256,000 miles and my 2003 350z has 200,000 miles on it right now. I’m thinking about detailing my experience driving this new car to see how it holds up in day to day driving but we shall see if I do that after all. At any rate, I look forward to driving and enjoying my beautiful new 2019 MB SLC300. It’s a gorgeous car and though there are a few things I’d change about this car, I think it’s a beautiful car like it is.
Switched from years of owning 370Z Roadsters
Sharon Simmons,03/25/2019
SLC 300 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 9A)
I love my new Benz!!! Switched from being a lifetime owner of 370Z Roadsters until the convertible didn't work on my last new one, so I went with the SLC 300 and never regreted it.

Safety

Our experts like the SLC-Class models:

Attention Assist
Monitors the driver through a variety of means and provides a warning if it detects inattention or drowsiness.
Active Brake Assist
Monitors traffic ahead and warns of potential collisions. Can automatically apply the brakes if necessary.
Active Lane Keeping Assist
Warns and helps the driver with steering correction if the car unintentionally begins to drift out of its lane.

More about the 2019 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class

Used 2019 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class Overview

The Used 2019 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class is offered in the following submodels: SLC-Class Convertible, SLC-Class AMG SLC 43. Available styles include SLC 300 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 9A), and AMG SLC 43 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 9A).

What's a good price on a Used 2019 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class?

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Which used 2019 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Classes are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 2019 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials
Check out Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class lease specials