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  • Mercedes-Benz SLC (R 172) in side view at a harbour.
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    The new SLC: new name, new dynamic.

An impressive heritage.

20 years on from the birth of its segment, the archetypal compact roadster is to be relaunched with a new name – the Mercedes-Benz SLC – significantly optimised in terms of both technology and an enhanced look. The name change acknowledges the traditionally close relationship with the C-Class, from which much of the roadster’s technology is derived. There are new additions to the model line-up – the sporty top-of-the-line Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 and the entry-level SLC 180. In visual terms, stand-out features include the standard-fit diamond radiator grille and the LED Intelligent Light System (optional extra). The new SLC has an impressive heritage to live up to: its predecessor, the SLK, which was launched in 1996, achieved sales of around 670,000 units. Comprehensively refined, the new model has what it takes to build on that success. The SLC 300 and Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 feature the sport/comfort-oriented 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission as standard, while it is available as an option for the new SLC 180 as well as for the SLC 200.

The impressive diamond radiator grille of the new Mercedes-Benz SLC (R 172) in detail.

Mercedes-AMG SLC 43: Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 8,2 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 186 g/km.1

SLC 180:
Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 6,5–6,2 l/100 km;
CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 149–142 g/km.1

SLC 200:
Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 7,2–6,6 l/100 km;
CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 164–151 g/km.1

SLC 300:
Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 7,2–6,9 l/100 km;
CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 163–158 g/km.1

Side view of the new Mercedes-Benz SLC (R 172).

Attractive model range.

The new entry-level model is the SLC 180 with an output of 115 kW (156 PS). Positioned above this are the SLC 200 with an output of 135 kW (184 PS) and the
 SLC 300 with 180 kW (245 PS), both of which feature a 1,991 cubic centimetres four-cylinder engine. Driving Performance is the AMG brand promise – and the Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 lives up to it in impressive style. The new model combines a 270 kW (367 PS), 520 Newton metres, 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine with a modified version of the AMG sports suspension familiar from the Mercedes-AMG SLK 55.

DYNAMIC SELECT: five modes.

With DYNAMIC SELECT the vehicle characteristics can be adjusted instantly at the touch of a button, as the system modifies the engine, transmission, steering and suspension at the driver’s behest. The five modes – “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport Plus”, “Eco” and “Individual” are easy to select using the DYNAMIC SELECT button in the upper control panel on the dashboard console. The selected mode is shown on the multifunction colour display and also appears as a pop-up message on the head unit display. DYNAMIC SELECT is a standard feature in the SLC 300. In the SLC 180 and SLC 200, transmission mode selection is available in conjunction with the optional 9G-TRONIC.

Front view of the new Mercedes-Benz SLC (R 172).

Drivers who choose the Dynamic Handling package (optional extra), which features a 10 millimetre lower chassis, an adaptive damping system, direct steering and ESP® Dynamic Cornering Assist, can also use DYNAMIC SELECT to specify the damping force in “Comfort”, “Sport” and “Sport Plus” modes. Here the damping force at each individual wheel is automatically and continuously adapted to the current driving conditions. With the sports exhaust system the sound experience can be intensified as the acoustics can be adjusted via an integral exhaust flap in conjunction with the DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes.


A look into the interior of the new Mercedes-Benz SLC (R 172).

A comprehensive range of safety systems.

A new feature for the SLC is the standard-fit Active Brake Assist, known in other model series as COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS. In addition to radar-based proximity warning and braking assistance by Adaptive Brake Assist, this Active Brake Assist system carries out autonomous braking to reduce the danger of rear-end collisions. If the driver fails to act when a risk of a collision is detected, despite the warning lamp in the instrument cluster and the intermittent audible alert, the system will initiate automatic braking. This significantly reduces the vehicle speed. At low relative speeds, this intervention may be sufficient to prevent a rear-end collision with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles. Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist also remain available.


LED Intelligent Light System.

For optimum visibility on country roads and motorways, when cornering and on bends, the optional LED Intelligent Light System automatically adapts to all light and driving conditions. Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus is also available for dazzle-free continuous high beam usage. When high beam is switched on, this system always makes the optimum headlamp range available. The driver can concentrate on the traffic and does not have to continually switch between low beam and high beam. He or she can leave the high-beam headlamps on at all times and use their full range without bothering or endangering other road users.


Front view of the new Mercedes-Benz SLC (R 172): the optional LED Intelligent Light System automatically adapts to all light and driving conditions.
The characteristic diamond radiator grille of the the new Mercedes-Benz SLC (R 172).

The design: diamond radiator grille as standard.

The Mercedes-Benz designers have further honed the roadster’s sporty look. The new front section, where the steeply raked radiator grille elongates the appearance of the arrow-shaped bonnet, is particularly striking. All SLC models feature a diamond radiator grille as standard. Further features of the masculine, sporty front section include a bumper which boasts striking air intakes, dynamically modelled contours and high-quality chrome trim at the lower edge, as well as distinctive headlamps. The LED daytime running lamps are integrated into the headlamp units. The side view of the SLC reveals the typical features of a roadster with a long bonnet, a passenger compartment that is set back and a short rear. The ventilation grilles in the front wing feature a high-sheen chrome fin which has echoes of the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. Powerful proportions define the rear section with its muscular wings. The rear bumper with its black diffuser, chrome touches and integral tailpipe trim signal the dynamic potential.


An even higher-quality look: the interior.

The interior has an even higher-quality look. Highlights include new light (standard) or dark aluminium trim parts with a carbon-fibre finish. The instrument cluster has a new design too. The two tubular instrument surrounds now feature black dials. Red needles also add to the sporty, contemporary design. A large, multifunction, colour TFT display with a screen diagonal of 4.5 inches (11.4 cm) is incorporated between the two dials as standard. The display between the two ventilation outlets in the centre console has been significantly increased in size. The new-generation sports steering wheel, perforated as standard in the grip area, and the DIRECT SELECT lever, embossed with SLC (in conjunction with 9G-TRONIC), also help create a sporty, refined feel. The leather appointments have also been revised. As a control and display system for navigation, phone, audio, video and internet, the COMAND Online infotainment system offers a range of new and extended features. The new SLC is intelligently networked and “always on”. This is ensured by the standard-fit communications module (on-board SIM card) which enables the use of Mercedes me connect services. The Audio 20 CD entertainment system has also been upgraded.


The luxurious and sporty interior of the new Mercedes-Benz SLC (R 172).
The rear of the new Mercedes-Benz SLC (R 172).

Performance roadster from Affalterbach.

With its maximum power of 270 kW (367 PS) and peak torque of 520 newton metres, the 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine can deliver impressive performance: sprinting from rest to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, its top speed is electronically limited at 250 km/h. Installed close to the engine, the two turbochargers are especially spontaneous in their response. The high power output of 270 kW (367 PS) is attributable, among other things, to the 1.1 bar charge-air pressure. Even greater driving dynamics are optionally available with the AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension with adaptive adjustable damping and the Handling package with mechanical limited-slip differential on the rear axle.

Muscular with an emphasis on width.

Numerous design features immediately identify the new SLC 43 as a member of the Mercedes-AMG family. With an emphasis on width, the front view is dominated by the air deflector in brand-typical “A-wing” form, which is finished in high-gloss black. The large outer air intakes come with silver chrome fins and are edged by black flics. Down below, the silver chrome front splitter ensures an optimal flow of air to the cooling modules. It also makes the roadster appear to hug the road more closely. The diamond radiator grille features chrome-plated pins and a louvre in high-gloss black. The interior reinforces the consistently dynamic bias of the new SLC 43 with numerous specially designed details. Ideal for a committed driving style, the multifunction sports steering wheel in black nappa leather features a flattened bottom section and red contrasting topstitching, with the perforated grip area lying especially well in the hand.


The new Mercedes-Benz SLC (R 172) in front of a quaint setting.

The contoured sports seats give the driver ideal lateral support, including when a dynamic driving style is adopted. The key factors behind the snappy, agile roadster driving experience are the newly developed front and rear axles, new engine/rear-axle gear unit mountings, stiff elastokinematics and highly precise steering. Even greater transverse dynamics are made possible by the optional Handling package with mechanical limited-slip differential on the rear axle.


The wing of the new Mercedes-Benz (R 172).

Two options: the sports suspension.

With the standard sports suspension or the optional AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension with adjustable damping, the Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 offers two suspension options designed for high lateral acceleration and reduced roll. Common to both suspensions are the specially developed front and rear axles, which guarantee precise wheel location and high camber stability on compression and rebound. The three-link front axle has been provided with stiffer steering knuckles, improved elastokinematics and increased negative camber. In combination with the likewise newly developed wishbone guide bearings, this design results in significantly more agile cornering, more precise and direct suspension feedback from the road and fast cornering speeds.


The four-link rear axle with optimised elastokinematics, increased negative camber and special forged-aluminium track rods not only improves the driving dynamics, but also makes the SLC 43 more controllable when driven at the limit. The standard-fit sports exhaust system comes with two automatically map-controlled exhaust flaps. In the “Eco” and “Comfort” transmission modes, the flaps remain closed most of the time, this resulting in an acoustically restrained note from the six-cylinder biturbo engine. In the “Sport” and “Sport Plus” modes, the exhaust flaps open earlier and more spontaneously, especially if the driver prefers a dynamic driving style. The effect: the typical, emotively appealing AMG engine sound.


Video.