After its launch in 1996, the SLK marked the start of a new era for the traditional Mercedes-Benz brand, and its roof design served as a model for many other open-top vehicles. In January 2011, Mercedes-Benz presented the third model generation, currently still in production, which bears the in-house model code R 172. This series combines lightfooted sportiness with stylish comfort, and striking sports car design with absolute day-to-day suitability. From April 2016 the SLC appeared as a technically and visually optimised further evolution. The name change acknowledges the close relationship with the C-Class, with which the roadster shares many of its technical features. A resounding success: the model series has a worldwide community of fans, with sales of over 710,000 units since 1996.