The current generation of SLC has undergone many changes since its debut in 2011. At that time, it was called the SLK and equipped with a V8 engine. Although the V8 is gone, the main appeal of 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class remains the same. This is a compact version of the famous brand convertible SL, offering similar design and prestige at a lower price.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class two trims are distinguished by its engines: four cylinders and powerful V6. Although the stronger engine comes with more sporty equipment, both offer the same options. Deciding what is right for you depends only on how fast you want to go.
Trim and Features
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class is two-seat convertible available in two trim levels SLC 300 and AMG SLC 43, which are distinguished by their engines.
Standard features for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC 300 includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a power-retractable hardtop with a fixed glass roof panel, xenon headlights, simulated-leather upholstery, power-adjustable seats with memory function, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, 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.
The optional Premium packages bring blind-spot monitoring, keyless ignition and entry, heated seats, and an upgraded Harman Kardon sound system. 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 along with LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. The Premium 3 package brings driver assistance features such as lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG SLC 43 comes standard with the Premium 1 package plus 18-inch wheels, a sport exhaust system, cross-drilled brake rotors, paddle shifters and a steering wheel lined with simulated suede.
Aside from the Premium 2 and 3 packages described above, the SLC 43 can be equipped with the AMG Handling package that adds a sport-tuned suspension, a limited-slip differential, an IWC analog clock and a steering wheel with synthetic suede inserts.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC300 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Power sent to the rear wheel through a nine-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. Also standard is an automatic start-stop system that shut down the engine in order to save fuel. Mercedes says the 2018 SLC300 will sprint from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, an average time for a small sports car with a base engine. EPA estimated fuel economy return 27 mpg combined (25 city/32 highway), which is impressive given the car high-performance.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG SLC 43 comes standard with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that generates 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. It is paired with an AMG-tuned version of the nine-speed automatic transmission that sent the power to the rear wheel. Mercedes says it should make the sprint to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds. EPA estimated fuel economy stands at 23 mpg combined (20 city/29 highway).
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class interior has a strong resemblance to the layout of the SL-Class and the AMG GT sports car. Although the SLC is by far the cheapest car of all three, it difficult to see where Mercedes is cutting costs. The switch, button and COMAND infotainment interface are almost identical to those found throughout the Mercedes lineup, so the SLC owner will never feel like a second-class buyer.
One detail shared with the SL is the unique glass roof panel that provides sunshine even when outside temperatures keep the roof up. Sadly, there’s no retractable sunshade, and the only protection you get from a bright sun is a light tint. As a replacement of perpetually wearing a hat, it highly recommended springing for the optional Magic Sky Control feature, which darkens the glass at the press of a button.
Pulling the roof back into the trunk is an entertaining sideshow, it opens the cabin that remains calm rapidly, aided by a standard fixed-glass deflector. Another feature pioneered by Mercedes is the Airscarf system, which blows warm air at the neck level from seat-mounted vents. In summer, the available sun-reflective leather guards against sunburned skin, and slows the leather’s aging process.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class main drawback is that it’s quite narrow, even by compact roadster standards. The BMW Z4 gives larger drivers more room. On the good side, the trunk is surprisingly accommodating for a two-door car, it provides 10.1 cubic feet with the roof is up or useful 6.4 cubic feet with the roof down.
Release Date and Price
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class is on sale and arriving now at dealers nationwide. With no changes coming, we anticipate no major changes in pricing from the last year model, which ranges from $48,875 to $61,225 (destination fees included).