In Depth

Mercedes-Benz reveals new 2016 SLC

Latest version of Mercedes' smallest sports car gets turbocharged AMG power and new tech

Mercedes has revealed the latest version of its entry-level two-seat roadster, the SLC.

The new sports car is a face-lifted version of the current SLK model, with the 'K' dropped in favour of a 'C' to fall in line with Mercedes-Benz's new, more logical model nomenclature.

The SLC gets new engines, exterior and interior features, as well as some new safety features and equipment levels.

Now sitting at the top of the SLK/SLC range is the SLC 43 AMG. It replaces the SLK 55 AMG as the top-spec small Mercedes roadster - and there are big changes afoot under the bonnet.

The 5.5 litre naturally-aspirated V8 which was shoehorned into the last model is gone, replaced by a downsized twin-turbocharged 3.0 litre V6.

Power is down on the last flagship model. The new SLC 43 has 362bhp in comparison to the 416bhp on tap from the old V8 model.

The drop in torque is less noticeable though, thanks to turbo power. The new car manages 384lb ft from as low as 2000rpm, compared to the 398lf ft at 4500rpm in the SLK 55.

As a result it's 0.1 seconds slower to go from 0-62mph, managing it in 4.7 seconds, but will still go up to an electronically-limited 155mph.

Top Gear says the introduction of a new V6-powered AMG Mercedes is "big news." The last AMG-bred cars to use V6 power were hot versions of the C-Class in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The decision to begin leaving V8 engines behind is "quite the departure from a firm traditionally wedded" to using such engines.

The downsizing of the premium model does mean that the new AMG-fettled small roadster will be "the most efficient six-cylinder performance roadster on the market" according to Mercedes.

They claim it will return 36.2mpg on a combined cycle and will emit 178g/km of CO2.

There are smaller, more affordable engines available too. The SLC 200 and 300 models both use a 2.0-litre four cylinder engine available in tunes of 181bhp and 242bhp.

There's also a diesel: the SLC 250d uses a 2.1 litre engine with 201bhp and with a claimed economy of 64.2mpg.

All cars, bar the SLC 200, will come with Mercedes' nine-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. It's available in the SLC 200 as an optional extra.

All the cars receive a facelift to bring the model more in line with the latest iteration of Mercedes' design language, and there's new elements on the inside, including a larger seven-inch central screen, aluminium highlights, and a new steering wheel.

There's new safety kit too. All cars come with Active Brake Assist as standard, and there's a slew of assistance features such as traffic light recognition, lane keep assist, and blind spot detection all available to spec as extras.

Autocar reports that the SLC roadster will be seen in the flesh at the Detroit Motor Show in January, and prices will be disclosed not long after, when order books open.

The new car comes soon after Mercedes introduced the latest version of its biggest convertible, the £200,000 V12 powered S65 AMG.

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