The Mercedes-Benz SLK model is about 20 years old today since the first generation R170 made its global debut in 1996. It’s been three generations and the 2011-launched R172 longs for a fresh face new face, but here it gets a new name – the Mercedes-Benz SLC, as part of the Stuttgart company’s new naming nomenclature.
Five variants have been revealed thus far – the SLC 180, SLC 200, SLC 300, SLC 250 d and range topper SLC 43. It’s unclear at press time whether the hotter SLC 55 variant (415 hp, 5.5-litre V8) will be slotted on top of the SLC 43, but the newer M178 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 seems like a better fit than the older naturally aspirated unit.
|Name||Mercedes-Benz SLC 180||Mercedes-Benz SLC 200||Mercedes-Benz SLC 300||Mercedes-Benz SLC 250 d||Mercedes-AMG SLC 43|
|Engine||1,595cc; inline-4, turbo||1,991cc; inline-4, turbo||2,143cc; inline-4 turbodiesel||2,996cc; twin-turbo V6|
|Max Power||156 hp @ 5,300 rpm||184 hp @ 5,500 rpm||245 hp @ 5,500 rpm||204 hp @ 3,800 rpm||367 hp @ 5,500 – 6,000 rpm|
|Max Torque||250 Nm @ 1,200 – 4,000 rpm||300 Nm @ 1,200 – 4,000 rpm||370 Nm @ 1,300 – 4,000 rpm||500 Nm @ 1,600 – 1,800 rpm||520 Nm @ 2,000 – 4,200 rpm|
|0 to 100 km/h||7.9 seconds||6.9 seconds||5.8 seconds||6.6 seconds||4.7 seconds|
|Top Speed||226 km/h||240 km/h||250 km/h (e-limited)||245 km/h||250 km/h (e-limited)|
The facelifted R172 brings about a new face, ditching the older look for a broadly improved exterior packaging. Both the headlights and tail lamps have been vastly redesigned, while the elongated radiator grille is more steeply raked to give the bonnet an arrow-like shape. All SLC models will be fitted with the diamond radiator grille as standard, but they can either be finished in gloss black or chrome, depending on the trim level of choice.
As with all new Mercedes models, the headlights come fitted with LED daytime running lights as standard, although their revered LED Intelligent Light System can be had at an extra cost. Wheel sizes vary from 16- to 18-inches, although you can spec your SLC 180 with 18-inchers if you see fit. At the back, the tail lamps have been redesigned as to resemble the new W205’s, featuring LED strips that look sleeker than the 2011 model by a mile. Boot space apparently, is the largest in its segment, measuring at 335 litres.
Inside, the Mercedes-Benz SLC benefits from dark or light aluminium trims, carbon fibre inserts, new instrument cluster with a 4.5-inch colour TFT screen sitting in between the tachometer and odometer. The centre dash gets a larger 7-inch screen surrounded with a gloss black bezel. It supports DVD playback, Internet radio, GPS navigation and internet access when the car is stationary.
Also new here is the three-spoke, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel with perforated grip areas. It can be wrapped in Nappa leather or Dinamica microfibre if specified. The paddle shifters on the automatic variants are electroplated, by the way.
Driving the five variants are four engines that vary in displacement, but they are all turbocharged, including the diesel and the SLC 43’s V6 engine. Outputs start from 156 hp and 250 Nm of torque for the smallest 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine to 367 hp and 520 Nm of torque churned by the twin-turbo V6. With Mercedes’ Dynamic Select function on board, drivers can choose to between five driving modes – Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Eco and Individual. Each mode alters engine, transmission, steering and suspension characteristics.
Opt for the Dynamic Handling Package and you’ll get a chassis that sits 10mm closer to the ground. This is complemented by Adaptive Damping System, direct steering and Dynamic Cornering Assist. What’s key here is that the damping force adjusts invariably to suit all driving conditions. If you forgo this option, dump the cash on the sports exhaust system (offered as standard with the SLC 300). It comes with an integral flap which, as telling as it is, alters exhaust note depending on the driving mode selected.
Now, back to the SLC 43. Its mechanical components such as mountings and brakes have been upgraded, naturally, and the same 9G-Tronic gearbox gets tweaked for much sharper and quicker shifts, thanks to the double-declutching function during downshifting. In Sport + mode, this response time is even more shortened courtesy of AMG’s new software mapping.
You can also spec your SLC 43 with the optional rear-axle limited-slip differential which improves traction by reducing slip on the inside wheel during cornering. This mechanically controlled AMG LSD will give better acceleration out of bends, sprints quicker off the line and provides better stability while braking at high speeds.
The Mercedes-Benz SLC will definitely make it to our market, although when remains to be seen. Prices for the pre-facelift R172 is set at RM461k for the SLK 200 and RM858k for the SLK 55 AMG. If the SLC makes it here, it’s all down to the pricing if it plans to cast a net over potential Audi TT owners.