Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 gets a new light or dark aluminium trim parts with carbon fibre finish. The instrument cluster has a new design too and the two tubular instrument cluster surrounds now feature black dials. The red needles also add to the sporty and contemporary design. Beside this the gets a 4.5-inch screen with a whole lot infotainment options and Mercedes-Benz apps.Mercedes-Benz India today rolled out the its 6th product this year – the Mercedes-AMG SLC 43. The open top two-seater comes priced at Rs 77.50 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).20 years after the birth of its segment, the roadster gets a new avatar and name. It was at the 2016 Detroit Motor Show that the company introduced the world to the SLC and within six months of its global premiere, the car comes to India, which shows how aggressive the German carmaker is when it comes to expansion of its product portfolio. The SLC 43 replaces the ageing SLK 55 AMG and it’s not just the name that’s changed – the facelift gives us a fresh/modernized version of the SLK.
DESIGN AND STYLE ;
Like nearly every other recently redesigned Mercedes-Benz model, the AMG-tuned SLC arrives with minor, albeit noticeable changes. Up front, the most visible of the changes were applied to the headlamps, grille, and bumper. Although the headlamps are similar to the previous unit as far as shape and size go, the light cluster is new, with the arrangement similar to the C-Class. The previous grille was replaced by a diamond pattern piece, a feature that has become standard for most Mercedes models in 2015. However, the SLC43 didn’t receive the fancier twin-blade grille insert of the S-Class Cabriolet. Down below, the roadster sports a brand-new bumper employing the brand’s new “A-wing” form. The horizontal slats on the sides are significantly larger, as is the silver chrome splitter. Overall, the SLC43 is a lot more aggressive than its predecessor and that menacing bumper is the main culprit.
Significant modifications were operated around back as well. While the trunk lid remained unchanged, the taillights gained new LED clusters with the reverse lights mounted at the bottom (the SLK55 model had them at the top). The bumper is also new, featuring vertical side intakes, a new diffuser, and smaller, but better integrated exhaust pipes. Also, the bumper’s main character line is no longer slightly V-shaped, but straight from one corner to the other. The side view is highlighted by high-sheen, 18-inch AMG wheels, high-gloss black mirror caps, and silver chrome fins for the front fenders.Customers who want a bespoke roadster will have a access to several options, including red-painted brake calipers, headlamp eyebrows, several 18-inch wheel and tire combinations, and Designo paint finishes.
INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;
The interior received less attention with the facelift, as most design features are identical to the SLK55. Notable changes include a new steering wheel, a revised instrument cluster, new seats, and silver chrome trim finishes for the A/C vents and door handles. Wrapped in Nappa leather, the multi-function steering wheel comes with a flattened bottom and perforated grip areas for the hands. The seats are said to offer greater lateral support when a dynamic driving style is adopted.
As usual, numerous upholstery layouts are available, with the range-topping models getting a combination of Nappa leather and Dinamica microfiber with contrast stitching and piping for the seats, door panels, steering wheel, and upper dashboard. The Airscarf neck-level heating system introduced on the S-Class Cabriolet is available as an option. The Comand infotainment system is also an option, as is the Logic 7 Surround Sound system by Harman Kardon and ambience lighting in Solar Red, Polar Blue, and Polar White.Overall, the SLC43’s interior doesn’t offer too many new features, but it’s not bad for a mid-cycle facelift.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;
Aah, onto the big changes. Chiefly, the naturally aspirated V8 on the SLK 55 has made way for a smaller, twin-turbo, 3.0-litre V6 unit on the SLC 43. The new engine makes 367hp at 5,500-6,000rpm (down on the SLK 55’s 420hp) and 520Nm (down on the SLK 55’s 540Nm). All the power makes its way to the rear wheels via Merc’s new nine-speed gearbox which comes in place of the SLK’s old 7G-tronic unit. The engine’s two turbos and gearbox’s two additional gears help the SLC 43 make good any power deficit vis-à-vis the SLK 55. Coming to performance, 0-100kph takes 4.7 seconds (claimed) which is just a tenth of a second off the SLK’s time. However, the turbo-charged SLC is a whole lot faster through the gears so real-world performance is actually better on the SLC 43.
You don’t have to wind the bi-turbo engine to get to its best. There’s strong punch from low down in the rev band and you get that push back in your seat pretty much as soon as you weigh down on the throttle pedal. What helps is that the SLC 43’s gearbox works really well with the engine. It’s lenient enough in automatic mode, responsive to tugs at the paddles and then you have the option to go to full manual mode and slam an upshift at the 6,500rpm limiter.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
Though we haven’t yet sampled the 2017 SLC-Class in either form, the underlying characteristics shouldn’t be much different from last year’s SLK. We found that car to be reasonably athletic and quite enjoyable when going around turns. It also provided the smooth, composed ride that Mercedes drivers expect. Most roadsters can’t marry the two characteristics harmoniously, though it’s very much in keeping with SL family values.As for the new powertrains, check back for our full driving impressions of the SLC300 and AMG SLC 43 at a later date.Fun as it is on a quick drive, the SLC also works surprisingly well in everyday conditions. Ground clearance, for one, is sufficient for average-sized speedbreakers. This is an AMG so the ride is on the firmer side, but again it’s not back-breakingly bad. But on the rough stuff, you can tell the SLC 43 isn’t the most rigid of convertibles around. It doesn’t feel as tight as something like a Porsche Boxster for instance. There is that typical convertible scuttle shake that you get and, at times, the SLC 43, for all its improvements, does feel like a newer version of what is now a fairly old car.
SAFETY FEATURES ;
Safety is still a priority in the SLC-Class roadster with its standard Active Brake Assist, which warns the driver of a potential collision and can apply the brake in an effort to reduce the impact or avoid it altogether. ATTENTION ASSIST, dual roll bars, NECK-PRO head restraints, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), and a rearview camera are also standard. Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist are available safety features, in addition to Dynamic LED Headlamps that automatically provide optimum visibility when cornering on tricky roads and highways, all without creating glare for other drivers.Benz AMG SLC 43 features AMG high performance braking system where all the wheels come with internally-ventilated perforated brake discs, which gives excellent and precise braking at all times. Since it is a Mercedes, you don’t expect anything short of the best. In terms of safety as well, the Mercedes – Benz AMG SLC 43 is fully loaded and features all the typical necessary equipment. You can choose from the AMG package that works best for you and customize your vehicle to suit your needs.
Mercedes has launched the SLC 43 at Rs 77.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). That’s nearly half a crore cheaper than the older SLK 55’s price! And to think the two cars offer similar performance. Seen in light of the SLK 55, then, the SLC 43 comes across as a steal. However, the SLC 43’s pricing also puts it in the same price band as the BMW Z4 and the upcoming Porsche 718 Boxster. So the question really is, ‘Is the SLC 43 the best Rs 80-odd lakh convertible you can buy?’ While it’s hard to give a definitive verdict without a full-blown comparison, the SLC 43 has come in at a time when the BMW Z4 has started to feel a bit long in the tooth and the Boxster’s controversial move to a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre engine could turn away buyers. In effect, the SLC 43 with its refreshed exteriors, more feature-packed cabin, V6 engine and foldable hard-top may not be the best of the convertibles, but it could just be the most complete.