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2018 SLC43

When the Mercedes-Benz SLK first hit the market in 1997, it featured a sporty exterior that was at odds with its more luxury-oriented character. The SLK has become the SLC, and it provides a much better balance between handling and comfort while continuing to offer the versatile hardtop convertible configuration that made the original a hit, and that adaptability is now available in a midrange performance variant: the SLC43.


The SLC43 is positioned below the considerably more expensive SL63 roadster. The original SLK was actually Mercedes' first hardtop convertible, predating the SL hardtop.

Design-wise, the SLC43 doesn't really offer a lot more than the standard Mercedes-Benz SLC on which it is based. AMG wheels are the stand-out visual upgrade, and some other minor detailing has changed here and there.

The standard mbrace telematics system includes a host of cloud-based goodies, including a concierge service, location-based traffic and weather updates, stolen vehicle location assistance, automatic collision notification and more. Available apps add internet browsing, Google local search with street view, Yelp reviews, Facebook access and news reports. Owners can even use an mbrance smartphone app to remotely lock, unlock or locate their SLC43.

The SLC43 features a retractable hard-top design that provides a coupe-like look and superior insulation when raised, while taking less than 20 seconds to lower when the sun comes out. Several optional extras are available to make the convertible experience even better, including an "Airscarf" system that blows warm air around the driver and passenger's neck and shoulder, as well as a "Magic Sky Control" glass roof panel that can be tinted at the push of a button by re-aligning embedded light-blocking crystals.

With the roof up, trunk space checks in at a respectable 10.1 cubic feet, while lowering it down reduces room to 6.4 cubes.

Performance and Handling

The SLC43 is far more engaging than the typical, comfort-oriented Mercedes model. AMG-specific suspension tuning and adaptive steering make the roadster a willing partner in crime for backroad blitzes, though it is equally happy playing the role of grand tourer for long-distance highway trips.

The base SLC43 is powered by a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V6 that makes 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft. of torque. Bolted to a nine-speed automatic transmission that spins the rear wheels (a rarity for the AMG 43 line, which is predominantly equipped with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive). Mercedes-Benz claims the SLC43 will make the sprint to 60 MPH in 4.6 seconds on the way to a 155-mile-per-hour top speed.

Fuel economy figures for the SLC43 are respectable for an entry-level performance car, with the EPA rating it at 20 mpg city and 29 mpg on the highway, with a combined rating of 23 mpg.

Standard and Optional Features

The SLC43's standard equipment is about on par with that of a Mercedes-Benz SLC300 equipped with the Premium I package, making

Highlights from the list of options include alternative AMG wheels and a Performance Studio RedArt package which adds a "design” interior, two-tone Nappa leather and red interior and exterior trim elements.

A Premium II package adds optional safety features (detailed below) along with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, and dual-zone climate control.

Occupant Safety

Every SLC is equipped with dual front, front knee and side airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.

A standard "ATTENTION ASSIST" system can alert the driver to the first signs of drowsiness, a factor that causes more than 100,000 accidents a year in the U.S.A steering sensor is coupled to smart software that uses 70 parameters to establish a unique driver profile during the first 20 minutes of driving. Between 50 and 112 mph, the system identifies the erratic steering corrections drivers make as they begin to get drowsy and triggers an audible warning and a "Time for a Rest?" message with a coffee cup icon in the instrument cluster.

Optional is the Pre-Safe Brake system, which detects impending collisions with vehicles or pedestrians and can automatically apply 100 percent of the SLC's braking force to avoid or mitigate the severity of the crash.

Other extra cost-options include a blind spot warning system and a Lane Keeping Assist system, which warns the driver if the roadster begins to drift into an adjacent lane.

Key Competitors

The SLC43 is pitted against a variety of drop-top rivals, including luxurious but less fun options like the Audi TT Roadster and BMW Z4, the incredibly fine-handling Porsche Boxster and the potent Chevrolet Corvette Convertible.