It may take Mercedes-Benz fan some time – and a scorecard – to keep up with all the changes set to come in the next year. Not only is the maker rolling out a number of new, or significantly updated, models in 2016, but it’s also changing the names for a number of them.
That includes a number of utility vehicles, as well as the old SLK, which will make a reappearance as the newly renamed Mercedes-Benz SLC. Two decades after its original debut, the roadster will undergo a significant facelift while also adding a number of new technologies shared with the recently updated Mercedes C-Class line.
“The renamed compact roadster remains an ideal combination of passion and common sense, appealing to both the heart and the mind,” said Ola Källenius, the Daimler AG board member overseeing Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales & Marketing.
One key thing doesn’t change: the two-seater will retain the familiar folding hardtop configuration first introduced on the old Mercedes SLK in 1996. It can now operate at speeds up to 25 mph.
But there are a number of visual changes. Picking up on the latest Mercedes styling cues, the new SLC adopts a more steeply raked, almost arrow-like grille with diamond-style detailing. The updated roadster now gets LED daytime running lights and optional LED headlamps.
The long-nosed silhouette carries over to the new Mercedes-Benz SLC. But from the rear, the updated model gets narrower taillights, explains the maker, which “are divided horizontally: the top and middle lights are the brake and tail light, and below them are the direction indicator and reversing light. The trunk lid has a pronounced arrow shape and the third brake light is positioned in the spoiler lip.”
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The interior of the new SLC, Mercedes boasts, “has an even higher quality look,” with new aluminum trim parts and a carbon fiber finish. The instrument cluster has a new, twin-tube layout, with a 4.5-inch multi-information display in-between. And, at 7 inches, the new infotainment display atop the center stack is about 20% larger than before.
There’s a new steering wheel with a race-style flattened bottom, and the SLC gets new leather appointments with contrasting topstitching and piping.
There are a variety of different versions of the new Mercedes-Benz SLC, depending upon market, and that includes the Mercedes-AMG SLC43, with its biturbo 3.0-liter V-6 paired with a nine-speed G-tronic sport transmission.
Making 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque, the AMG package can launch from 0 to 60 in just 4.6 seconds. Top speed is an electronically limited 155 mph.
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The SLC43 also features unique new front and rear axles and other changes to give a driver a more sporty sense of control and dynamics.
The other alternative is the Mercedes-Benz SL300, featuring a 2.0-liter inline-four rated at 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. It will get you to 60 in just 5.7 seconds, with a top speed of 130 mph.
All versions of the new Mercedes SLC will feature the maker’s Dynamic Select system, allowing a motorist to change a variety of functions, from throttle to gearbox to suspension, with the touch of a button. There are Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Eco and customizable Individual settings.
The new SLC adopts a number of high-tech systems seen on the latest Mercedes models, including the new C-Class. These include Active Brake Assist and Dynamic LED headlamps. Meanwhile, the COMAND infotainment system also has been updated with new and updated features.
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The new Mercedes-Benz SLC will reach U.S. showrooms this coming spring.