All you need to know about the renamed SLK two-seat roadster in 120 seconds
What it looks like
The SLC takes the classic roadster looks of its SLK predecessor and updates them with a sharper, more modern feel.
So there’s a new front section with a steeply raked grille, designed to elongate the look of the arrow-shaped bonnet; a new front bumper with sporty air intakes and a chrome ‘wing’ on the lower edge; new aluminium trim with an on-trend carbon-fibre finish; LED lights at the front and rear; ventilation grilles in the front wings; and a boot lid with an arrow shape to continue the theme from the front of the car.
All of these elements combine to create a closer visual link to SL models, past and present, and reinforce the SLC’s roadster credentials.
What the cabin’s like
The interior has also had a few nips and tucks in the transition from SLK to SLC, to incorporate the latest must-have technology.
So there’s a TFT screen in the instrument binnacle to display information for the driver, plus a larger screen in the centre console for controlling the Comand infotainment system (now 7 inches, compared to the previous 5.8-inch unit).
Mercedes has also gone for a new sports steering wheel, or customers can opt for a multifunction version with a flattened bottom.
There are a host of leather options for the seats, including new colours, nappa and a “sun-reflecting” skin. Although the few occasions you could make use of that in the UK probably means that it’s not cost efficient.
The Comand system has also received an upgrade, with a range of new services under the Mercedes me connect umbrella.
So there are online services, an automatic emergency call (eCall) smartphone integration (including Apple CarPlay), internet access, plus the now-usual Bluetooth, USB ports and navigation.
All in all, the SLC has all the tech that a modern car buyer will expect.
The driving experience
While suggesting that the SLC is a triumph of style over substance would be harsh, it would be fair to say that the driving experience isn’t the strongest aspect of the car. It’s not that bad, but it can’t compare to the Porsche 718 Boxster, which lead the class in this department.
At low speed – especially if you go for an unrefined, past-it 2.1-litre diesel (which around 70% of SLC buyers will choose) – it’s grumbly, shaky and struggles to stay comfortable in the face of bad road surfaces and potholes.
It’s a lot better at higher speeds, but if you don’t cover high mileages, and spend a lot of time in town, we’d definitely recommend the SLC 200 (or, if you have a little extra cash, the SLC 300), which can still return 40+mpg.
A new nine-speed automatic gearbox is standard on most versions, which works well with all the engines, petrol and diesel.
Mercedes-Benz’s autonomous emergency braking system, now called Active Brake Assist, is standard-fit on all models, which is a major safety boon and can be an highly effective way of avoiding front-end collisions.
In addition, a blind spot detection system and lane-keeping assistant are available as options, plus there are other safety features such as highbeam assist, and traffic sign recognition system (to help you stay within the speed limit and in possession of your licence).
And parking – the bugbear of many drivers – is helped with a reversing camera, sensors and the Parktronic system, which steers the car into a space for you.
The SLC starts at Ł30,495 and goes up to Ł46,360 (for the hoy Mercedes-AMG SLC 43), so it's not a cheap car – but it is comparable to its Audi TT, BMW Z4 and Porsche 718 Boxster rivals.
It has fresh looks and the latest tech, but this is a car that has been fundamentally unchanged for over a decade and is beginning to show its age.
The diesel that will constitute the choice of most buyers is also outdated and over-loud, spoiling the experience of driving in many conditions.