Mercedes-Benz SLC 250d AMG Line (2016) review - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

SLC General Discussion SLC 180,200,300,250d,43 AMG

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#1 Old 09-27-2016
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Mercedes-Benz SLC 250d AMG Line (2016) review

Just a quick one pager.



Mercedes SLC 250d AMG Line tested
► Claimed economy of 70.6mpg
► 201bhp diesel roadster yours for £37k

How much does this four-cylinder diesel convertible, inclusive of options, cost? A staggering £50,420. For that money you could get a BMW M235i Convertible with plenty of change, or a Porsche 718 Boxster S. Not off to a flying start, is it?

With a starting price of £36,995 – and not much in the way of standard kit – you definitely don’t buy the two-seater SLC 250d to economise. Official fuel economy north of 70mpg, £30 annual VED and a taste for diesel, however, mean that this is also not a traditional sports car, either.

You might imagine it to be a niche choice, but a whopping 70% of SLC drivers opt for this diesel drop-top – rather than the 2.0-litre SLC 200 and 300 petrol models, or the 3.0-litre twin-turbo SLC 43 AMG. The AMG Line trim version tested here, which commands a hefty £4k premium, also proves very popular.

So what’s the diesel like?

Bad news: it’s not the new 2.0-litre four-pot diesel; instead, it’s a 201bhp version of the older 2.1-litre engine. It’s far less refined than its successor, but it still serves up decent pace – thanks in part to the engine’s 369lb ft, which aids the Mercedes in sprinting from 0-62mph in just 6.6sec.

Dawdling around town is when the engine and gearbox are happiest, however, with the transmission slickly shuffling cogs and the motor proving hushed when cruising. Press on a little harder and you’ll find the gearbox reluctant to drop down gears in standard Comfort mode, leading to sluggish-feeling performance, while the increasingly vocal diesel further curtails your enthusiasm.

Switch into Sport mode and the transmission wakes up a little; this is the happy medium mode between Comfort and Sport+, which shifts down if you even look at the accelerator. Even more abrupt is the stop/start system, which cuts the engine when you are crawling along in traffic, making it impossible to edge along smoothly. You’re better off just disengaging it.

Is the roof mechanism slick and quick?

No. Contrary to what you might expect, its operation is noisy, grumbling and pedestrian. It’s got a lot of weight to deal with, mind, so it’s no surprise that it’s a bit less refined than a soft-top system – but it’s disappointing given the price of the car.

That said, with metal and glass all around – rather than the typical fabric tent top – the cabin’s pretty quiet with the roof up. This remains the case if you drop the roof, with only a little wind intrusion disturbing the cabin at speed.

The ride, however, is firm and jarring at times, denting the Mercedes’ credentials as a cruiser. This could be down to the £995 Dynamic Handling Package fitted to our car, which adds lowered suspension and adaptive damping. In Sport+ mode the suspension struggles to absorb bumps, with the car being bucked off course by bigger undulations, while Comfort mode is better but fails to do its name justice.

You won’t find much joy in the corners, either. The steering’s unremarkable, and you’ll not find anywhere near the same degree of accuracy or ride compliance that you would in a Porsche.

So how does it stack up elsewhere?

The folding hard top looks good up and doesn’t take up too much space in the large boot. The interior, meanwhile, feels less plush than it should do for the price. The materials are acceptable, and the low-slung seats supportive enough, but the cabin just feels dated. The £2095 optional media system fitted to our car was also not as slick as most rival systems, either.

It’s not even much cop on the finance front; monthly payments weigh in at £379 per month (over three years with a £5319 deposit). A manual, front-wheel-drive TT Roadster diesel is just a little cheaper at £366 per month – although the SLC costs less if you buy the cars outright at the end of the scheme

Cash savings of more than £9,000 are available, though, meaning that this car can be bought outright for less than £28,000. That swings the balance back a little in its favour.

Verdict

With a coarse diesel motor under the bonnet and firm, brittle suspension, the SLC fails to make the grade as a sports car or a laid-back cruiser. The price, meanwhile, just adds insult to injury; you could get two Mazda MX-5s and still have £5 change for the same cost as the SLC 250d.

It’s not like you get much equipment either. As a result, you have to love the looks of the SLC or really value the high claimed economy to splash out the best part of £40,000 for one.

Bearing in mind the din that the diesel motor produces, the cheaper SLC 200 petrol – which can be found from just over £22,000 with online brokers – could be a wiser option for many convertible fans. At that price, it’s easier to overlook the SLC’s downsides.

At a glance
Handling
3 out of 5
Performance
4 out of 5
Usability
4 out of 5
Feelgood factor
4 out of 5
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#2 Old 09-27-2016
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This chimes with my impression & I think Mercedes have dropped a huge clanger & totally lost the sporting car plot. If I were a BMW Porsche or Audi salesperson I'd be one very happy smug bunny looking forward to some easy sales now that the competition has been eradicated.
The upside is that very soon these dozy diesels will be clogging up dealer forecourts as per the current SLK derv. effort & there could be some desperate looking discounts. Better still within a year used models or unsold demonstrators will be as cheap as chips.
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#3 Old 09-27-2016
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I've given up on reviews on any car , they are all written by part time racing drivers or people who's only aim in life is to dismiss everything as garbage .
There's no such thing as a truly bad car these days , try driving some of these priceless classics if you wish to experience a really bad car , I tried a Porsche 356 roadster last year , my mates comment was " that just saved me a six figure sum ! "
I'm pretty sure the car reviewed will be a cracking little thing and great value for money with discounts , I was looking at boxsters before ordering an slc , check out the Porsche option price list , but sit down before you do !
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#4 Old 09-27-2016
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I would not elevate this reviewer to even that of a failed racing driver. He is an idiot - first he thinks £50k buys a 718S and then goes on to compare its lease price to that of a manual diesel TT... The rest is just complete jibberish.
However, for as long as the likes of Clarkson is given a platform, then there will be a swarm of wanabees in the wake.
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#5 Old 09-28-2016
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This is a very strange review as the reviewer has utterly missed the point - this is a UK Company Car Tax special and Mercedes Finance will lease you for way less than the finance figures being quoted.

We know the engine is old. We know the car is old. But two MX-5s aren't a Mercedes. On that basis I'd just need a huge garage for 4 MX-5s instead of an SL (for which I would still need a huge garage).

And comparing an automatic 204PS AMG-line to a TT Sport 177PS manual also seems daft. You have to compare it to an S-line TT but then the reviewers financial argument vanishes.

I do agree with the bit about the 200 petrol car though. It's plenty of performance for the UK and makes far more sense if you're buying privately. Company car drivers will just go straight to the 250d because of the extremely low tax liability. Makes sense to me!
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#6 Old 09-28-2016
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Originally Posted by Hal Adams View Post
I would not elevate this reviewer to even that of a failed racing driver. He is an idiot - first he thinks £50k buys a 718S and then goes on to compare its lease price to that of a manual diesel TT... The rest is just complete jibberish.
However, for as long as the likes of Clarkson is given a platform, then there will be a swarm of wanabees in the wake.

Slightly off topic Hal , but you got off lucky not coming to the ring this year , it was a nightmare , far to busy , I didn't even buy a lap ticket . The Friday race was cancelled and replaced with a millionaires track day , and when it was open it wasn't for long because of the accidents !
Mid week visit next year I think
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#7 Old 09-28-2016
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The thing is, I don't think the is reviewer is going to be ponying up his hard earned for to buy ANY of the cars he casually mentions, is he?

If he was, he'd probably be best off analysing his use case a bit better, so much of the review of any car is subjective that it's difficult to present a balanced review that is relevant to a broad cross section of potential buyers. Realistically, a degree of compromise almost always plays some part in the equation.

The main thing he seems to be hung up on is the list price but the kind of discount's he's talking about is available right across the SLC range; try getting £9K+ off a TT (hint: don't hold your breath). MB aren't completely stupid, they know the R172 is getting a little long in the tooth so they're dishing up plenty of financial incentives to attract buyers.

After all, the list price is irrelevant, it's the actual cost to you, the punter, that counts. On that score the diesel model starts to look like a much better buy.

And to @oldmercman... sometimes I struggle to understand why you bought/still own an SLK, your comments about "losing the sporting car plot" don't make much sense... the SLC is an improvement over the SLK dynamically, so if you don't think much of the SLC as a sports car logically you must think even less of your own car. I suggest you set yourself free from the shackles of MB ownership and go back to an MX5, it really sounds like you'd be much happier with one.
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#8 Old 09-28-2016
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In all honestly, and I have said this time and time again, the SL/SLK/SLC is not a 'sports' car in that it was never intended, nor indeed used, for sport in the same vein that say, Porsches are. Anyone thinking differently is out of touch. OK, some might say the 55 is a sports car, but it has not got the refinement a sports car needs, it is though a veritable 'grunt' car.
These cars are comfortable two seaters for cruising imo. I think everyone agrees that the SLx range has is a car with a good feel factor. These reporters who start comparing it with Boxters, TTs and the like are crazy. Clarkson once owned an SLK55 (it might have been a Black version, I cannot remember) and even he, Mr motormouth, praised the SLK for only what it was - a car that would always bring a smile to your face...
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#9 Old 09-28-2016
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Hi Paul - yes, bad times at the ring I hear. A couple of French killed, yes? It is not a place for the uninitiated. Whilst I have been around a couple of times, there is no way I would attempt it flat out, and I do not mind admitting it. I heard there is now a call to group cars accordingly and reserve a portion of the day for those of us who just want the experience. I remember my first circuit was in a meagre T5 and suddenly in the mirror was a test Porsche being hunted down by a Coutanche, both missing me by millimetres!
I did not call you as i was all over the place last month - picking up the RS3 to replace the Clio from Prague and them immediately went to the Uk for a couple of weeks. But have kept your number and maybe next year... I definitely want to see how an RS3 fairs around the track...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal Adams View Post
In all honestly, and I have said this time and time again, the SL/SLK/SLC is not a 'sports' car in that it was never intended, nor indeed used, for sport in the same vein that say, Porsches are. Anyone thinking differently is out of touch. OK, some might say the 55 is a sports car, but it has not got the refinement a sports car needs, it is though a veritable 'grunt' car.
These cars are comfortable two seaters for cruising imo. I think everyone agrees that the SLx range has is a car with a good feel factor. These reporters who start comparing it with Boxters, TTs and the like are crazy. Clarkson once owned an SLK55 (it might have been a Black version, I cannot remember) and even he, Mr motormouth, praised the SLK for only what it was - a car that would always bring a smile to your face...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal Adams View Post
Hi Paul - yes, bad times at the ring I hear. A couple of French killed, yes? It is not a place for the uninitiated. Whilst I have been around a couple of times, there is no way I would attempt it flat out, and I do not mind admitting it. I heard there is now a call to group cars accordingly and reserve a portion of the day for those of us who just want the experience. I remember my first circuit was in a meagre T5 and suddenly in the mirror was a test Porsche being hunted down by a Coutanche, both missing me by millimetres!
I did not call you as i was all over the place last month - picking up the RS3 to replace the Clio from Prague and them immediately went to the Uk for a couple of weeks. But have kept your number and maybe next year... I definitely want to see how an RS3 fairs around the track...
I agree with Hal , I bought a slc 43 as it suits my needs better than any other car of this type , hard top convertible that's comfortable on the work commute and on a long distance trip , my personal journeys are 850 miles one way in one go , decent turn of speed and makes a nice noise , i personally think it handles great .

Hal , they definitely need to do something on a weekend as it's crazy and closed more than its open these days due to accidents , although I have a theory that the longer it's closed the less it's getting used but they've still sold the lap tickets , wether they are used or not ! And it gives the incentive to return to use the laps you didn't use first time , probably buy a couple more when your there but not get to use them , endless cycle of spending money , or maybe taking money should I say ?
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#11 Old 09-28-2016
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Hmm. I was looking at the SLC200 in the show-room yesterday, and, aside from the "C" on the back, it's pretty much not changed from the R172 SLK, I was hard pushed to spot ANY changes. Gearnob shape. Clock, but, that's an option it seems.

The review seems to be boilerplating the stock car-journo reaction that you can't have a sporty diesel. Unless the SLC is for some reason worse than the SLK250d, I still think it makes a great option! Nice if the new engine is smoother but the OM651 with the twin-turbo setup is still an awsome piece of kit, plenty of lumbar support!

Handling comments slightly more alarming as I know they have changed something in the suspension arrangements with the SLC, but, given the flavour of the rest of the review, I don't know if that means the SLC is not as good as the SLK was, or, if he's just finding holes to pick. I've not driven a Boxter but it's hard to imagine it'd be much better in the corners than the R172.
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#12 Old 09-28-2016
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Oh, and his GENERAL comments on the price/position of the SLK/C, that hasn't changed, and, history has already proven him wrong. Look how many SLKs there are on the roads already, and, look how many of the R172s you see are 250ds. I have no idea if sales are up to MB's expectations, but you can hardly argue that they got the price wrong and no-one wants it.
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I've not driven a Boxter but it's hard to imagine it'd be much better in the corners than the R172.
In the dry it's a very good car indeed. In the wet it's still better than the SLK but the difference isn't so obvious.

I do think there is a certain reverence for Porsche because to step outside the hegemony means you are a heretic and what motoring journalist wants anyine to think they're not a Porsche driving hero?
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#14 Old 09-28-2016
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As an owner of a previous SLK250 CDI AMG and now the very happy owner of our current car, an SLC250 CDI AMG I can offer my views on the above review; please note I'm no car reviewer, these are just my opinions, I even had to check the other day when someone asked what size engine it had.....

Comparing the older car to the new one I find this new SLC much quieter, in every day driving, roof up or down I honestly couldn't say if it was a petrol or a diesel, only standing in front of the car whilst it's idling would I be able to tell.The SLK had a much gruffer diesel note that entered the cabin at lower revs. Whilst deciding on our new car we did test drive an SLC200, I wasn't that taken with it, the sports exhaust thing wasn't really for me.I really think the torquey nature of the diesel suits the cruising attitude that our car has in spades. I can drive this car all day long, often taking the long way home just as an excuse to drive it more. I have a regular 400 mile round trip that I make for work and its no stress in the SLC. Still makes me smile when the trip computer says 450m till empty after 200 miles of motorway driving. Fuel economy wise I think the new car is a bit better, i'm only going by the trip computer (I know these are a tad unreliable) but round town 40-45 is easy enough with economy mode and a bit of "Gliding". On a run I managed an indicated 56, in the old car I got an indicated 60 a couple of times but this cars still new. As mentioned I make the same round-trip a few times a month so the next time I take the SLC I will brim it then top it up when I get back home, it's 400 miles of 50% fast motorway with 50% nose to tail motorway so that should be a good indication of possible mpg.

We're also thinking about a road trip to the Alps next year, will be interesting to see how far we can get per tank of fuel.

We also (briefly) considered the new 718 Boxster. As others have pointed out the 718 starts out circa £39000 but i'll bet nobody leaves the showroom with a factory standard one, the car we specced (frugally) hit the £50k mark with ease. I did feel the Boxster was more sporty but I preferred the laid back driving style of the SLC, I love just driving along with the lightest touch on the controls. Mostly just using either Economy or Comfort for the driving mode, if there is a bit of overtaking required then sport will be called upon but otherwise it's set to cruise. One thing I have noticed was if I used the steering wheel levers to change gear it would take a while to reset to the original driving mode, I discovered that if you pull back on the gear lever, in effect re-selecting drive, it does it straight away.

Comparing the gearboxes the new 9 speed doesn't seem as smooth as the previous 7 speed. No problem in the higher gears but it sometimes feels like it holds on a bit too long to the lower gears, for example whilst slowing to a traffic light. The driving modes are more pronounced, Eco is great in congestion but I find the throttle feel too soft / unresponsive otherwise, comfort suits the car better and as mentioned Sport or Sport + really do make a difference but seem to spoil the feel of the car. Maybe this is where diesel & Sport don't really mix.

I don't find the roof "cycle" time too bad, it's 25 seconds or so, doesn't seem to be an issue and this time it works from a stand still up to 25mph.

Comfort wise it's spot on, I'm 6ft tall and have no problem getting a comfortable driving position, I don't find it as good when a passenger, I seem to fidget with my arms more....

Annoyances ? I can't think of many, the Radio preset buttons have an odd lag, they take a good few seconds after pressing to change the station, enough to make you think you didn't press it properly. Stop -Start is a bit sharp, I do sometimes knock it off if I'm at a busy junction and just edging forward.

Summing up, I'm really pleased with the SLC, once seated inside it has the feel of much larger car, I don't find the ride too harsh, maybe I consciously drive around the road imperfections a bit more than our other car but it's never crashy or uncivilised. We may even keep this car for a while.

Anyway, just my thoughts....hope they made some sense
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#15 Old 09-29-2016
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One thing I have noticed was if I used the steering wheel levers to change gear it would take a while to reset to the original driving mode, I discovered that if you pull back on the gear lever, in effect re-selecting drive, it does it straight away.
Thanks for that - excellent comparison between in effect the same edition of the old and the new.

Re the gearchange, I presume a "long-hold" of the right paddle will also return you to full auto as it used to, though I like the additional option on the gear shifter. Where, I assume, left and right nudges do the same as the paddles?
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I have owned a Porsche Boxster 'S' type and recently traded my 2013 tsfi Audi TT Black Edition for my SLC, the simple fact for me, based on my driving style I can't notice any real difference between them, some times I like to have a little blast but in the main I would describe my driving style as 'progressive' I find the SLC smooth and fast and just great to drive. Yes the porker and probably the Audi would lose it on the twisty stuff but you would be driving like your arse was on fire. I know I made the right choice and am very pleased with it.

Yes long pull on paddles return you to auto mode...
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#17 Old 09-30-2016
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As a postscript to above I should say my car has the Dynamic Handling Package...
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A warm thank you to @Paulwirral, @pimp my merc & @Essel for you posts.

You had the choice to buy the other cars that the original reviewer advocated as "better" alternatives but tellingly you all chose the SLC... I think that tells us something about the value of journalists reviews. I'd much rather have the opinions of people who chose to spend their own cash on their cars any day.
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Sadly, the reviewer has no style to speak of. If you're going to bash a new vehicle, do it with gusto ... Go read the (USA) Cycle magazine review of the then-new 1971 Triumph Bonneville if you want a wonderful and amusing roast of a vehicle.

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#20 Old 10-02-2016
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I too would have to agree with Essel. It's a fab car for all driving styles. I've not clocked up many miles since I took delivery at the end of July.(1800) But I am getting from start of reset 58.8 miles to the gallon. It has hit 60mpg twice but that was partly down to slower driving speeds on the motorway. (Dam average speed camera 50mph zones). Seeing as the oil companies are cutting production of oil and fuel going back up, diesel is a good choice. I was told the diesel was the most popular option with the strongest residuals among buyers. The cabin does feel spacious and the car does feel bigger than it looks. My only regret with the car is not upgrading the headlights lights. But I felt I had spent enough at the the time of ordering. I'm so glad I did add the glass roof and sir scarf. But the £500 for the sat nav was a bit of a rip off. Next time I'll buy a Tom Tom with all the bells and whistles for half the cost of Mercs navi. Comfort is as comfy as my last car (BMW320) getting on to the sporty issue. Well my opinion is, it has sporty looks, good handling and performance. The weighty diesel delivers well in sport mode, but seeing as I didn't buy the car race on tracks or roads. I think the whole sports car argument is a pointless one. MX5 and the like are not sports car either. But people buy them. Why? Because it looks sporty and the roof folds down. I totally get the argument slk owners have. As they feel let down that not a lot has changed.
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