New Mercedes SLC on sale now, priced from £30,495
Mercedes reveals pricing and spec details of its new SLC roadster, new variant makes it £3,000 cheaper than SLK
That starting pricetag gets you the SLC 200 Sport with a 181bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine. It makes it just over £3,000 cheaper than the outgoing SLK 200, which was only available in AMG Sport spec.
The hot SLC 43 AMG model also goes on sale, and is priced from £46,355. That's nearly £9,000 less than the previous flagship variant, the 416bhp V8-engined SLK55, but the SLC 43's turbocharged V6 does have to make do with only 362bhp.
The Mercedes SLC is essentially a facelift despite the new model designation, but it gets sleeker lights than the SLK an updated grille to match its bigger brother, the SL, as well as a redesigned front bumper with larger air intakes.
The rear bumper has been updated, with new chrome trim and angled exhaust pipes. There are new LED taillights, and a folding hard-top roof that can be fitted with a panoramic glass element and can be opened or closed at speeds of up to 25mph.
Most of the key changes are on the inside, with aluminium trim highlights and a new steering wheel being the most significant updates. There's a new type of "sun-reflecting" leather for the seats and further colours to choose from as well. A larger seven-inch screen features sat-nav, Bluetooth, USB & iPod connectivity, Internet radio and even a DVD player and 4G access.
New Mercedes SLC engines and full pricing
The SLC 200 and 300 models get a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol with 181bhp and 242bhp respectively. The 200 is available in entry-level Sport trim unlike the 300, which demands an extra £8,890 bringing the total to £39,385.
That extra also adds Merc's nine-speed automatic gearbox, which reduces CO2 emissions by 13g/km to 137g/km in the 200, and means the 300 produces just 138gkm. The 300's AMG-Line spec (a £4,000 option elsewhere in the range) adds kit such as 18-inch alloys, an AMG bodykit, AMG interior trim upgrades and leather trim.
With economy of 64.2mpg, the SLC 250d diesel is the most frugal model in the range. Only available with the nine-speed auto, it starts from £32,995. It's no slouch, either, going from 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds, compared to 6.9 seconds in the SLC 200.
At the top of the range is the SLC 43 which replaces the V8-engined Mercedes-AMG SLK 55. The SLC 43 gets a 362bhp twin-turbo V6, which allows it to get from 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds (only 0.1 seconds down on the SLK 55) and up to a top speed of 155mph.
This model gets twin tailpipes and a few other small exterior changes, but the transformation is much more subtle than we're used to with AMG models in the past. The 18-inch alloy wheels with a black finish and sportier-looking steering wheel are the main visual changes.
It's available with optional AMG ride control suspension, adaptive dampers and a limited-slip differential, but the key factor for the SLC 43 model will be the fuel economy figure of 36.2mpg, which is a slight improvement on the SLK 55's 33.6mpg, and the emissions of 178g/km of CO2 compared to the 55's 195g/km.
A nine-speed double-clutch automatic gearbox comes a standard on the Mercedes-AMG SLC 43, and it's also standard on the 250d & 300, and available as an option on the 200 model. There's also a dynamic select option, which lets the driver choose from Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport + modes, or tailor the suspension, throttle response and gearbox to their liking.
The SLC gets extra safety kit as well, including active brake assist as standard. This system can detect a low speed collision and apply the brakes automatically if the driver fails to do so. Plus, SLCs can be fitted with blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and automatic LED headlights.
What do you think of the shift from the SLK name to SLC for Mercedes' roadster? Will it make any difference to buyers? Let us know in the comments below...