Top Gear describe the new SLC as a shrunken SL – and that’s very good comparison. Driving around the countryside on a cold November morning, I feel warmly cocooned in a luxurious cabin that’s more comfortably than a Boxster but less agile and engaging too.
Sadly, by dumping the old V8 engine for a twin-turbo three-litre Mercedes has rather sucked the pleasure out of a potentially fun car. The folding hard-top makes it very usable as an all-year round two-seater but as a cruiser, not an out-and-out sports car.
Of course, that will make the Merc fit into many people’s lives perfectly well. They can choose from a range of frugal engines – including a diesel – costing considerably less than the AMG43 too.
But it does feel like Mercedes has missed a trick here with the new SLC. This revised model was a chance to leapfrog the Boxster and Audi TT with something ‘of the now’ rather than the past.
And that’s a shame because there should be an affordable Mercedes that makes the hairs on the back of your next stand up every time you drive it…
It’s interesting to compare the interior of a Porsche Boxster with the SLC. Both are premium brand two-seaters but very different in the cabin.
I’ve long complained that Porsche are miserly with their equipment levels. Even my last 911, a 991 Cabriolet from 2012, didn’t have a DAB radio as standard – and there was no option for a retro upgrade either. I also find Porsche buttons and dials less tactile than those in a Mercedes.
For my money, the Merc is a far better place to sit. The big, comfortable seats feel more substantial, comfortable and refined. The Airscarf system (that blows hot air onto the back of you neck) is especially good and being a larger car, there’s extra elbow room.
Complaints? Only that the SLC infotainment system is starting to feel a little old tech. The screen is too small and functionality requires an upgrade…
About three years ago I almost bought a diesel SLK. I say almost – I paid the deposit only for the dealer to sell the car from under my nose and then offer me a more expensive one.
To say I was pissed off is an understatement. I swore I’d never drive a Merc again. Well, unless it was a W123 or a Gullwing. Then obviously I would swallow my pride, who wouldn’t.
As 2016 peters out, I find myself being the wheel of a rather pretty SLC – a folding hard-top convertible. Whether it’s, ahem, a mid-term facelift for the third generation SLK or not, the SLC is almost as cute as the second generation model (in my opinion, the best ever version).
They’ve dumped that pig ugly nose that messed up the 2011 model and given it a more steeply raked grille and prettier lights all round.
You can open and close the roof at speeds of up to 25mph and the interior is very classy indeed.
I know it’s not going to be as dynamic to drive as a Porsche Boxster, or a possibly the Audi TT either, but as November beckons, I’m rather looking forward to experiencing the thrills of a 362bhp V6 twin-turbo.
Surprising as I know I’m going to miss the old, normally aspirated V8…