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Mercedes-Benz SLK gets a new name and face

25.08.2016

The weather over the last few weeks has been ideal weather for open top cruising. It’s not killer hot nor is it ice cold. All I needed was a convertible, so I called up Mercedes-Benz and asked them to send me one of their latest open top cruisers. The next day and much to my delight an SLK arrived at our office, well at least I thought it was an SLK…

The Mercedes-Benz SLK set a new benchmark within the compact roadster segment. It was the first to feature, amongst other things a hard-top folding roof. The SLK has enjoyed 20-years of success, now though for 2016 Mercedes-Benz has decided to give it a new face and a new name as proclaimed by the badge on the boot lid. SLC is what it’s now called and I had it for a few days.

What I really like about it is its classic design profile. A long bonnet with the passenger cell just about on the rear wheels gives it a muscular characteristic. As part of the facelift, the Mercedes-Benz designers have further honed the roadster's sporty look. The new front section, where the steeply raked radiator grille elongates the appearance of the arrow-shaped bonnet, is particularly striking. All SLC models feature a diamond radiator grille as standard which gives the car a little more panache than its competitors. The cabin is not the most spacious however I never felt Closter phobic. I would put the roof down in the late afternoon and engage Air Scarf, which blows warm air down the back of your neck. I also like the fact that Mercedes-Benz ha upgraded th infotainment software and I do like the sporty clock mounted on top of the dashboard.

Now although it says SLC 300 on the label it actually makes use of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine developing 180kW and 370Nm. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a new 9G-Tronic gearbox. Mercedes-Benz claim a 0-100km time of 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h. As for the dynamic abilities, well the SLC makes use of DYNAMIC SELECT which adjusts the vehicles characteristics instantly at the touch of a button. The system modifies the engine, transmission, steering and suspension at the driver's command. On the open road I would select between Eco and Comfort but in town, well I had it set to Sport+ because it really comes to life in that mode, so too does the exhaust note.

As for safety, well a new feature for the SLC is the standard-fit Active Brake Assist, known in other model series as COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS. In addition to radar-based proximity warning and braking assistance by Adaptive Brake Assist, this Active Brake Assist system carries out autonomous braking to reduce the danger of rear-end collisions. If the driver fails to act when a risk of a collision is detected, despite the warning lamp in the instrument cluster and the intermittent audible alert, the system will initiate automatic braking.

I must say that I enjoyed my time with the SLC 300. Sure it’s not the most sportiest of cars out there but it looks really good and the updates made have brought it into line with the rest of the Mercedes-Benz line up. I just don’t think it’s an everyday kind of car. However, if you want a weekend toy and have R753 400 burning a hole in your pocket then best you take the SLC for a drive.

Article written by Justin Jacobs
25.08.2016
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