Mercedes’ renaming tour is in full swing as we near the 2017 model year, and the latest to undergo this change is the automaker’s entry-level convertible, the SLK-Class. Starting in the 2017 model year, this model will become the SLC-Class in an attempt to tighten its ties to the C-Class. Along with this new name comes a refreshed look.
The styling changes are pretty noticeable moving from the SLK to the SLC, but they are not overwhelming. Up front, there is a new steeply raked diamond grille, larger air intakes on the bumper, and updated headlights with C-Class-like graphics and integrated daytime running lights. Around back, the thinner LED taillights with new graphics and light arrangement are easy to spot, as are the restyled exhaust outlets and bumper.
The exterior is not the only place that gets updates, as the interior also receives its share of new bits. These changes include new aluminum trim pieces with a carbon-fiber finish, a new-design instrument cluster with two tubular instrument surrounds and black dials, a new sport steering wheel, new leather upholstery with a perforated design on the shoulder of the seats and transverse fluting on the optional Nappa leather, and new ambient lighting that extends to the footwell.
Also getting a long list of updates is Mercedes’ COMAND infotainment system. The most important updates to this system are a new high-resolution 7-inch screen, hard-disc navigation with topographical map views, a DVD player, Internet radio, two USB ports in the center console and one SD card slot in the COMAND head unit, and more.
The SLC-Class debuts in two versions, the standard SLC300 and the AMG-touched SLC43. The former comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that cranks out 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, which are both the same as the outgoing SLK. The Mercedes-AMG SLC43 — the replacement for the V-8-powered SLK55 — makes use of a 3.0-liter biturbo V-6 powerplant that cranks out 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of twist. At this time, it appears as if there is no direct replacement for the SLK350.
Both models make use of a nine-speed automatic transmission to deliver the power to the rear wheels. The result is a 5.7-second sprint to 60 mph for the SLC300 and a 4.6-second run for the SLC43. Those sprint times make the SLC300 0.1 seconds quicker than the SLK300 and the SLC43 0.1 seconds slower than the SLK55.
The 2017 Mercedes SLC-Class will hit dealers in the spring of 2016, but pricing remains unknown. We will bring you more details as they become available.