Although it will not be present when the public enters the Paris Motor Show this weekend, Mercedes-Benz exhibited their new convertible at a special media event the night before the show's opening: a drop-top version of their audacious, overtly phallic, two-seat sports car. Mercedes-Benz design director Gorden Wagener said that originally they didn't plan to build this car.
The newest open-air Benz is fun, fast and – here's a surprise – affordable, certainly more so than you’d expect from the German car brand. $70,900 (excluding dealer and on-road costs) will get you behind the wheel of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC, which is now rolling out to dealers. That’s a chunky $16,300 off the previous SLK 200 base model. Yet this mid-life makeover of the SLK – which now bears the SLC moniker, in a nod to its C-Class underpinnings – also adds plenty of features to the folding hardtop roadster to help it line up against rivals such as the BMW Z4 and Audi TT.
Standard kit across the SLC-Class range includes a nine-speed short-shifting automatic transmission, heated leather seats, a reversing camera, satellite navigation, a DAB+ digital radio and Apple CarPlay integration for the 7-inch display. The elongated signature bonnet gains a diamond radiator grille and revamped headlights, bookended by new bumpers and 18-inch alloy wheels. The folding metal roof can open and close at speeds up to 40km/h and gives the SLC a clear edge in the creature comfort stakes. For all its high-end appeal, there’s no mistaking that this is a car built for the joy of top-down driving. And there’s none of this 2+2 rigmarole – the SLC remains a proudly selfish two-seat tourer.
The Mercedes-Benz SLC family kicks off with the SLC 180, powered by a 1.6 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, at $70,900, with the 2.0 litre SLC 200 variant at $83,855. At $99,855 the SLC 300 gains some eye-catching AMG influences in the wheels and body styling, alongside lowered sports suspension, keyless entry, cruise control and neck-level heating. And if you want to go all out, the AMG SLC 43 is your tempting entry point into the roadster world of AMG. $134,615 secures you a race-tuned 3.0 litre V6 twin-turbo engine plus AMG sports suspension, high-performance braking system and Nappa leather sports seats, mated to a panoramic sunroof and Harman Kardon surround sound system.