New Mercedes-AMG SLC43 Infused With C-Class DNA

The SLC43, which replaces the SLK55 AMG, is a heavily reworked rear-wheel-drive roadster powered by the same twin-turbocharged 3.0L V-6 gasoline engine used by the new S400 Coupe.

Greg Kable

December 16, 2015

3 Min Read
SLC43 power numbers below SLK55 predecessor but fuel economy improves
SLC43 power numbers below SLK55 predecessor but fuel economy improves.

STUTTGART – Mercedes-AMG revives the “43” model designation on a new, range-topping version of the facelifted third-generation SLK, which adopts the SLC nomenclature as part of the wholesale renaming strategy announced by the German automaker earlier this year.

Pictured here for the first time ahead of its public premiere at next month’s North American International Auto Show, the SLC43 replaces the SLK55 AMG. Power for the heavily reworked rear-wheel-drive roadster comes from the same twin-turbocharged 3.0L V-6 gasoline engine used by the new S400 Coupe.

With 371 hp at 5,500 rpm and 384 lb.-ft. (521 Nm) of torque, the new engine delivers 53 hp and 14 lb.-ft. (19 Nm)  less than the naturally aspirated 5.5L V-8 gasoline unit used by its predecessor.

But while the SLK55 used a 7-speed version of AMG’s Speedshift automatic gearbox, the SLC42 is fitted with Mercedes-Benz’s latest 9-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission that features five driving modes: comfort, sport, sport plus, eco and individual.

Official performance claims put the SLC43’s 0-62 mph (0-100 km) time at 4.7 seconds, 0.1 of a second slower than the SLK55, while top speed remains limited to 155 mph (250 km/h). The move to the smaller-capacity engine has yielded a 2.2 mpg (0.96 km/L) improvement in combined cycle fuel economy at 30.2 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) on the European test cycle.

The “43” model designation first was used by Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance-car offshoot on the C43 AMG launched in 1997. Powered by a naturally aspirated 4.3L V-8 gasoline engine, the  predecessor to today’s C63 produced 302 hp and 302 lb.-ft. (409 Nm)  of torque, sufficient to provide it with a 0-62 mph time of 6.5 seconds and 155 mph top speed.

Other changes introduced by SLC include a new SLC180 entry-level model. It runs a turbocharged 1.6L 4-cyl. engine developing 154 hp and 184 lb.-ft. (249 Nm) of torque, although it is unlikely to form part of the North American lineup.

Even a Diesel

The SLK200 replacing the SLC200 also receives a new engine, with the old turbocharged 1.8L unit replaced by a more contemporary turbocharged 2.0L powerplant delivering the same 181 hp as before but an added 22 lb.-ft. (30 Nm) at 221 lb.-ft. (300 Nm).

The SLK250 is succeeded by the SLC300, which uses a more highly tuned version of the SLC200’s turbocharged 2.0L engine producing 242 hp and 273 lb.-ft. (370 Nm) of torque. There is no direct replacement for the SLK350 in the new lineup.

For selected markets there is a diesel in the form of the SLC250d. It uses a carryover version of the turbocharged 2.0L 4-cyl. mill used by the SLK250 CDI, with output remaining the same at 201 hp and 369 lb.-ft. (500 Nm) of torque.

Both the SLC180 and SLC200 are fitted with a standard 6-speed manual gearbox. All other SLC models receive the new 9-speed 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox, which improves fuel economy and reduces carbon-dioxide emissions across the lineup, including a headlining figure of 53.5 mpg (4.4 L/100 km) for the SLC250d.

Styling changes include a front bumper with larger ducts for improved engine-bay cooling; an altered grille featuring Mercedes-Benz’s diamond-shaped insert as found recently on various models from the German automaker; and revised headlamps with integrated LED daytime running lamps and fresh internal graphics. At the rear are new LED taillamp graphics and a re-profiled bumper with integrated tailpipes and a more-pronounced diffuser element.

Revisions to the operating procedure of the SLC’s folding hardtop allow it to be opened without having to manually set the luggage cover in place. It operates at speeds up to 25 mph (40 km/h), allowing it to be opened and closed while setting off rather than at standstill, as with the older SLK. Still available is the Magic Sky Control glass roof, which employs an electrochromatic process to adjust the amount of light entering the cabin.

Inside, the SLC retains the same dashboard as the SLK. However, it receives revised instruments, new trim applications, a larger 4.5-in. (11.4-cm) infotainment monitor and a new 3-spoke steering wheel. Changes to the standard safety equipment include Active Brake Assist, a collision-prevention system that operates autonomous braking.



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