Though it’s in the luxury sports car class, the SLC doesn’t live up to the performance of many of its classmates. Instead, this Mercedes aims to be a luxury roadster that has enough under the hood to allow for some spirited driving, which is a goal it accomplishes.
It handles extremely well and delivers a smooth ride. The interior brims with premium materials, and there are lots of available features. Since the SLC just debuted in Mercedes’ lineup for the 2017 model year, there may not be a lot of used models to choose from.
The Mercedes-Benz SL is also a two-seat roadster, but it is bigger and costs nearly twice as much as the SLC. The SL’s base engine is the SLC’s top engine, and the SL offers several more powerful options as well. The SL is also much quicker. Both vehicles are geared more toward a comfortable ride than dynamic handling, though both are fairly agile.
Exterior and Interior
With the hardtop up, the 2018 SLC-Class looks a lot like a coupe, albeit a somewhat awkward one thanks to the cap-like way the roof sits over the passenger compartment. Still you’d be hard-pressed to tell it’s actually a convertible unless you see it with the top down, and then you’re in for more of a visual treat. Its long hood.
Short trunk and wide stance give the SLC that classic roadster look. That top retracts in only 20 seconds, too. At under 163 inches, the Mercedes SLC is tiny just a bit bigger than a Mazda Miata which makes it a cinch to maneuver around town and easy to park in small spaces. Mercedes-Benz is a luxury-car maker, so it’s no surprise that premium amenities are the biggest strength of the 2018 SLC. Whether covered in MB-Tex faux leather or real hides, the seats are comfortable, even though there’s not a lot of room for taller drivers.
The audio and climate controls aren’t as svelte as those of fresher Mercedes models, but they are still easily accessed and simple to use, and we love the satisfying tactile quality of the knobs and switches. A supplemental rotary knob below the gear selector controls infotainment functions. The electronic gear selector itself is a small nub of a thing that can be awkward to use at first.
With the top up, the trunk boasts a respectable 10.1 cubic feet of space. Keep in mind that it shrinks to 6.4 with the top down.
2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class Engine
The Mercedes-Benz SLC300 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that puts out 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, sending it to the rear wheels through a 9-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain provides a good blend of power and efficiency. It is strong enough to propel the SLC to 60 mph in less than six seconds while returning up to 32 mpg on the highway.
If you’re looking for a more powerful SLC, you’ll probably want to step up to the V6 in the Mercedes-AMG SLC43, reviewed separately. Keep in mind that the Mercedes drinks the pricier premium unleaded gasoline.
With a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine worth 241 ponies powering the rear wheels, Mercedes’ compact roadster gets up and moves swiftly. The SLC300’s 0-60-mph time is clocked at 5.8 seconds, which is still faster than most other cars on the road. The SLC doesn’t have the razor-sharp handling of a Porsche Boxster, but it has the edge in overall comfort.
As an everyday driver, we think the SLC is more livable. Moreover, the SLC’s driving characteristics can be modified with the press of a button. Five drive modes, ranging from eco-minded to comfort-oriented to the aggressive Sport Plus, change characteristics such as steering feel, throttle mapping and shift points.
2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class Price and Release Date
Including destination charge, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC300 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $49,395. Loaded with all the options, an SLC can surpass $60,000. Still, even at these prices, Mercedes’ small roadster significantly undercuts the starting prices of the Porsche 718 Boxster and Jaguar F-Type.