Mercedes Benz SLC 300 Convertible

#31
in Midsize convertibles
2018 MODEL

$48,400

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Overview

The Porsche 718 Boxster has been the King in the sports convertible segment for quite some time now. There is a new challenger for the throne – the Mercedes SLC 300 – but is it really any challenge to dethrone the segment leader?

The SLC might not sound like a familiar name but it certainly is a familiar car. Mercedes has been juggling their nomenclature quite often lately and in this case it's the SLK, oh no – the SLC. The SLC class which necessarily is a facelift from the SLK with a new engine now features the SLC 300 and the SLC 43 AMG. Here, we are taking a closer look at the SLC 300.

Down-sizing is the norm these days and the SLC is no exception. It no longer comes with a sweet V6 engine but a turbo charged 4 cylinder unit. That puts it directly against the down-sized Porsche Boxster, Jaguar F-type convertible and Audi TT roadster.

See detailed review »

Pros

Good handling

Great Build Quality

A SL-class at an affordable price

Retractable electronic Hard Top

Cons

Handling not particularly suited to enthusiastic driving

Down-sizing of engine to a 4 cylinder only

Dated interiors

What's New?

Down-sizing of its engine from a V6 to a turbo-charged inline four cylinder engine

Only few visual tweaks

SLK has now been rebadged as the SLC.


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$48400

bodystyle

2dr Convertible

passenger capacity

2

drivetrain

RWD

engine type

displacement

121 cu. in.

horsepower

241 hp @ 5550 rpm

torque

273 lb.-ft. @ 1300 rpm

transmission

9-speed automatic

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

11.8 in. ventilated disc brakes/12.7 in. ventilated disc brakes

dimensions

wheelbase

95.7 in.

length

162.8 in.

width

71.5 in.

height

51.3 in.

curb weight

3296 lbs.

ground clearance

4.4 in.

capacity

passenger volume

48.8 cu ft.

cargo volume

10.1 cu ft.

performance

zero to 60 mph

5.6 sec.

standing ¼-mile

14.7 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

153 ft.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

18/27/32 mpg

highway range

508.8 mi.

warranty

roadside assistance

No



Styles

Mercedes Benz SLC 300 Convertible in Diamond Silver Metallic color Mercedes Benz SLC 300 Convertible in designo Diamond White Metallic color Mercedes Benz SLC 300 Convertible in designo Cardinal Red Metallic color Mercedes Benz SLC 300 Convertible in Brilliant Blue Metallic color Mercedes Benz SLC 300 Convertible in Black color
Diamond Silver Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Engine

7.6

Fuel Economy

6.6

Interior

4.8

Exterior

6.6

6.4

OVERALL RATING

Variant Name

MSRP


Mercedes Benz SLC 300 Convertible SLC 300

SLC 300

Fuel: Premium unleaded (required), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 2

$48,400

Configurations
SLC 300 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 9A)
Transmission: 9A MPG: (25/27/32)

Expert Review


carhp editor October 26, 2018

6.4

Overall Rating


 

7.6/10
Engine

 

6.6/10
Fuel Economy

 

4.8/10
Interior

 

6.6/10
Exterior

 
 
 
 

The SLC might not sound like a familiar name but it certainly is a familiar car. Mercedes has been juggling their nomenclature quite often lately and in this case it’s the SLK, oh no – the SLC. The SLC class which necessarily is a facelift from the SLK with a new engine now features the SLC 300 and the SLC 43 AMG. Here, we are taking a closer look at the SLC 300.

Features

Trim Mercedes SLC 300 Roadster
MSRP $48,400
Key Features

Eco Start/Stop

  Sport Exhaust System
  Torque Vectoring Brake
  Panorama Roof
  Side-mirror logo Projectors
  Attention Assist
  Dual Roll Bars
  4-way power Steering Wheel
  7-inch color in-dash display
  Illuminated Entry System

  The Mercedes SLC comes in only one trim and that is SLC 300. It comes with a 2.0L turbocharged 4 cylinder engine. Do not be disappointed with that though, because the SLC-class also comes with a V6 AMG engine and is called the SLC 43 AMG. But that is a separate car in itself and calls for a review dedicated to itself. For now, we would just talk about the SLC 300.

We recommend

Although the SLC 300 does not come with an AMG engine, you can surely choose the optional AMG-line body styling at just a little above $2,000 to give the car the flares of an AMG-Mercedes which gives you redesigned bumpers, 18-inch AMG wheels and the chrome-tipped diamond block grille among other features. The optional feature of the Panorama roof with Magic Sky Control is also a great feature to add for $2,500.

Engine

7.6/10

Engine and Transmission

“It’s strong and responsive still, but in its Comfort driving mode, the engine and transmission get too relaxed on the job.” - Carconnection

Models Mercedes SLC 300 Roadster Jaguar F-Type Convertible Porsche 718 Boxster Audi TT Roadster
MSRP $48,400 $63,850 $59,000 $47, 450
Engine 2.0L Turbocharged inline 4 cylinder engine 2.0LTurbocharged inline 4 cylinder engine 2.0-liter turbocharged flat 4-cylinder engine 2.0L TFSI Turbocharged inline 4 cylinder engine
Transmission 9-speed automatic 8-Speed Automatic 6-Speed Manual 6-speed dual clutch automatic
Horsepower 241 bhp 296 hp 300 hp 220 bhp
Torque 273 lb-ft 295 lb-ft 280 lb-ft 258 lb-ft

  The SLC 300 comes with a 2.0L turbocharged inline 4 cylinder engine developing 241 bhp at 5500 rpm and 273 lb-ft of torque at 1300 rpm. This four-cylinder engine is smooth and refined but do not mistake this for a sporty car. The power just seems enough for what you would want from a compact luxury roadster. The engine is responsive when you put your foot down and builds up the pace quite well. Still, it lacks the urgency and a sonorous sound which you shouldn’t be expecting from a 4-cylinder engine anyway.

Build up the pace, however, and the engine note gets better and sounds more purposeful. Although it’s a turbocharged engine and torque is available from 1300 rpm, in reality, there seems to be some amount of turbo lag. It does not like to be worked hard and is best at a leisurely pace. The 9-speed automatic does its job pretty well and you would find yourself in the right gear most often. Upshifts are quite smooth and accurate, however, the downshifts may get frustratingly delayed at times.

When seen in the context of the competition, the SLC 300 really falls behind as a sports car. The Porsche Boxster and the Jaguar F-type, both outrun the SLC in terms of performance by miles. They have far more power and torque and live up to their sports car roots. Even the Audi TT which is less powerful than the Merc feels more sporty and agile. We’d say the Merc is not meant for such thrilling performance but has a different gentlemanly character more suited to cruising.

Acceleration

Models Mercedes SLC 300 Roadster Jaguar F-Type Roadster Porsche 718 Boxster Audi TT Roadster
0-60 MPH 5.8 secs 5.4 sec 4.9 sec 5.6 secs
Quarter mile 14.7 secs 14.1 sec 14.2 sec 14.3 secs
Engine 2.0L 2.0L 2.0L 2.0L

  The Merc does reach to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds which is fast, yet not fast enough for a sports convertible. It crosses the quarter mile in 14.7 seconds which is the slowest in the competition. The acceleration is certainly not the most thrilling part of the car.

It’s the slowest to the 60mph mark, falling behind the Audi TT which is two-tenths of a second faster which is rather surprising because of its lower power and heavier weight. The Porsche Boxster shoots ahead and takes the first place with the 60 mph mark achieved in 4.9 seconds followed by the Jaguar F-type reaching 60 mph in 5.4 seconds.

Ride and Handling

Handling is something that this Mercedes has got quite on point. The car feels nimble which is largely due to its short wheelbase. You would be able to place the car where you want to and there is always enough grip, even through a fast corner. The steering lacks feel but is precise and with all the electronics switched off, going sideways is not much of a task. The car is quite composed around corners as the suspension is on the firm side. The hard top means that it insulates you from most noise quite well over its soft top rivals.

There are driving modes to suit your driving style. Dial-up to the Sport or Sport+ modes and the throttle response and gear changes become far more responsive and aggressive. The steering is however not benefitted anyway other than just adding a little more weight to it. The suspension being on the firm side compromises on the ride quality certainly. The chassis also lacks a certain amount of stiffness which becomes evident over rough surfaces. The other thing which lets the SLC down is its weight which compromises on handling as steering inputs are a little delayed when changing directions quickly.  

Brakes

Model Mercedes SLC 300 Roadster Jaguar F-Type Roadster Porsche 718 Boxster Audi TT Roadster
Brake Front (in.) 12.7 14.0 13.0 12.3
Brake Rear (in.) 11.8 12.8 11.8 11.8
Curb Weight (lbs.) 3296 3405 2943 3373
60-0 MPH (ft.) - 112 112 123

  The Mercedes comes with high performance perforated brakes and torque vectoring braking system. The brakes are good and do their job quite well, both in stopping the car and in terms of driving dynamics when braking around corners with the help of the torque vectoring brakes. We do not have the exact figures for braking yet, but they are enough for what the car needs.

Fuel Economy

6.6/10
Model Mercedes SLC 300 Roadster Jaguar F-Type Roadster Porsche 718 Boxster Audi TT Roadster
MPG (city) 25 23 21 23
MPG (highway) 32 30 28 30
MPG (combined) 26 26 24 26

  The SLC 300 has a decent fuel economy of 26 mpg combined which equals the F-type roadster and the Audi TT, also giving a combined fuel efficiency of 26 mpg. The Porsche is just a little more thirsty but you sure do not care about fuel efficiency in an open top sports car, do you?

Interior

4.8/10

“The SLC’s cabin is virtually unchanged from that of the SLK, where it has appeared dated for some time.” - Caranddriver

Step inside the Mercedes and you would immediately know it’s an older Mercedes. For a model in the year 2018, Mercedes has really not given many updates to the interior. We really miss the enormous dual screens and flowing design language with minimal physical switches that we find in all newer Mercedes. The center console is cluttered with switches and only comes with a small 7-inch center display.

It’s not all that bad however as you still get supreme build quality and expensive materials. The center console can be had in either wood or metal trims. There is a panoramic folding glass roof with Magic Sky Control which alters the transparency of the glass to block out the sun. The optional Air Scarf which features vents in the headrest keeps you cozy even when the ambient temperature is not.

Seating and Comfort

Model Mercedes SLC 300 Roadster Jaguar F-Type Roadster Porsche 718 Boxster Audi TT Roadster
Passenger capacity 2 2 2 2
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 39.1/52.2/43.1 37.0/56.5/42.8 - 36.6/53.6/41.1

  The seats are comfortable enough to meet your expectations. They are well contoured to hold your body in place and they are ventilated to be cooled or heated. They come wrapped in leather, obviously. It’s perfect for those long drives in comfort with the top down. The Mercedes has the maximum legroom and headroom in comparison to the Jaguar and the Audi but the least shoulder room which is surprising considering it’s the widest car. There is still enough space for all you would need to keep you happy.  

Interior Features

  • Power sport seats with memory
  • Air conditioning with dust and pollen filter
  • 5 years of Mercedes-Benz Mbrace Connect Package
  • MB-Tex upholstery
  • 4-way power steering column
  • Heated power side mirrors with power fold-in
  • Integrated compass
  • Power windows with express open/close
  • Electric trunk partition
  • Illuminated entry system
  • HomeLink garage door opener
  • Brake HOLD feature

Infotainment System

The car comes with a 7-inch colored display that features Mercedes Benz Mbrace or the optional Comand system. The display screen is crisp with good resolution and is vivid even on sunny top-down days. It can be controlled via a rotary knob on the center console or steering mounted controls. The system is intuitive but the larger display and better interface in newer Mercedes are highly missed. It still gets most jobs done pretty well.

Cargo Capacity

Model Mercedes SLC 300 Roadster Jaguar F-Type Roadster Porsche 718 Boxster Audi TT Roadster
Cargo Volume (cu ft) 10.1 7.3 9.7 7.5

  The Mercedes has the best cargo capacity at 10.1 cu-ft. The Porsche falls behind by just a margin with 9.7 cu-ft of cargo space. The Audi and the Jaguar have considerably smaller boot space at 7.5 cu-ft and 7.3 cu-ft respectively.

Exterior

6.6/10

“To help the SLC300 better fit in stylistically with Mercedes-Benz’s latest models, the SLK’s blocky schnoz was replaced by a rounded nose with dual-element headlamps and arching LED brows.” - caranddriver

The SLC 300 has classic sports car proportions with a long bonnet and short rear overhangs. Fold the hard top down in just 20 seconds and you have a beautiful roadster with dual roll bars which make it appear rather cool. However, this is an old car and does not quite have the flare or flowing curves of modern Mercs.

Mercedes still has done quite a good job in giving this car a modern look with its LED headlamps and the chrome diamond block grille. The AMG body styling kit adds larger wheels and bolder bumpers to give the car a further aggressive look. Move to the rear and you would definitely know that this is a Mercedes of the last generation.

Exterior Dimensions

Model Mercedes SLC 300 Roadster Jaguar F-Type Roadster Porsche 718 Boxster Audi TT Roadster
Curb weight (lbs.) 3296 3405 2943 3373
Length(in) 162.8 176.5 172.4 164.7
Width(in) 79.0 75.7 70.9 72.1
Height(in) 51.3 51.3 50.9 53.2
Ground clearance (in) 4.4 4.0 4.3 4.5
Wheelbase (in) 95.7 103.2 97.4 98.6
Track width (in) F/R 62.2/61.8 62.9/64.9 59.6/60.3 61.9/61.1

  The Mercedes is the shortest in the length but the widest car in the comparison. It has the least wheelbase. It’s not a big car per se and that works in favor of the car giving it a nimble handling. You wouldn’t have a problem maneuvering the car in city or traffic. However, it’s quite heavy for the power it produces and the competition fares better in this regard except for the Audi TT.

Exterior Features

  • Retractable Hard Top
  • Panorama Roof
  • Side Mirror Logo Projectors
  • Dual Roll Bars
  • Chrome-tipped Diamond-Block Grille
  • 17-inch 10 spoke wheels
  • LED daytime running lamps and LED taillamps
  • Rear Wind Deflector

 

Safety

The SLC 300 has not been tested by either NHTSA or the IIHS to offer you their ratings but it comes with sufficient standard safety features to keep you protected. It comes with Active Brake Assist which alerts you of vehicles ahead or any other obstacle for that matter if it senses a likely collision, automatically providing you an appropriate level of braking to prevent the collision or reduce its impact. It also has dual roll bars and a rigid body structure using high-strength steel for reinforcements, magnesium for the hard top frame and aluminum for front fenders and hood.

Safety Features

  • Dual roll bars
  • NECK-PRO head restraints
  • child Seat Latches
  • Adaptive braking technology
  • Antilock Braking System (ABS)
  • Brake Assist (BAS®)
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
  • Advanced Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers

Competition

Mercedes SLC 300 Roadster vs Jaguar F-Type Roadster

The Jaguar F-type is considerably more expensive than the Mercedes SLC 300 but it is certain that it is a much more substantial car. It has 60 more ponies to pull it at speed with more torque as well and oh boy, it does look absolutely great! It handles better, performs better and is well appointed in terms of equipment and interior comfort. The Jaguar outruns the Mercedes in almost all aspects but the Mercedes is around $15K lesser and gives you the peace of mind of having a three-pointed star on your hood.  

Mercedes SLC 300 Roadster vs Porsche 718 Boxster

Quite frankly, the Boxster is the benchmark to beat when it comes to a sports convertibles and the Mercedes very clearly does not even come close. It handles like a breeze, has got more power and torque, looks contemporary and is only around $10k more expensive than the Merc which is a great deal considering all things more you get for $10K. You also get a true sports car with Porsche’s racing heritage. It has always been the king of this segment and still remains one. The Mercedes struggles to make a mark against this Porsche.

Mercedes SLC 300 Roadster vs Audi TT Roadster

The Audi is the only car the Mercedes could think of taking down but it fails again. The Audi is both low on power and torque but does not disappoint when it comes to performance. It certainly is more of a sports car that the Mercedes. Its interiors are more contemporary and Audi’s virtual cockpit simply makes the Mercedes belong to the last generation. The Audi looks sharper and handles sharper too. It is also quicker and yes, cheaper. That’s what seals the deal for the Audi – more sports car for lesser money.

Final Verdict

The 2018 Mercedes SLC 300 roadster introduced in 2017 is a successor to the SLK. No, only rebadged from the SLK to the SLC which necessarily means it is an old car. The age shows both in the interior and the exterior. It handles very well, the engine is decent but lacks that punch which you get from its rivals.

The SLC might be replaced soon with a fresh new car as the model is nearing the end of its lifecycle. The SLC 43 AMG, although considerably more expensive by around $14K is a far better deal than the SLC 300. It does not quite match the competition either. The SLC 300 is a good car but honestly, there isn’t much reason why you would want to buy this car over its competitors.

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