Cars - Mercedes Benz

Road tests and reviews of the latest Mercedes Benz models available in South Africa

2016 Mercedes-AMG SLC 43

2016 Mercedes-AMG SLC 43

By Franky Johnson

There need be no contradiction between high driving dynamics and low fuel consumption. This is proved by the new Mercedes-AMG SLC 43: thanks to the combination of 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine and 9G-TRONIC sports transmission, the 270 kW roadster consumes just 7.8 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres (NEDC, combined). Consequently, the open-top two-seater not only uses 0.6 l/100 km less than its predecessor, the SLK 55 with V8 naturally aspirated engine, but is also the most efficient six-cylinder performance roadster on the market. The specially developed suspension and model-specific mountings for engine and rear-axle gear unit are designed for high lateral acceleration and low roll. Further enhanced driving dynamics are optionally available with the AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension with adaptive adjustable damping and the Handling package with mechanical limited-slip differential on the rear axle.

Compact, powerful and economical: "The new Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 unites the classic virtues of a roadster with exemplary efficiency. Weighing less and with lower fuel consumption, the new SLC 43 delivers a similar performance to the SLK 55 on the race track. This vehicle provides typical AMG driving pleasure in a compact open-top two-seater in line with the needs of today's market", says Mercedes-AMG chairman Tobias Moers.

With its maximum power of 270 kW and peak torque of 520 newton metres, the 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine can deliver impressive performance: sprinting from rest to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, its top speed is electronically limited at 250 km/h. The key factors behind the snappy, agile roadster driving experience are the newly developed front and rear axles, new engine/rear-axle gear unit mountings, stiff elastokinematics and highly precise steering.

Even greater transverse dynamics are made possible by the optional Handling package with mechanical limited-slip differential on the rear axle.

The new SLC 43 represents the entry point into the current roadster world of AMG. As well as being renamed from SLK to SLC, the open two-seater will feature the new AMG nomenclature. The established AMG convention of a two-digit number underscores the SLC's clear affiliation to the AMG portfolio. In combination with its overall "engineered in Affalterbach" package of typical AMG driving dynamics, engine response and high efficiency, the SLC 43 is thus very competitively positioned in the segment. The 43 here stands for the 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine that has been further developed by the AMG engineers. The Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 is therefore the first V6 model from Affalterbach to feature the new nomenclature. This will gradually be introduced across the future AMG model range.

The new SLC models from Mercedes-Benz come exclusively with a four-cylinder powerplant. The six-cylinder engine is reserved for the SLC 43 from Mercedes-AMG: the 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine is characterised by a high power output together with low consumption and emissions. Installed close to the engine, the two turbochargers are especially spontaneous in their response. The high power output of 270 kW is attributable to, among other things, the 1.1 bar charge-air pressure. Especially tough and therefore wear-resistant, the NANOSLIDE® coating on the cylinder liners also reduces friction, thereby contributing to higher efficiency. The same applies to the spray-guided multiple injection with up to 200 bar fuel pressure. The AMG powerplant can be identified by the red aluminium insert in the engine cover.

The 9G-TRONIC transmission is specially matched to the demands of the SLC 43. By specifically adapting the software, the AMG developers have been able to shorten the shift times significantly. The multiple downshift allows even faster short bursts of speed, while the double-declutching function in the "Sport" and "Sport+" transmission modes makes for an even more emotive driving experience. In "Sport+" mode, partial ignition interruptions provide even faster gearshifts.

The standard-fit shift paddles allow lightning-fast manual shifting of the automatic transmission without the driver needing to take their hands off the steering wheel. Shifting in "Manual" mode, which is activated using a separate button next to the selector lever, is twice as fast as in the other transmission modes. Moreover, the transmission stays in the selected gear and does not automatically shift up when the engine speed reaches the limit.

With the standard sports suspension, the Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 offers a suspension designed for high lateral acceleration and reduced roll. Common to the sports suspension is the specially developed front and rear axles, which guarantee precise wheel location and high camber stability on compression and rebound.

The three-link front axle has been provided with stiffer steering knuckles, improved elastokinematics and increased negative camber. In combination with the likewise newly developed wishbone guide bearings, this design results in significantly more agile cornering, more precise and direct suspension feedback from the road and fast cornering speeds.

The four-link rear axle with optimised elastokinematics, increased negative camber and special forged-aluminium track rods not only improves the driving dynamics, but also makes the SLC 43 more controllable when driven at the limit.

The special AMG mountings for engine and rear-axle gear unit offer the ideal compromise between handling and comfort. They also contribute to the snappy and highly stable driving impression given by the roadster.

The AMG high-performance braking system is characterised by excellent deceleration, high fade resistance and precise brake control. Large-sized, internally ventilated and perforated brake discs are capable of absorbing plenty of braking energy and quickly dissipating the arising heat. Lightweight aluminium brake callipers reduce the unsprung mass, resulting in improved handling and comfort.

With the five DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes "Eco", "Comfort", "Sport", "Sport+" and "Individual", the driver can change the characteristics of the SLC 43 at the tap of a finger. The available range extends from efficient and comfortable to extremely sporty. This modifies key parameters, such as the response of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering. The modes are selected using a button in the centre console control panel.

With its permanent, direct transmission ratio of 15.5 : 1, the speed-sensitive sports steering supports the new SLC 43's agile cornering while additionally impressing with its precise, highly authentic feedback. The steering power assistance is variable with two modes (Comfort and Sport). It is automatically activated depending on the selected DYNAMIC SELECT transmission mode or can be personalised in "Individual" mode.

The new SLC 43 also meets the personal wishes of the driver when it comes to acoustics: the standard-fit sports exhaust system comes with two automatically map-controlled exhaust flaps. In the "Eco" and "Comfort" transmission modes, the flaps remain closed most of the time, this resulting in an acoustically restrained note from the six-cylinder biturbo engine. In the "Sport" and "Sport+" modes, the exhaust flaps open earlier and more spontaneously, especially if the driver prefers a dynamic driving style. The effect: the typical, emotively appealing AMG engine sound. The statutory noise prevention limits are met in all transmission modes.

Numerous design features immediately identify the new SLC 43 as a member of the Mercedes-AMG family. With an emphasis on width, the front view is dominated by the air deflector in brand-typical "A-wing" form, which is in high-gloss black. The large outer air intakes come with silver chrome fins and are edged by black flics. Down below, the silver chrome front splitter ensures an optimal flow of air to the cooling modules. It also makes the roadster appear to hug the road more closely. The diamond radiator grille features chrome-plated pins and a louvre in high-gloss black.

The side view is dominated by high-sheen 18-inch AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels painted in high-gloss black. The exterior mirror housings in high-gloss black act as additional distinguishing features. The front wings come with a silver chrome fin as well as "Biturbo" lettering. With its AMG spoiler lip, the rear end also boasts characteristic highlights with two chrome-plated tailpipe trim elements featuring a four-pipe look to convey an especially sporty note. The diffuser-look rear apron trim is in silver chrome.

The unique selling points of the car within its competitive field include a diversity of available roof variants. In addition to the standard vario-roof, there is a choice between the panoramic vario-roof with a large glass element and the panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL selectable brightness control.

The interior reinforces the consistently dynamic bias of the new SLC 43 with numerous specially designed details. Ideal for a committed driving style, the multifunction sports steering wheel in black nappa leather features a flattened bottom section and red contrasting topstitching, with the perforated grip area lying especially well in the hand.

The contoured sports seats give the driver ideal lateral support, including when a dynamic driving style is adopted. The upholstery in sun-reflecting nappa leather/DINAMICA microfibre with model-specific seat layout, red piping and topstitching meets the highest standards in terms of material quality, look and feel. The perforations in the shoulder area and on the seat cushions stop the driver working up a sweat. The seat design is complemented by the door centre panels in ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre. In the optionally available Exclusive nappa leather version, the instrument panel, beltlines and door centre panels are covered in high-grade leather.

The AMG instrument cluster delivers all relevant information in a clearly arranged layout optimised for a dynamic driving style. An authentic sports car look and feel is provided by two tube-shaped round dials, 11.4 cm (4.5-inch) multifunction TFT colour display, RACE TIMER and 280 km/h scale in "Chequered Flag" design.

Suitability for everyday use is additionally enhanced by intelligent comfort functions such as optional AIRSCARF neck-level heating, operation of the vario-roof while driving (up to 40 km/h, initiated below 5 km/h) and automatic closing of the boot separator.

The new SLC 43 offers even further scope for individualisation with a selected range of further options, such as the Handling package, which comes with features designed to support an ambitious driving style on the racing circuit.

They also include the mechanical rear-axle limited-slip differential and an additional engine radiator at the front.

The vehicle's proximity to motorsport is visually underscored by red-painted brake callipers, a Performance steering wheel in nappa leather with DINAMICA microfibre in the grip area and red topstitching, and an analogue clock in IWC design.

Other options include the LED Intelligent Light System with brand-typical 'eyebrows', several 18-inch wheel/tyre combinations, exclusive designo paint finishes, various leather upholstery options, the COMAND Online infotainment and communications system and the Harman Kardon® Logic 7® Surround Sound system, as well as ambience lighting in solar red, polar blue or polar white.'

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