Later this year, Mercedes-Benz will be replacing the SLK-Class with an updated version of the car called the SLC-Class, and while we spotted this new roadster testing in limited camouflage in April, our spy photographers have once again caught up with the hard-top roadster revealing a few more changes to the lineup. At first glance, it’s hard to spot any major changes between the two prototypes, but upon closer inspection, this car can be seen wearing bigger brakes, fatter tires and a more aggressive body styling.

With these minor changes that don’t seem to be wild enough for an AMG model, it looks like the SLC-Class will be getting one of the new AMG Sport models to give customers a little extra performance without having to step up to the full-bore AMG model, which is meaner and faster, but more expensive. As Mercedes tries to better align its growing lineup of models, this middle-ground roadster will most likely be called the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC450 AMG Sport, following the nomenclature of the recently introduced 2016 C450 AMG Sport.

The purpose of the AMG Sport models (which will likely be used on most Mercedes models) is to bridge the performance gap, and to avoid any confusion between the new AMG Sport models and the true AMG models. The latter will now wear Mercedes-AMG branding – like the 2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 – while the AMG Sport models will continue to carry the standard Mercedes-Benz name.

Continue reading for the full story.

  • 2017 Mercedes SLC 450 AMG Sport
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    362 (Est.)
  • 0-60 time:
    4 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    67500 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Spy Shots

June 5, 2015 - First testing session

2017 Mercedes SLC 450 AMG Sport High Resolution Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Mercedes SLC 450 AMG Sport High Resolution Exterior Spyshots
- image 632830
2017 Mercedes SLC 450 AMG Sport High Resolution Exterior Spyshots
- image 632834

Exterior

We still don’t even know the true extent of the changes Mercedes is making to the 2016 SLC-Class, but these new spy shots show a handful of styling tweaks. These include a front fascia with larger vents more associated with the AMG style, different headlights and taillights, larger and wider wheels and sporty side-sill extensions. This prototype also has slightly different exhaust tips, giving the hint of quad outlets like an AMG car, but it doesn’t appear that any major changes will take place at the rear of this SLC model.

Interior

2014 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Interior
- image 527271

Note: Regular Mercedes-Benz SLK interior shown.

While it won’t get the obscene power or menacing style of a true AMG offering, the interior of the SLC450 AMG Sport should at least look and feel the part. As exhibited by the C450 AMG Sport, the SLC version will likely get sport bucket seats, the upgraded steering wheel and instrument gauges, and a distinctive look to the leather and trim throughout the cabin. None of our spy shots have revealed the new SLC’s interior, but the roadster is also expected to get some of the familiar mid-cycle upgrades from Mercedes, including a restyled instrument panel with the latest cabin tech.

Drivetrain

2016 Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG 4MATIC Drivetrain
- image 610219

Note: AMG-tuned Mercedes-Benz 3.0 V-6 engine shown.

Although it’s hard to say what powertrain changes are being made to the 2016 SLC-Class, the SLC AMG Sport will most likely follow in the footsteps of the C-Class not only with the SLC450 AMG Sport name but also that sedan’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6. As it stands now, the C450 AMG Sport produces 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque, and if this engine were to be used on the SLC450 AMG Sport, it would almost perfectly split the difference between the existing 302-horsepower 2015 SLK350 and the 415-horsepower 2015 SLK55.

Prices

Like its power output, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC450 AMG Sport will rest in the middle ground of pricing in the lineup, too. Looking at the current SLK lineup, an AMG Sport version would be priced somewhere between the $57,650 SLK350 and the $70,900 SLK55 AMG, so look for a starting price of around $65,000.

Competition

BMW Z4 sDrive35is

2014 BMW Z4 High Resolution Exterior
- image 486938

If the SLC450 AMG Sport does get the 362-horsepower engine, it will be considerably more than the 335-horsepower output of its closest rival, the BMW Z4 sDrive35is. Even with the horsepower deficiency, the fastest Z4 is still surprisingly competitive with the current SLK. The 2015 Z4 sDrive35is starts at $65,800 (most likely very close to where the SLC450 AMG Sport will start), but its 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds is just 0.3 seconds slower than that of the more powerful SLK55 AMG, which boasts 80 more horsepower.

Read our full review of the 2015 BMW Z4 here.

2016 Audi TT S

2016 Audi TT Roadster High Resolution Exterior
- image 614932

The 2016 Audi TT Roadster is another fun-to-drive drop-top that the SLC will be compared against, although Audi has yet to confirm that the TTS will be offered as a roadster in the U.S. In coupe form, though, the 2016 Audi TTS has 292 horsepower at its disposal, and has a starting price of just $51,900. More importantly, the Audi might be down in horsepower compared to the BMW and the expected output of the SLC450 AMG Sport, but it doesn’t give up anything in acceleration, with Audi claiming a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds. With these kinds of numbers already, Mercedes and Audi better watch out for the 2017 Audi TT RS, which could easily boost output closer to 400 horsepower.

Read our full review of the 2016 Audi TT Roadster here.

Conclusion

Following the usual Mercedes-Benz custom, the 2017 SLC450 AMG Sport should launch about a year after the standard SLC-Class models debut later this year, and possibly even around the time of the updated Mercedes-AMG SLC55. Until Mercedes releases official information for the 2016 SLC-Class, all of this is just an educated guess at this point, but a guess that seems like an incredibly fun car at a great price.

  • Leave it
    • No V-8
    • Styling changes might be too subtle
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