The clean, straightforward design of the New Slc 2019 is let down only by the turbo model’s excessive add-ons.
We rate cars based on their more popular editions. In the case of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class, the SLC300 posts up a score of 6 for performance, with a point above average for its dialed-in handling.Were we rating the AMG-tuned SLC43 instead, it’d be at least a couple points higher. (READ: 2019 Mercedes Gle Coupe Release Date Redesign and Concept)
The SLC300 adopts a drivetrain that spins off legitimate sports-car performance, but takes a half-step to gather itself. The powertrain pairs a 241-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-4 with a 9-speed automatic. So equipped, the SLC300 can hustle to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds.
The SLC feels quick off the line. Most drivers will find it responsive and strong, as long as the most challenging corners and roads only get driven in a sport driving mode. Push it hard, and its inside rear wheel will scramble for traction.
In Comfort mode, the SLC’s slight turbo lag and slightly drawn-out shifts compile into an impression than the turbo-4 just isn’t as perky as the former V-6 units in the old SLK350. Once the turbo’s spooled and the power shows up to work, it’s ample across a fat slice of the powerband, so there’s no need to rev it constantly.
SLC43, we choose thee
We’ll take the AMG SLC43, though. Buffed and polished from the drivetrain to the tires, it’s an altogether more satisfying car to drive, one that doesn’t feel squirrely or harsh like the old SLK AMG once did.
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The SLC43 gets a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6, uprated this year to 385 horsepower. Hooked to a tougher version of the same 9-speed automatic, it bursts to 60 mph in only 4.6 seconds. Acceleration is linear and sets on in a rush, and the V-6 rumble has more aural appeal than a 4-cylinder windup.
Both the SLC300 and SLC43 have driver-selectable power modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual. In addition to changing the throttle map and stability control, the system also tweaks steering boost.
Engage Sport+ mode on the SLC43, and roads that sent the old SLK55 skittering across pavement become conquerable and predictable. It’s the same with the SLC’s variable electric power steering appears on both models, but the SLC43 has somewhat better weighting and feel.
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With the Dynamic Handling package, the SLC43 drops its suspension lower, adds adaptive dampers and stiffer steering components, and takes on upgraded brakes and a limited-slip rear differential for a lot more control in tight esses. The adaptive dampers help soften coarse roads, but the ride on either can still get choppy; a short-wheelbase car on massive tires can’t do much better.