The rear exterior of a red Mercedes-Benz SLC

Mercedes-Benz SLC review

Fun and fast, the Mercedes SLC is a two seater sports car with reasonable running costs. It has a metal folding roof that doesn't take up seat space and feels more comfortable than most convertibles.

Pros

  • Premium and sporty design
  • Folding metal roof is well insulated and secure
  • The diesel option is extremely efficient

Cons

  • Dated interior when compared with rivals
  • It can be impractical
  • Running costs can be high

Summary

“Convertible fun that’s great to drive any time of the year.”

The SLC is a small convertible with a practical folding roof, so you can make the most of summer but also be comfortable driving it during the winter.

There’s a premium feel to the interior with high-quality materials, a decent driving position and comfortable space for the driver and passenger.  

The SLC features a choice of two petrol engines, one popular diesel engine or the SLC 43 AMG which is the most powerful version. There’s something for everyone, from economical fun to high performance.

The side exterior of a red Mercedes-Benz SLC

What's the interior like?

“Great quality and design with comfortable and sporty seats.”

Inside, everything is well laid out with a comprehensive range of buttons for infotainment and climate control, as well as remote switches on the steering wheel.

The seven-inch infotainment screen is small and sits between the turbine-style air vents. It’s accessed through a dial in the console which is close to hand so you don’t have to reach out to use the touchscreen. The instrumentation is clear and placed inside a small cluster to give you better visibility. Sat nav was an option on all SLCs so it’s worth looking for one that had it fitted when new.

The seats are comfortable and sporty, especially in the popular AMG-Line versions which were given sports seats as well as a smart body kit. In terms of trim choices, the AMG or Sport model is a good choice. The interior of the SLC looks a bit dated though. 

There’s a reasonable amount of storage for a two-door convertible, while boot space is good at 335 litres and can hold two weekend bags. However, you’ll lose a big portion of that space when the roof is stowed and accessing anything in the boot is tricky if the roof is already in there.

The interior of a Mercedes-Benz SLC with steering wheel and dashboard in shot

What's it like to drive?

“Safe and dependable but good fun to drive.”

The SLC promises a good, solid drive that’s also quite fun. On the automatic models, there are solid paddles on the steering wheel which are great as you can change gear without letting go of the wheel.

The popular 250d diesel offers a decent 0-62 mph time of 6.6 seconds and delivers up to 70 mpg. The petrol models are smoother and the 200 can return up to 42 mpg. 

On all models equipped with the 9G-Tronic auto transmission (optional on the SLC 180 and 200), there’s a system that allows you to alter the gearbox performance, steering feel and suspension damping. That means you can select a more comfortable setting for everyday driving and then change it to give you better performance.

The front exterior of a blue Mercedes-Benz SLC

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“Great value used but watch out for high running costs.”

Like many premium models, the SLC suffers significant depreciation from new, so you can pick up a three-year old used car for around half the price it was when new.

All the engines are efficient and you can expect fuel consumption figures in the 30s and 40s depending on the model, with the diesel more likely to be in the 50s.

Most SLC models sit in higher insurance groups than rivals. Cars that were more than £40,000 new and registered since April 2017 will be subject to the luxury car road tax surcharge of £310. Servicing and maintenance are similar to rivals but expect higher parts prices.

The front exterior of a blue Mercedes-Benz SLC

How reliable and safe is it?

“Likely to give you miles of reliable, fun driving.”

Reliability for the SLC is generally good, but Mercedes models do tend to suffer from minor electrical issues.  

Euro NCAP hasn’t tested the SLC but it does come well equipped on the safety front, particularly in terms of electronic systems such as pre-collision detection and autonomous emergency braking.

Engine shot of the Mercedes-Benz SLC

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy - 250d Sport

Best for family - N/A

Best for fun - 43 AMG 

The SLC 200 is a good choice for its blend of fuel economy and decent power. It’s an easy roadster to live with every day and won’t stretch the budget. 

If you’re cost-conscious, then take a look at the popular SLC 250d. It’s extremely economical and still has the fun factor.

The SLC 43 AMG is great fun due to its performance, but it’s expensive to buy and run.

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