Driving through the centre of Nice in Comfort mode, the SLC43 behaves similar to any of it lesser siblings as it is refined, comfortable and quiet. Does it deserve the revered Affalterbach nomenclature then? The SLC43 is powered by a 3,0-litre biturbo V6 delivering 270 kW and 520 N.m and is the new entry point to the AMG roadster line-up. Mercedes is adamant that it is still a proper AMG though. A long tunnel leading to the mountainous region was a good time to put this statement to the test as I selected the Sport+ function through the DYNAMIC SELECT button…
The transformation is intense. Immediately the steering becomes weightier in my hands and the (optional) adaptive suspension firms up the ride. The last action is to floor the loud pedal and have the rorty exhaust note vibrate off the tunnel’s walls. Quick gearshifts courtesy of the new nine-speed transmission initiated through the paddles behind the steering wheel get accentuated by the naughty AMG pops and cracks we all love. So there is no problem with the vocal range of this new AMG then but does it go?
And the handling?
A climb to the top of the mountain provided short straights and tight switchbacks to put the SLC43 through its paces. Acceleration is impressive and rival that of the now defunct SLK55 AMG. Climb hard on the fade-free brakes, turn in and jump on the accelerator. Sport handling mode, in combination with the (optional) limited slip differential, allow the driver to steer the vehicle from the rear while the electronic safety net prevents rearrangement of the beautiful countryside when the driver becomes over-zealous. Fun indeed.
What is in a name?
The SLC model update of the previous SLK includes a few cosmetic enhancements like the new front and rear aprons, diamond grill and new 18-inch AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels painted in high-gloss black. The changes are not as dramatic as the styling changes found elsewhere in the Mercedes line-up (remember the previous SLK was already five years old) but the new vehicle still portrays an air of stylish sportiness.
Should you consider it?
Is the SLC43 a worthy AMG member then? Certainly, albeit an R1m price tag can hardly be seen as entry level in monetary terms. It might not quite have the cutting edge dynamic ability of some of its rivals but it manages to entertain and delight on several levels. Driving the SLC300 later in the day showed just how far the AMG engineers pushed the abilities of the SLC43. For now it is the pinnacle of the range before other, more powerful models, joins the fray.