Launched: Mercedes-AMG SLC 43
In an effort to make its cars cleaner and greener, Mercedes has dutifully embraced the downsizing trend and the latest model to flaunt its green credentials is the SLC 43 AMG. Known as the SLK before, this little roadster isn't an all-new car, but makes do with a thorough facelift, a new letter in its name, and a new powerplant.
More on the last bit in a moment. Let's begin with the facelift-y bits. The first product to be introduced with a '43' nomenclature, the SLC gets a C-class resembling sleeker face, more safety and infotainment kit than the old SLK, and LED headlights - four of them. It employs the same 'vario-roof' folding hard-top as its predecessor, which can be raised or closed at speeds up to 40kph. Merc is keen to highlight the SLC's practicality quotient - 335 litres of bootspace, apparently the biggest in the segment.
Now to the heart of the matter. As AMG fans would know, the performance brand has devoted itself to turbocharging and the 5.5-litre naturally-aspirated V8 from the roadster is now a part of AMG's glorious history and can only be found in the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart, Germany. That means the new SLC 43 now breathes through a relatively tinier 3.0-litre, twin-turbo V6 that's good for 362bhp and a hefty 520Nm of torque, with all that power being sent to the rear wheels through a 9-speeder.
Yes, these figures are no match to the erstwhile SLK 55 AMG, but despite the downsized engine and lesser horses, the SLC 43 is no slouch. At 4.7 seconds, the SLC 43 is only 0.1 second slower in a dash to 100kph, while managing an electronically limited top speed of 250kph - same as before. And in doing so, Merc boasts the SLC 43 will be 'the most efficient six-cylinder performance roadster on the market'.
Internationally, the SLC can be had with a more sedate engine - a choice of three four-cylinder petrol engines, ranging in output from 154 to 241bhp, and also the SLC 250d, which sees Merc's venerable 2.1-litre turbodiesel churning out 201bhp. However, Mercedes-Benz isn't keen on getting these sedated versions to India, yet.
For this full-blown SLC 43 AMG, Mercedes is asking you to shell out Rs 77.5 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi, and one can opt for the Compact Service packages that start from Rs 84,000. With a smaller heart and a sub-80 lakh price tag throws the baby Mercedes roadster into direct competition with the upcoming four-cyl Porsche 718 Boxster. On paper, the SLC 43 does make more power than the Porsche, but can it better the 718 out in the real world? We'll know once we get our hands on the AMG roadster, shortly.