Mercedes-Benz is officially killing its entry-level roadster, the SLC, and sending it off with a Final Edition. The base SLC300 will get a Selenite Gray theme based on the AMG Line trim, but it’s the AMG SLC43 and its Sun Yellow paint that has me remembering the launch of the original SLK—in a similar, paler hue called Yellowstone—way back in 1996.
At a time when the luxury roadster boom was in full swing, the SLK (R170 generation) arrived to take on the Porsche Boxster and BMW Z3. Later, the Audi TT would join the fray as well. The U.S. SLK230 arrived with a 2.3-liter supercharged four-cylinder engine good for 190 hp. That output was right on par with BMW’s 2.8-liter, 189-hp straight-six, and just a bit under the Boxster’s 201-hp flat-six. Compared to the Boxster and Z3, the SLK was cuter and decidedly less of an enthusiast’s sports car. All three cars reflected their respective brands, and the SLC wasn’t far off from being a baby SL. It did, however, have a standard power-folding hardtop that looked quite a bit more luxurious than any old canvas roof.
Later versions of the SLK would follow a similar luxury-over-sport formula, although six-cylinder power eventually entered the picture, and AMG even offered a meaty V-8 for the SLK55 with 355 hp. The current-generation SLK (R172) launched in 2011 and was renamed the SLC in 2016. The base SLC300 has a four-cylinder turbocharged engine good for 241 hp, while the AMG SLC43 has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 making 385 hp.
The SLC300 Final Edition gets AMG-style bumpers with chrome finish, black exterior trim, unique badging, and AMG five-spoke wheels. Inside there is contrasting black and silver Nappa leather, with standard Mercedes goodies like heated seats and an integrated “Airscarf” neck heater. The Final Edition, like other AMG-line SLCs, gets a 10-mm lower sport suspension and larger brakes than the standard car. Combined with that searing yellow paint, the AMG SLC43 has similar trappings, along with a beefier AMG Performance steering wheel.
With more than 710,000 units of Mercedes’ little roadster sold globally since 1996, the drop-top was well loved. We’ll miss the SLC, especially as BMW is introducing a new Z4 and the current 718 Boxster is better than ever.