Mercedes-Benz to unveil refreshed roadster in Detroit

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Mercedes-Benz will unveil a refreshed version of its SLK roadster with a new name at the 2016 North American International Auto Show next month in Detroit.

The German automaker on Tuesday released photos of the car. The two-seater will be re-badged the SLC, a resurrected nameplate for Mercedes-Benz from the 1970s.

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC will be available in two versions when it goes on sale in the spring of 2016: a standard SLC300 and high-performance Mercedes-AMG SLC43. Pricing was not announced.

The roadster will make its global debut alongside the world premiere of the new E-Class sedan and the auto show debut of the Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet, according to the company.

The name change to SLC, according to Mercedes-Benz, is to acknowledge “the traditionally close relationship with the C-Class, from which much of the roadster’s technology is derived.”

“In 1996 Mercedes-Benz redefined the roadster with its innovative vario-roof, and combined open-air driving pleasure with uncompromised comfort in poor weather,” said Ola Kallenius, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz. “The renamed compact roadster remains an ideal combination of passion and common sense, appealing to both the heart and the mind.”

The SLC300 will be powered by two-liter turbo, inline four-cylinder engine with 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The performance model will feature an AMG three-liter, V-6 bi-turbo engine rated at 362-horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Other notable changes include new aluminum trim parts with carbon fiber finish, redesigned instrument cluster and new-generation sport steering wheel.

The vehicle, as many sports cars do now, has a “dynamic select” system that allows drivers to select different driving modes based on road conditions and handling preferences. The system modifies the engine, transmission, steering and suspension at the driver’s behest.

Mercedes-Benz sold roughly 670,000 SLK models since entering the market 20 years ago. The company said the new model “has what it takes to build on that success.”

The three luxury vehicles from Mercedes-Benz are expected to be among the more than 40 vehicles to debut at the Detroit auto show in January. The show is open to the public Jan. 16-24.

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