The 2020 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class will be the last small sports car to wear the badge, at least for the near future. Mercedes says it will discontinue the SLC-CLass after this year, with no replacement in sight.
Though much older than contemporaries such as the Porsche 718 and BMW Z4, the SLC isn’t without its charms, including its clever folding top and its ample power. We give it 5.6 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
For 2020, both the SLC 300 and hotter SLC 43 AMG add a Final Edition, which includes gray paint on the SLC 300 and bright yellow on the SLC 43. Both also get special styling details and badging to commemorate 24 years on the market.
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The SLC has been tweaked several times over the years and redesigned twice, resulting in a cabriolet with current Mercedes styling cues on what is clearly an older body. It still works: It sports forward-leaning proportions and just the right amount of attention to detail inside and out, though the interior has aged in the new era of touchscreens.
In SLC 300 form, a turbo-4 generates 241 horsepower for a 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds via rear-wheel drive and a 9-speed automatic transmission. We’d have the hotter SLC 43 from AMG, however, with its twin-turbo V-6 and 385 horsepower and improved driving dynamics. The SLC isn’t as engaging to drive as its direct competitors, though we’ve got no complaints from a ride comfort standpoint.
Fit for just two passengers, the 2020 SLC is snug in terms of leg and shoulder room, and trunk space is lacking, even for a small sports car. The quick action of the top does help make up for some of these shortcomings, as does the joy of open-roof motoring.
No crash test data exists for the SLC, and fuel economy ranges from 23 mpg to 27 mpg combined depending on the model you choose, but with trademark Mercedes convertible features like the “Airscarf” neck warmer system and a power hardtop with available active polarized glass roof, it’s hard to go wrong. If you’re one of the very few buyers who still covets a new SLC, this is your last chance.