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MSRP: $48,400 - 61,350




Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 8.3
Interior: 8.1
Safety: N/A
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2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class Review

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC is a roadster that finishes in the bottom third of our luxury sports car rankings. It performs well and has a high-quality interior, but it still isn't up to the level of many of its class rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Good gas mileage
  • Agile handling
  • Well-built interior
  • Cramped cabin

Is the Mercedes-Benz SLC a Good Car?

Yes, the Mercedes-Benz SLC is a good car. Though it's in the luxury sports car class, the SLC doesn't live up to the performance of many of its classmates. Instead, this Mercedes aims to be a luxury roadster that has enough under the hood to allow for some spirited driving, which is a goal it accomplishes. It handles extremely well and delivers a smooth ride. The interior brims with premium materials, and there are lots of available features.

Should I Buy the Mercedes-Benz SLC?

Your choice depends on what you're looking for in your sports car. If you want the absolute best performance, then there are many other cars in the class that might suit you better. But if you just want an upscale car with a little wiggle to it, the SLC certainly fits the bill. On top of that, it has one of the lowest starting prices in the class. Still, it's always a good idea to shop around. If you like the SLC, you should also check out the Mercedes-Benz SL and the Porsche Boxster.

Compare the SLC, SL, and Boxster »

Should I Buy a New or Used Mercedes-Benz SLC?

Since the SLC just debuted in Mercedes' lineup for the 2017 model year, there may not be a lot of used models to choose from. That said, it's still worth your time to look for a used model (or an unsold 2017 model that may still be on a new-car dealer's lot) because there aren't any notable changes for 2018. This means the 2017 SLC is essentially the same car as the 2018 model, but you'll pay less for it. This review uses research and data from 2017 and 2018.

The SLC is the successor to the Mercedes-Benz SLK, which was produced through the 2016 model year. While the SLC sports updated styling and some different engines, you can potentially save thousands of dollars on a very similar vehicle by considering a late-model SLK as well.

Compare the 2017 and 2018 SLC »

We Did the Research for You: 35 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Mercedes-Benz SLC Cost?

Compared to the rest of the class, the Mercedes SLC is extremely affordable. Its base price of $48,400 is considerably lower than almost every competitors' starting price. Even the AMG model, which starts at $61,350, costs less than the base model of many other luxury sports cars.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

Mercedes-Benz SLC Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz SLC or Mercedes-Benz SL?

The Mercedes-Benz SL is also a two-seat roadster, but it is bigger and costs nearly twice as much as the SLC. The SL's base engine is the SLC's top engine, and the SL offers several more powerful options as well. The SL is also much quicker. Both vehicles are geared more toward a comfortable ride than dynamic handling, though both are fairly agile. Unlike the SLC, the SL has a spacious cabin. The SL's seats are extremely comfortable, and its cabin is one of the nicest in the class. The SL also has more standard features and more cargo space. The SLC clearly doesn't measure up to its fellow Mercedes, but considering a fully loaded SLC costs less than the base SL, the SLC still might be the better buying choice for some people.

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz SLC or Porsche Boxster?

The Porsche 718 Boxster is one of our highest-ranking luxury sports cars – and one of the most athletic cars in this uber-athletic class. Though its engines aren't stronger than the SLC's, the Boxster's zero to 60 mph time is faster. The Boxster also handles extremely well and has sharp steering and strong brakes. Its interior features high-end materials, and both the driver and passenger will have ample seating room.

The SLC has more active safety features, but the Boxster features an intuitive infotainment system. It also has two trunks (one in the front and one in the back) due to its midengine design. Yet, it still has less total cargo space than the SLC. The Boxster and SLC are both quality roadsters, but the Boxster delivers much better performance, an arguably nicer interior, and top-notch reliability. For these reasons, it is the better option. The Boxster's convertible roof is a soft top, unlike the power-retractable hardtop SLC. If you like the Porsche but would prefer to have some metal over your head, check out the Porsche 718 Cayman, which is essentially a fixed-roof version of the Boxster.

Compare the SLC, SL, and Boxster »

SLC Interior

How Many People Does the SLC Seat?

This Mercedes convertible seats two people. The seats are extremely comfortable, and the upholstery provides the feel you’d expect when you climb into a luxury car. Still, the cabin feels like a tight squeeze overall.

SLC and Car Seats

As is the case with all two-seaters, the SLC does not have any LATCH child-seat connectors.

SLC Interior Quality

This roadster's functional cabin design and high-quality materials won’t let you down. However, most competitors feature more modern interior styling.

SLC Cargo Space

As you might expect, this roadster isn't a great cargo hauler. Still, it's not completely worthless. With the top up, the SLC has about 10 cubic feet of space, enough room for seven or eight shopping bags. Put the top down, and trunk space drops to just over 6 cubic feet, leaving only enough room for about four or five grocery bags.

SLC Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the SLC include a retractable hardtop with a panoramic glass roof, Bluetooth audio streaming, two USB ports, and a 7-inch display screen. Available features include an 11-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot, and the COMAND navigation system with a 7-inch screen. For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

In some rivals, features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and an infotainment system are standard. Still, the SLC’s abundance of available features nicely complement what comes standard, and the audio and climate controls are easy to use.

Read more about interior »

SLC Performance

SLC Engine: Two Models, Two Engines

The SLC300 features a 241-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while the AMG SLC43 features a 362-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6. The 300's engine won't hold you back, but it also doesn’t have the power that some people want from a sports car. The AMG model has that covered; it'll throw you back in your seat when you punch the gas.

SLC Gas Mileage: Smaller Engine Equals Better Mileage

The SLC's base engine is a turbo-four, while many rivals feature V6 or V8 powertrains. As a result, the SLC is one of the class leaders in fuel economy. The SLC300 earns 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Compared to rivals like the Porsche Boxster and Mercedes-Benz SL with their base engines, driving the SLC will save you about $150 and $350 per year, respectively.

SLC Ride and Handling: Both Good

The SLC has a somewhat firm suspension, allowing you to take corners at speed without much body roll. The sharp steering and sturdy brakes help inspire confidence, and the SLC delivers a generally smooth ride.

Read more about performance »

SLC Reliability

Is the Mercedes-Benz SLC Reliable?

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC has a predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power, which is slightly above average.

Mercedes-Benz SLC Warranty

Mercedes-Benz backs the SLC with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty.

Read more about reliability »

SLC Safety

SLC Crash Test Results

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC hasn't yet been put through crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

SLC Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, driver drowsiness monitoring, and active brake assist, which automatically helps you apply the ideal amount of braking pressure during a panic stop. Available features include blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, Pre-Safe, and park assist with front and rear parking sensors.

Read more about safety »

Which Mercedes-Benz SLC Model Is Right for Me?

There are only two choices when choosing an SLC. The base model – the SLC300 – has a less powerful engine, which means it's also less fun to drive in the eyes of some buyers. Beyond the engine, there's not much to separate the SLC300 from the AMG SLC43. The AMG model has more standard features, but when fully loaded, both models are similarly equipped. The question you have to answer, then, is whether the larger engine (and its extra 121 horsepower) is worth the added cost.

Mercedes-Benz SLC300 Roadster

The SLC300 has a starting price of $48,400 and includes a retractable hardtop with a panoramic glass roof, mbrace Connect, Bluetooth audio streaming, two USB ports, HD Radio, and a 7-inch display screen.

There are plenty of option packages to choose from as well. They vary in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, and they include features like heated seats, the Airscarf system, a Harman Kardon audio system, and advanced driver assistance features like blind spot monitoring and lane keep assist.

Mercedes-AMG SLC43 Roadster

The AMG SLC43 starts at $61,350. In addition to a more powerful engine, the SLC43 comes with heated seats, Nappa leather upholstery, a Harman Kardon audio system, and satellite radio. The SLC43 also offers several option packages, with many of the same optional features in both models.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

See 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC is a luxury sports car that prioritizes luxury over sportiness, though it hits on both reasonably well. Its low spot in our class rankings is mostly a product of exactly how great many of the cars in this class are. The SLC is worth a look for many shoppers, but it may not be the best choice when it comes time to buy.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "When the Mercedes-Benz SLK first hit the market in 1997, it featured a sporty exterior that was at odds with its more luxury-oriented character. The SLK has become the SLC, and it provides a much better balance between handling and comfort while continuing to offer the versatile hardtop convertible configuration that made the original a hit." -- Left Lane News
  • "The 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class hardtop convertible builds upon the success of the previous SLK with two new engines and refreshed exterior styling. If you're looking for a fun luxury roadster with plenty of power, you might very well find it in the Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Our generously optioned test car felt tidily finished and well-constructed, though a back-to-back drive with the new six-figure S-Class cabriolet drew inevitable focus towards some of the SLC's weak spots, like its curiously hinged, palm-sized cover for the power top switches. While lacking the sense of occasion found in the new Audi TT convertible's cabin, the SLC nonetheless stands up to competitors like the BMW Z4 Roadster and Porsche Boxster, offering a snug, maturely appointed spot from which to take in the elements." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)

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