2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class Driving Impressions

The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine in the SLC300 feels plenty quick in a straight line, and it’s quite responsive and not peaky; although when you compare it to the V6 that was in last year’s SLK, it loses a lot. In Comfort mode there’s too much lag in the turbo and the 9-speed transmission. Fortunately there are peppier modes; the Dynamic Select system offers Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual, to tune throttle response, transmission response, steering boost, and electronic stability reaction.

The steering is great, but it’s very clear that the SLC300 doesn’t want to hang its tail out; try it, and the inside rear wheel will spin. Meanwhile the he short wheelbase doesn’t exactly enhance the ride. Adaptive damping helps, but your butt stays pretty busy on bumpy roads.

The Mercedes-AMG SLC43 is a different story, when you want it to be, but around town, it’s as tractable and easy to drive as the SLC300. However out on the open road, it’s way faster, with its twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 bringing 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. And it handles way better, with a balanced, responsive feel even when near the limits of grip. That’s made even better with the available Dynamic Handling package that lowers the suspension, stiffens the variable-ratio steering, and upgrades the brakes, while adding special engine mounts, rear suspension tweaks, and a limited-slip rear differential.

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