Mercedes-Benz SLK becomes the SLC

The SLC roadster will debut at the Detroit motor show this month

After 20 years of trying to convince us that the SLK roadster owed its lineage to pre-war racing cars, Mercedes-Benz is changing tack.

After nearly 700,000 SLK sales, it’s now switched the name of its smallest roadster to reflect the Mercedes-Benz model it actually owes most of its technology to – the C-Class.

Now named the SLC, the roadster, once known as the SLK, debuts at the Detroit motor show complete with a new model at the top of the standard line-up and a new entry model, too.

“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 Källenius, member of the board of management of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz cars sales and marketing.

“The renamed compact roadster remains an ideal combination of passion and rational common sense, appealing to both the heart and the mind.”

The SLC 43 has a bit of the old and the new about it, with the new SLC name and the “43” badge revived as well.

It once denoted a 4.3-litre V8 but Benz has long since strayed from the path of capacity truth in badging, so it now sits on the rump of an SLC with a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6. Obviously.

The SLC 43’s name gives a hint about its performance, though, because the two-number system has previously been exclusive to AMG.