Mercedes-Benz at the 2016 NAIAS By: Mercedes-Benz
The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The most intelligent luxury sedan
Mercedes-Benz is taking a big step into the future with the new E-Class. The tenth-generation of the E-Class sedan delivers stylish highlights with its distinct, emotional design and high-grade interior. The new E-Class also marks the world premiere of numerous technical innovations, enabling enhanced comfort, a new level of safe driving, a new dimension in driver assistance and a new infotainment and control system. A new, optionally available AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension ensures outstanding ride comfort and driving dynamics. The sum total of these innovations makes the E-Class the most intelligent sedan.
'The E-Class is the core of the Mercedes-Benz brand and in the past has repeatedly redefined the standards in the business-class segment. Now it carries this tradition into the future with a wealth of top-class innovations. The new E-Class takes another major step towards fully autonomous driving. In addition, it enhances efficiency, safety and comfort, reduces the stress level when driving and intensifies driving pleasure,' says Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
Powerful, coupe-esque design
The new E-Class is sophisticated, confidently stylish and sporty. Compared with its predecessor, its wheelbase has grown by 2.6 inches (115.7 inches vs. 113.1 inches) and its overall length by 1.7 inches (193.8 inches vs. 192.1 inches). Its design features hallmark Mercedes-Benz sedan proportions. The elongated hood coupled with a coupe-esque roof flowing into a sensual, broad-shouldered tail end creates an exciting silhouette. The powerfully extended vehicle body is characterized by short overhangs, a long wheelbase, large wheels and taut, well-defined flanks displaying a fresh, stylish and dynamic interpretation of the feature line, all of which allows the E-Class to deliver the perfect take on the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of 'Sensual Purity.'
A muscular front end underlines the status to which the business-class sedan aspires, boasting a different look for each design and equipment line. The Luxury version features the classic Mercedes radiator grill with the star on the hood, while the Sport models are identifiable by the sport radiator grill with a large Mercedes star as its centerpiece. Each of the radiator grill designs lends the E-Class a distinct character, offering a unique degree of diversity that makes each model stand out.
At the rear end, broad shoulders above the rear wheel arches lend the E-Class its unmistakably muscular character. Single-piece tail lights featuring a two-bar design framed by the vehicle body clearly identify the E-Class as a new member of the Mercedes sedan family. Rear lights provide additional levels of detail with an appearance designers refer to as the 'stardust effect.' Making its debut on the new E-Class, this available 'stardust effect' is created by innovative reflector technology with a specially configured surface structure for the tail lights.
Next Level Interior Design
The interior of the new E-Class embodies the synthesis of emotion and intelligence, poles that are defined by the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy – distinct forms with a sensual flow to them. The U.S. version of the E300 offers a next-generation high-resolution display, with a wide navigation display screen diagonal of 12.3 inches – a first in this segment, and a traditional gauge cluster behind the steering wheel, all integrated into one casing. Beneath its integrated glass frame, the display visually conflates into a wide-screen cockpit that seems to be hovering in thin air, creating a central element that emphasizes the horizontal orientation of the interior design.
Touch-sensitive control buttons ('Touch Controls') on the steering wheel make their first appearance in a car. Like a smartphone interface, the Touch Controls respond precisely to horizontal and vertical swiping movements, allowing the driver to control the entire infotainment system without having to take their hands off the steering wheel. In keeping with the motto 'hands on the wheel, eyes on the road,' this new control interface minimizes driver distraction.
Further controls for the infotainment system are provided by a touchpad with a controller which can recognize handwriting in the center console and a voice control system, accessible at the push of a button. For systems such as air-conditioning or various driver assistance systems, there are direct-access buttons located on the center stack.
A new, intelligent graphic design with high-resolution animations, together with simplified logic, further enhances this all-new infotainment experience. At the same time, the occupants enjoy a spacious interior, which combines the elegance of the luxury class with sportiness.
Intelligent material design
High-quality materials define the E-Class' interior style, including Natural Grain Ash wood, and wood with 'flowing lines.' Another Mercedes hallmark clearly evidenced is the high-quality look and feel created through meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship.
Interior materials and colors have been carefully selected, highlighted by various shades of brown, including several attractive, new color combinations which allow for an even more personalized interior design.
Lighting atmosphere with 64 colors
Interior lighting makes exclusive use of durable, energy-saving LED technology, even throughout the enhanced ambient lighting system. With 64 colors to choose from, the ambient lighting system offers a host of possibilities for personalization, adding touches of light to various trim parts, central display, storage on the center console, handle recesses, door pockets, front and rear footwells, overhead console, and tweeters (if the vehicle is equipped with the Burmester® high-end 3D surround sound system).
Seat design: first class
A further highlight of the new E-Class is its seats. Their ergonomic and sculpted form combines Mercedes-Benz's hallmark suitability for long journeys with a refined, sporty look. Another new feature in this segment is a Warmth and Comfort package, which includes heated door armrests and center console, heated steering wheel and rapidly-heating front seats.
The rear bench seat in the new E-Class sedan comes with a three-piece backrest with a 40% - 20% - 40% split, making it exceptionally versatile. Integral features of the center armrest include a storage box and two pop-out drinks holders. There is also the option of a holder for a tablet device for the rear passengers.
New engine generation
In the US market at launch, the new E-Class will feature a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Further model variants will be added to the range after the market launch.
Nine-speed automatic transmission
All E-Class models available at market launch will be equipped with the new 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment. This advanced transmission enables both fast gearshifts and low engine revs while cruising, which provides improvements in both efficiency and interior noise levels.
Suspension – sporty comfort
The suspension on the new E-Class offers agile driving pleasure on twisting roads as well as the highest level of ride comfort in the segment. The E-Class sedan comes with a steel-spring suspension as standard. Two DIRECT CONTROL suspension systems with selective damping are available in conjunction with this suspension:
• DIRECT CONTROL Comfort suspension
• DIRECT CONTROL Sport suspension
AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension
Alternatively, the new E-Class can be equipped with a multi-chamber air suspension at all corners – the only car in its segment to offer this option. Three chambers of different sizes in the spring struts of the rear axle and two in the spring struts of the front axle make it possible to control, in three stages, how firmly the suspension reacts to the road. In this way, the occupants enjoy a soft base suspension, together with the secure feeling of good handling stability as speed increases.
Furthermore, the highly sensitive and fast-responding AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension features all-round self-leveling for excellent ride comfort even with the vehicle loaded. It automatically controls the ride height depending on the speed and reduces fuel consumption on the freeway, for example, by lowering the vehicle. When driving on rough roads, ground clearance can be increased at the push of a button.
The multi-chamber air suspension is supplemented by a continuously operating, electronically controlled damping adjustment system, which automatically adapts the damping on each individual wheel to the current driving situation and road conditions. The system therefore delivers good road roar and tire vibration characteristics, excellent ride comfort and outstanding driving dynamics.
A DYNAMIC SELECT switch in the cockpit enables the driver to select from four AIR BODY CONTROL modes: 'Comfort,' 'ECO,' 'Sport' and 'Sport+.' The additional 'Individual' option allows drivers to configure their vehicle to suit their own preferences.
Next-generation driver assistance systems
Mercedes-Benz's new assistance and safety systems take safety, comfort and driver assistance to a new level.
Standard on the new E-Class is PRE-SAFE® Sound. This system is based on a protective human reflex in the inner ear, called the stapedius reflex. PRE-SAFE® Sound emits a short interference signal through the vehicle's sound system if the risk of a collision is detected. This signal can trigger the natural reflex and thus prepare the occupants' ears for the expected sound of the accident.
Active Brake Assist, fitted as standard, is able to warn the driver of impending crash situations, provide just the right level of support during emergency braking and, if necessary, also apply the brakes automatically. In addition to slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles, it can also detect pedestrians crossing within the area ahead of the vehicle.
Additional standard equipment includes ATTENTION ASSIST with adjustable sensitivity, which can warn the driver of inattentiveness and drowsiness, and Crosswind Assist, which can assist the driver by substantially mitigating the effects of strong crosswinds to prevent the vehicle from drifting too far off track.
Highlights of the optional Driver Assistance Package Plus that make the E-Class the most intelligent sedan in its class include:
• DRIVE PILOT: This system represents Mercedes-Benz's next step along the road to autonomous driving. While on both freeways and country roads, Distance Pilot DISTRONIC is not only able to automatically maintain the selected distance from the vehicle in front, but, for the first time, it can also follow the traffic in front at speeds of up to 130 mph. This can make life easier for the driver, who no longer needs to operate the brake or accelerator pedal during normal driving and also receives plenty of steering assistance from Steering Pilot – even on moderate bends. Another unique feature of Steering Pilot is that the system can continue to actively intervene by taking account of surrounding vehicles and parallel structures, even if the lines are unclear or nonexistent, as they can be during road construction, even at speeds up to 81 mph. The system therefore makes driving much easier, especially in traffic jams or heavy congestion. Additional DRIVE PILOT innovations include, for the first time, Active Lane-change Assist. This radar-and-camera-based system assists the driver when changing lanes on multi-lane roads and can steer the vehicle into the lane selected by the driver – when overtaking, for example. Once the driver has indicated a turn for at least two seconds, Active Lane-change Assist assists with steering into the adjacent lane if it detects that the lane is unoccupied. More details will be offered at the time of the U.S. launch in summer 2016.
• Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function: Compared with the standard version, this system has extended speed thresholds with respect to vehicles and pedestrians. Furthermore, it can detect crossing traffic at junctions and, if the driver fails to respond, apply the brakes autonomously. For the first time, it can also detect hazardous situations at the tail end of a traffic jam where there is no room to maneuver and initiate autonomous braking well in advance. Consequently, it is possible to completely avoid accidents at speeds up to 43 mph or substantially reduce the severity of accidents at speeds above this level.
• Evasive Steering Assist: This new system ideally complements the pedestrian detection function of Active Brake Assist. When the driver deliberately or instinctively performs an evasive maneuver in a dangerous situation, this function can assist by adding precisely calculated steering torque to support the movement of the steering wheel. This helps the driver to avoid, for instance, a pedestrian in a controlled manner while subsequently facilitating the straightening-up of the vehicle to allow the situation to be negotiated safely.
• Advanced assistance systems: The intelligent assistance systems in the new Driver Assistance Package Plus also include proven systems that have been further developed in terms of their mode of operation and the sensors they use. Active Lane Keeping Assist can help stop the driver from unintentionally changing lanes, this being done by corrective one-sided application of the brakes, including in the case of broken lines and risk of collision, e.g. with oncoming traffic or fast overtaking vehicles. Active Blind Spot Assist can now also warn of the risk of a lateral collision in typical urban traffic at low speeds. PRE-SAFE® PLUS can also protect against collisions with traffic following behind, reducing whiplash and other adverse effects on the occupants.
The range of new features in the new E-Class also includes:
• Remote Parking Pilot: For the first time, this system allows the vehicle to be moved into and out of garages and parking spaces remotely using a smartphone app, enabling the occupants to get into and out of the car easily, even if space is very tight. More details will be offered at the time of the U.S. launch in summer 2016.
• Car-to-X communication: The MY2017 E-Class will have the world's first fully integral Car-to-X solution going into series production. The mobile phone-supported exchange of information with other vehicles further ahead on the road, for example, can effectively allow the driver to 'see around corners' or 'through obstacles' well in advance. This means that the driver receives an earlier warning than previously in the event of imminent danger, such as a broken-down vehicle at the edge of the road or also in the event of heavy rain or black ice on the road ahead. In this case, the new E-Class simultaneously acts as a receiver and a transmitter, since warning messages are conveyed automatically by evaluating vehicle status or manually by the driver to the backend. More details will be offered at the time of the U.S. launch in summer 2016.
• PRE-SAFE® impulse side: This system is part of the Driving Assistance package PLUS. If a lateral collision has been detected and is imminent, it preventively moves the driver or front passenger away from the danger zone to the side. To do this, the system inflates an air chamber in the side bolster of the front seat backrest nearest the side of the imminent impact in a fraction of a second, thus increasing the distance between occupant and door while, at the same time, reducing the forces acting on the occupants.
Three-dimensional listening pleasure
Fitted as standard, the Mercedes-Benz Frontbass system in the new E-Class delivers a unique listening experience, utilizing space in the cross-member and side member of the body structure as a resonance chamber for the bass speakers. The E-Class is optionally available with two Burmester® sound systems, including the top-of-the-line Burmester high-end 3D surround sound system. If the vehicle is equipped with the optionally available Burmester high-end 3D surround sound system with 23 speakers, the occupants are treated to a listening experience reminiscent of the acoustics in a concert hall, as it includes a third dimension of sound courtesy of roof speakers.
Robust yet lightweight bodyshell
An outstandingly stiff body forms the basis for exceptional handling, astonishingly low noise and vibration levels and a high level of crash safety. To achieve this, the engineers opted for a bodyshell with a far higher proportion of aluminum and ultra-high-strength steel components than its predecessor. The front fenders, hood, trunk lid and large sections of the front and rear ends are made of sheet or cast aluminum. This lightweight design reduces fuel consumption while making for perceptibly sporty and agile vehicle handling.
Against the wind
Aerodynamic performance is one of the main reasons behind the outstanding efficiency of the new E-Class. To achieve this, the aerodynamics experts had to optimize numerous details and implement new ideas. The sophisticated aerodynamics also minimizes wind noise while making sure that the new E-Class is quieter than many luxury-class models.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will be available at US dealers in the summer 2016.
The new Mercedes-Benz SLC
New name, new dynamics
Twenty years after defining a new segment, the new SLC will launch in the Spring of 2016. With significantly optimized technology and an enhanced look, the name change acknowledges the traditionally close relationship with the C-Class, from which much of the roadster's technology is derived.
The new Mercedes-Benz SLC has an impressive heritage to live up to: its predecessor, the SLK, which was launched in 1996, achieved sales of around 670,000 units. Comprehensively refined and with a model line-up from the sporty SLC300 to the high-performance Mercedes-AMG SLC43, the new model has what it takes to build on that success. Both the SLC300 and SLC43 feature the sporty, yet comfort-oriented 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission as standard equipment.
Ola Kallenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales & Marketing: 'In 1996 Mercedes-Benz redefined the roadster with its innovative vario-roof, and combined open-air driving pleasure with uncompromised comfort in poor weather. The renamed compact roadster remains an ideal combination of passion and common sense, appealing to both the heart and the mind.'
As part of the facelift, the Mercedes-Benz designers have further honed the roadster's sporty look. The new front section, where the steeply raked radiator grille elongates the appearance of the arrow-shaped hood, is particularly striking. All SLC models feature a diamond radiator grille as standard.
With DYNAMIC SELECT, the vehicle characteristics can be adjusted instantly at the touch of a button, as the system modifies the engine, transmission, steering and suspension at the driver's behest.
The new SLC model line-up at a glance:
Engine Inline 4-cyl turbo V6 biturbo
Displacement (cc) 1991 2996
Rated output 241 hp
at 5500 rpm 362 hp
at 5500-6000 rpm
Peak torque 273 lb-ft
at 1300-4000 rpm 384 lb-ft
at 2000-4200 rpm
Acceleration 0-60 (s) 5.7 4.6
Top speed* (mph) 130 155
* Electronically limited
The drive system: individual driving characteristics with DYNAMIC SELECT
Driving Performance is the AMG brand promise and the Mercedes-AMG SLC43 lives up to it in impressive style. The new model combines a 362 hp, 384 lb-ft, 3.0-liter V6 biturbo engine with a modified version of the AMG sport suspension familiar from the Mercedes-AMG SLK 55, and the combination is reflected in the sporty performance figures, with the SLC43 accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds.
With standard DYNAMIC SELECT the vehicle characteristics can be adjusted instantly at the touch of a button, as the system modifies the engine, transmission, steering and suspension at the driver's behest. The five modes – 'Comfort,' 'Sport,' 'Sport+,' 'Eco' and 'Individual' are easy to select using the DYNAMIC SELECT button in the upper control panel on the dashboard console. The selected mode is shown on the color multifunction display and also appears as a pop-up message on the head unit display. The SLC43 features an AMG Sport exhaust system as standard and uses the two adjustable exhaust flaps to adapt the sound to the mode selected via DYNAMIC SELECT.
On the SLC300, drivers can choose the Dynamic Handling package, which features an adaptive damping system and ESP® Dynamic Cornering Assist, and can also use DYNAMIC SELECT to specify the damping force in Comfort, Sport and Sport+ mode. Here the damping force at each individual wheel is automatically and continuously adapted to the current driving conditions.
With the sport exhaust system on the SLC300, the sound experience can be intensified as the acoustics can be adjusted via an integral exhaust flap in conjunction with the DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes.
Assistance and safety systems: a comprehensive range
A new feature for the SLC is the standard-fit Active Brake Assist, known in other models as COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS. In addition to radar-based proximity warning and braking assistance by Adaptive Brake Assist, this Active Brake Assist system carries out autonomous braking to reduce the danger of rear-end collisions. If the driver fails to act when a risk of a collision is detected, despite the warning lamp in the instrument cluster and the intermittent audible alert, the system will initiate automatic braking. This significantly reduces the vehicle speed. At low relative speeds, this intervention may be sufficient to prevent a rear-end collision with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles. Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist are also available as part of optional equipment packages.
For optimum visibility on country roads and highways, when cornering and on bends, the optional Dynamic LED Headlights automatically adapt to all light and driving conditions. The LED technology features low energy consumption, a long service life and a pleasant white light which approximates the daylight spectrum.
Reversing into a parking space and maneuvering can be made significantly safer and more straightforward with the standard rear view camera. It is automatically activated when reverse gear is engaged and uses the head unit display to show the driver the area behind the vehicle with dynamic guide lines. As an option, Parking Assist can make locating a parking space and parallel parking easier.
Comfort appointments: vario-roof now even easier to operate
The SLC's vario-roof combines open-top driving pleasure with uncompromised comfort in poor weather. Operating the electrohydraulic roof is now even more straightforward. If when opening or closing the roof the vehicle has to move due to the traffic conditions, the process which was started when at a standstill can be continued up to a speed of approx. 25 mph. Another new feature is the standard automatic trunk separator. If the separator is in the upper position for increased trunk capacity, it automatically moves down when the roof is opened. If there is not enough space for this because the trunk is full of luggage, the roof does not open and the message 'Close trunk separator' appears in the instrument cluster.
Even with the top down, optional features ensure that the SLC is able to offer the perfect on-board climate. These features include heated seats and AIRSCARF, the neck-level heating system for the driver and front passenger, ideally in combination with the standard draft-stop. The small side window behind the door can now also be closed separately when the top is down, reducing wind noise.
The standard panorama roof is optionally available with MAGIC SKY CONTROL. This feature continues to be unique to the SLC and allows the glass roof to be lightened or darkened at the touch of a button. This helps provide an open-air feeling at any time, but also gives welcome shade under a hot sun when required.
Infotainment: extended functions for COMAND
As a control and display system for navigation, phone, audio, video and internet, the COMAND infotainment system offers a range of new and extended features:
• High-resolution, color media display (diagonal screen size of 7 inches)
• Fast, dynamic hard disc navigation with realistic topographical map views and three years of free navigation updates
• Internet access when vehicle is stationary and unrestricted use of Mercedes-Benz Apps when on the move too (in conjunction with an appropriate mobile phone)
• DVD player
• Internet radio
• Bluetooth® connectivity with hands-free function, read function for text messages and audio streaming for music
• Voice-operated control system for audio, phone, navigation, music search and Mercedes-Benz Apps
• 2 USB ports in center armrest and one SD card slot in the COMAND head unit
• Integral Media Interface connection for iPod® or iPhone®
• Phone book import from mobile to head unit
• Cover Art: album covers displayed in audio menu
Exterior design: diamond grille and LED Headlights
As part of the facelift, the Mercedes-Benz designers have further honed the roadster's sporty look. The new front section, where the steeply raked radiator grille elongates the appearance of the arrow-shaped hood, is particularly striking. All SLC models feature a diamond radiator grille as standard. On the entry-level model it is finished in black with an iridium silver louver and chrome trim. A more individual look is available in conjunction with the Sport Package: here the diamond radiator grille is finished in chrome, and the color of the louver either remains iridium silver or high-gloss black (in conjunction with Night Package).
Further features of the sporty front section include a bumper which features striking air intakes, dynamically modelled contours, high-quality chrome trim at the lower edge, and distinctive headlamps. The LED daytime running lamps are integrated into the headlamp units. The lenses are made from clear polycarbonate and have a scratchproof coating. With the optional Dynamic LED Headlights, the edges and other parts of the headlamp housing are finished in black, conveying a high-level of perceived quality and an effective sense of depth.
The side view of the SLC reveals the typical features of a roadster with a long hood, a passenger compartment that is set back and a short rear. The silhouette is defined by the gently rising beltline and the sweeping curve of the roof, the powerfully molded wheel arches, sporty 17' to 18' light-alloy wheels and the ventilation grilles in the front wing. The latter feature a high-sheen chrome fin which has echoes of the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SL.
Powerful proportions define the rear section with its muscular wings. The rear bumper with its black diffuser, chrome touches and integral tailpipe trim signal the dynamic potential of the SLC. The tail light units, which now have a narrower design, feature LED technology and are divided horizontally: the top and middle lights are the brake and tail light, and below them are the direction indicator and reversing light. The trunk lid has a pronounced arrow shape and the third brake light is positioned in the spoiler lip.
The interior: larger display and electroplated control elements
The interior of the post-facelift SLC has an even higher-quality look. Highlights include new aluminum trim parts with a carbon fiber finish. The instrument cluster has a new design too. The two tubular instrument surrounds now feature black dials. Red needles also add to the sporty, contemporary design.
A large, multifunction, color TFT display with a screen diagonal of 4.5 inches (11.4 cm) is incorporated between the two dials as standard. An analog dashtop clock with a black dial is available as an option. The display between the two ventilation outlets in the center console has been significantly increased in size: it now has a diagonal of 7 inches instead of 5.8 inches. The screen surround is finished in high-gloss black. Additional displays for vehicle parameters underline the sporty feel – as do the dials showing the engine data.
The electroplated control elements for the electrically adjustable seats and the electroplated steering wheel shift paddles (part of optional Sport Package – black shift paddles are standard equipment) demonstrate a keen attention to detail.
The new-generation sport steering wheel with perforation in the grip area, and the new DIRECT SELECT lever embossed with SLC, help create a sporty, refined feel. A new 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel in Nappa leather/DINAMICA microfiber is available as an option on the SLC43. The rim is flattened at the lower edge, the central grip area is trimmed with DINAMICA microfiber, and it features contrasting topstitching in red plus silver chrome trim and shift paddles.
The leather appointments have also been revised. The leather upholstery (which offers sun-reflective technology) features a new perforated design on the shoulder area of the seats, while the Nappa leather seats now feature transverse fluting in the selected appointments color. The piping and topstitching are in a contrasting color. Two new colors have also been added – saddle brown (available as Nappa leather) and platinum white (available as Nappa leather and designo Nappa leather).
The ambient lighting (optional) has been extended to the footwell, creating a more generous sense of space. In addition to solar red there are now two additional colors available: polar blue and polar white.
Heritage: 20th anniversary of the original launch
The SLK's debut appearance in 1996 caused a sensation. Not only was this a compact roadster from Mercedes-Benz, but it featured vibrant yellowstone launch paintwork and, instead of the traditional soft top, a tough vario-roof. The SLK marked the start of a new era for the traditional Mercedes-Benz brand and its roof design served as a model for many other open-top vehicles.
Beneath its outer shell, it used a lot of technology from the C-Class. That remains unchanged to this day. This is why, in the light of the company's nomenclature changes, it was deemed fitting that the roadster should continue its successful career under the new name SLC.
The second generation of the SLK was launched in Spring 2004. A front section based on the nose cone of a Formula 1 car underlined its sporty nature, as did the new top-of-the-line model, the SLK 55 AMG.
The Geneva Motor Show in spring 2005 saw the unveiling of the prototype SLK 320 CDI, which featured a pioneering 286 hp triturbo diesel engine. This never saw series production, but the roadster/diesel combination was successfully achieved as part of the third generation, launched in March 2011, which brought with it the SLK 250 CDI (which never sold in the USA). Another new feature of the third SLK was the ingenious vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL, which allowed a glass panel in the roof to be switched from transparent to dark at the touch of a button.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC will be available at US dealers in late spring 2016.
The new Mercedes-AMG SLC43
Performance roadster from Affalterbach
High driving dynamics and low fuel consumption are not necessarily mutually exclusive. This is proved by the new Mercedes-AMG SLC43: thanks to the combination of a 3.0-liter V6 biturbo engine and a 9G-TRONIC sport transmission, the 362 hp roadster is more fuel-efficient than its predecessor, the SLK55 with a naturally aspirated V8 engine. The SLC43 is also the most efficient six-cylinder performance roadster on the market. The specially developed suspension and model-specific mountings for the engine and rear-axle gear unit are designed for high lateral acceleration and low roll. Even greater driving dynamics are optionally available with the AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension with adaptive adjustable damping and the Handling package with mechanical limited-slip differential on the rear axle.
Compact, powerful and economical: 'The new Mercedes-AMG SLC43 unites the classic virtues of a roadster with exemplary efficiency. Weighing less and with lower fuel consumption, the new SLC43 delivers a similar performance to the SLK55 on the race track. This vehicle provides typical AMG driving pleasure in a compact open-top two-seater in line with the needs of today's market,' says Mercedes-AMG chairman Tobias Moers.
The 3.0-liter V6 biturbo engine offers impressive performance with its 362 hp maximum power and peak torque of 384 lb-ft: sprinting from 0 - 60 in 4.6 seconds, its top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph. The key factors behind the agile roadster driving experience are the newly developed front and rear axles, new engine/rear-axle gear unit mountings, stiff elastokinematics and highly precise steering. Even greater transverse dynamics is made possible by the optional Handling package with mechanical limited-slip differential on the rear axle.
New model, new nomenclature
The new SLC43 represents the entry point into the current roadster world of AMG. Apart from the renaming of the SLK to SLC, the open-top two-seater also comes with a new AMG nomenclature. The familiar two-digit combination typical of AMG underscores the SLC's unmistakable membership of the AMG family. Due to its overall 'engineered in Affalterbach' package of typical AMG driving dynamics, engine response and high efficiency, the SLC43 is very competitively positioned in the segment. The '43' stands for the further-developed AMG 3.0-liter V6 biturbo engine. The Mercedes-AMG SLC43 is therefore the first V6 model from Affalterbach to feature the new nomenclature. This will be successively introduced to the future model portfolio.
Key data at a glance
Engine V6 biturbo
Displacement (cc) 2996
Rated output 362 hp
at 5500-6000 rpm
Peak torque 384 lb-ft
at 2000-4200 rpm
Acceleration 0-60 (s) 4.6
Top speed* (mph) 155
• 3.0-liter V6 biturbo engine with AMG-specific engine management and increased charge-air pressure
• 9G-TRONIC sport transmission with double-declutching function on downshifts and thrillingly short response times in the Sport + transmission mode or in manual gearshift mode
• Specially developed front and rear axles with new elastokinematics
• Stiffer mountings for engine and rear-axle gear unit
• High-performance braking system with larger brake discs
• AMG design with specific front and rear aprons, exhaust tailpipes and wheel arch covers integrated into rear wheel arch trims
• Diamond radiator grille in chrome with louvre in high-gloss black
• 18-inch AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels, painted in high-gloss black with high-sheen
• Instrument cluster in chequered flag design
• Multifunction sport steering wheel in Nappa leather with perforations in grip area, flattened bottom section, with red contrasting topstitching
• Upholstery in black Nappa leather / DINAMICA microfiber with sport seat upholstery layout and red piping and topstitching, with model-specific door center panel
The key options
• Handling package with mechanical limited-slip differential on rear axle
• AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension with adaptive adjustable damping
• Night package with front splitter and trim strip in diffuser in high-gloss black as well as black chrome-plated exhaust tailpipes
• Performance steering wheel in black Nappa leather/DINAMICA microfiber, with flattened bottom section, red contrasting topstitching and red 12 o'clock marking
High on power, high on efficiency: the 3.0-liter V6 biturbo engine
The new SLC models from Mercedes-Benz come exclusively with a four-cylinder powerplant. The six-cylinder engine is reserved for the SLC43 from Mercedes-AMG: the 3.0-liter V6 biturbo engine is characterized by a high power output together with high efficiency and low emissions. Installed close to the engine, the two turbochargers are especially spontaneous in their response. The high power output of 362 horsepower is attributable to, among other things, the 1.1 bar charge-air pressure. Especially tough and, therefore, wear-resistant, the NANOSLIDE coating on the cylinder liners reduces friction, thereby contributing to higher efficiency. The same applies to the spray-guided multiple injection with up to 2900 psi (200 bar) fuel pressure. The AMG powerplant can be identified by the red aluminum insert in the engine cover.
Short shift times: the 9G-TRONIC sport transmission
The 9G-TRONIC sport transmission is specially matched to the demands of the SLC43. By specifically adapting the software, the AMG developers have been able to significantly shorten the shift times. The multiple downshift allows even faster short bursts of speed, while the double-declutching function in the 'Sport' and 'Sport +' transmission modes makes for an even more emotive driving experience. In 'Sport +' mode, partial ignition interruptions provide even faster gearshifts.
The standard-fit shift paddles allow lightning-fast manual shifting of the automatic transmission without the driver needing to take their hands off the steering wheel.
Shifting in 'Manual' mode, which is activated using a separate button next to the selector lever, is twice as fast as in the other transmission modes. Also, the transmission stays in the selected gear and does not automatically shift up when the engine speed reaches the limit.
Two options: the sport suspension
With the standard sport suspension or the optional AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension with adjustable damping, the Mercedes-AMG SLC43 offers two suspension options designed for high lateral acceleration and reduced roll. Common to both suspensions are the specially developed front and rear axles, which guarantee precise wheel location and high camber stability on compression and rebound.
The three-link front axle has been provided with stiffer steering knuckles, improved elastokinematics and increased negative camber. In combination with the newly developed wishbone guide bearings, this design results in significantly more agile cornering, more precise and direct suspension feedback from the road and fast cornering speeds.
The four-link rear axle with optimized elastokinematics, increased negative camber and special forged-aluminum track rods not only improve the driving dynamics, but also make the SLC43 more controllable when driven at the limit.
The special AMG mountings for the engine and rear-axle gear unit offer the ideal compromise between handling and comfort. They also contribute to the snappy and highly stable driving impression given by the roadster.
With its automatic adjustable damping system, the optional AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension allows an even more personalized suspension set-up, with each wheel being individually electronically controlled. The three suspension settings 'Comfort,' 'Sport' and 'Sport +' can be selected by the driver via the transmission modes using the DYNAMIC SELECT button.
Optimal traction: the optional rear-axle limited-slip differential
The mechanically controlled AMG limited-slip differential on the rear axle makes for improved traction and handling in all driving situations, particularly when the driver adopts a sporty driving style. This is achieved by reducing the slip on the inside driven wheel when cornering, without control intervention in the brakes. When there is a difference in rotational speed between the rear wheels, the torque is distributed to the wheel with the better grip in order to reduce wheel spin.
The benefits are:
• better acceleration out of bends
• better acceleration from rest
• greater stability on braking and at high speed
Safe and fade-resistant: the high-performance braking system
The AMG high-performance braking system is characterized by excellent deceleration, high fade resistance and precise brake control. Large-sized, internally ventilated and perforated brake discs are capable of absorbing plenty of braking energy and quickly dissipating the arising heat. Lightweight aluminum brake calipers reduce the unsprung mass, resulting in improved handling and comfort.
Characteristics at the tap of a finger: AMG DYNAMIC SELECT
With the five DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport + and Individual, the driver can change the characteristics of the SLC43 at the tap of a finger. The available range extends from efficient and comfortable to extremely sporty. This modifies key parameters, such as the response of engine, transmission, suspension and steering. The modes are selected using a button in the center console control panel.
DYNAMIC SELECT at a glance
• 'Eco' mode: all parameters are programmed for maximum efficiency. The ECO start/stop and coasting functions (overrun mode for fuel-saving vehicle operation) are activated.
• 'Comfort' mode: comfortable and fuel-efficient driving, e.g. thanks to early upshifts. Suspension and steering are set up for an emphasis on comfort.
• 'Sport' mode: sporty characteristics thanks to a more agile response to accelerator commands, shorter shift times, earlier downshifts and more emotive gearshifts owing to double-declutching. A more dynamic set-up of suspension and steering.
• 'Sport +' mode: extremely sporty characteristics thanks to an even more agile throttle response, increased acoustic emphasis on double-declutching on downshifts as well as selective torque control on upshifts with cylinder suppression for optimal shift times. Increased idle speed for faster pull-away. An even more dynamic set-up of suspension, steering and drivetrain.
• 'Individual' mode: personalized set-up of drive, suspension, steering, air conditioning and ECO start/stop function.
Independent of the DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes, the driver has the option of pressing the 'M' button to switch directly to manual mode, in which gearshifts are executed exclusively using the shift paddles on the steering wheel.
Further personalization of the driving dynamics is possible by means of the ESP® button, which offers a choice between three control strategies for the Electronic Stability Program:
• ESP® 'ON': early system intervention without adversely affecting the sporty character
• ESP® 'SPORT HANDLING MODE': late system intervention for a sporty driving style
• ESP® 'OFF': system deactivated for an extremely sporty driving style on closed racing circuits
Direct and with clear feedback: speed-sensitive sport steering
With its permanent, direct transmission ratio of 15.5 : 1, the speed-sensitive sport steering supports the new SLC43's agile cornering while additionally impressing with its precise, highly authentic feedback. The steering power assistance is variable with two modes (Comfort and Sport). It is automatically activated depending on the selected DYNAMIC SELECT mode or can be personalized in Individual mode.
Typical AMG: an emotively appealing sound
The new SLC43 also meets the personal wishes of the driver when it comes to acoustics: the standard-fit sport exhaust system comes with two automatically map-controlled exhaust flaps. In the 'Eco' and 'Comfort' modes, the flaps remain closed most of the time, resulting in an acoustically restrained note from the six-cylinder biturbo engine. In the 'Sport' and 'Sport +' modes, the exhaust flaps open earlier and more spontaneously, especially if the driver prefers a dynamic driving style. The effect: the typical, emotively appealing AMG engine sound. The statutory noise prevention limits are met in all transmission modes.
Muscular with an emphasis on width: the exterior design
Numerous design features immediately identify the new SLC43 as a member of the Mercedes-AMG family. With an emphasis on width, the front view is dominated by the air deflector in brand-typical 'A-wing' form, which is in high-gloss black. The large outer air intakes come with silver chrome fins and are edged by black flics. Down below, the silver chrome front splitter ensures an optimal flow of air to the cooling modules. It also makes the roadster appear to hug the road more closely. The diamond radiator grille features chrome-plated pins and a louvre in high-gloss black.
The side view is dominated by high-sheen 18-inch AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels painted in high-gloss black. The exterior mirror housings in high-gloss black act as additional distinguishing features. The front wings come with a silver chrome fin as well as biturbo lettering. With its AMG spoiler lip, the rear end, too, boasts a characteristic look, with two quad-flow chrome-plated exhaust tailpipes conveying an especially sporty note. The diffuser-look rear apron trim is in silver chrome.
The unique selling points include a diversity of available roof variants. In addition to the standard vario roof, there is a choice between the panoramic vario roof with a large glass element and the panoramic vario roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL selectable brightness control.
Sporty look with model-specific details: the interior design
The interior reinforces the consistently dynamic bias of the new SLC43 with numerous specially designed details. Ideal for a committed driving style, the multifunction sport steering wheel in black Nappa leather features a flattened bottom section and red contrasting topstitching, with the perforated grip area lying especially well in the hand.
The contoured sport seats give the driver ideal lateral support, including when a dynamic driving style is adopted. The upholstery in sun-reflecting Nappa leather/DINAMICA microfiber with model-specific seat layout, red piping and topstitching meet the highest standards in terms of material quality, look and feel. The perforations in the shoulder area and on the seat cushions stop the driver working up a sweat. The seat design is complemented by the door center panels in MB-Tex/DINAMICA microfiber.
The AMG instrument cluster delivers all relevant information in a clearly arranged layout optimized for a dynamic driving style. An authentic sports car look and feel is provided by two tube-shaped round dials, 4.5 in. (11.4 cm) multifunction color display, and RACETIMER in chequered flag design.
Suitability for everyday use is additionally enhanced by intelligent comfort functions such as optional AIRSCARF neck-level heating, operation of the vario roof while driving (up to 25 mph, initiated below 3mph) and automatic closing of the trunk separator.
Even greater individualization: the options
The new SLC43 offers even further scope for individualization with selected options, these including the Handling package, which comes with features designed to support an ambitious driving style on the racing circuit. They also include the mechanical rear-axle limited-slip differential and an additional engine radiator at the front. The vehicle's proximity to motor sport is visually underscored by red-painted brake calipers, a Performance steering wheel in Nappa leather with DINAMICA microfiber in the grip area and red topstitching as well as an analogue clock in IWC design.
Other options include the Dynamic LED Headlights with brand-typical eyebrows, several 18-inch wheel/tire combinations, the AMG Night package, exclusive designo paint finishes, various leather upholstery options, COMAND infotainment and communications system, a harman/kardon® LOGIC7 Surround Sound system as well as ambient lighting in solar red, polar blue or polar white.
The 2017 Mercedes-AMG SLC43 will be available at US dealers in late spring 2016.