The Sun Finally Sets for SLC


Mercedes-Benz has revealed the retirement configuration of its compact roadster. Meet the Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition.

After 23 years, the decision has been made to pension tooling and assembly scheduling for Mercedes-Benz’s SLC. Demand for the compact roadster has collapsed in the last few years, with customers showing a preference for high-riding SUVs and crossovers, instead of a folding-hardtop two-seater sportscar.

It’s a poignant moment for Mercedes-Benz’s styling department, as the original SLK was a vehicle which revolutionised public perception around the German brand in the mid-1990s. With its daring design and clever packaging, defined by that folding hardtop roof, SLK created a counterpoint for those who had long criticised Mercedes-Benz as a hopelessly conservative automotive brand.

Paying homage to the memory of those original SLKs, the SLC Final Edition features a vivid yellow paint option – which was also the signature colour when SLK debuted back in 1996. It’s called sun yellow and looks particularly fetching on third-generation SLC, contrasting with a black grille, air-intake and door handles.  

These Final Edition SLCs are effectively AMG-line cars, which means you get Affalterbach moulded bumpers, a 10mm lower ride height (courtesy of sports suspension) and larger brakes. The Final Edition kit can be applied to SLC 180, 200, 300 or even the AMG 43 version of Mercedes-Benz’s smallest two-seater sun-seeker.

Why is it all ending, though? It’s worth remembering that when the first SLK went on sale, Mercedes-Benz marketed a single SUV that very few people knew of – much less bought: the Geländenwagen. In 2019, nearly half the brand’s product portfolio are gravel travellers.

This change in customer demand has decimated demand for a compact roadster such as SLC. In truth, this is a car which has seen waning fortunes since its third-generation redesign in 2011 – with sales tapering off rapidly after the renaming from SLK to SLC in 2016. A scenario which could also be accredited to the current C-Class cabriolet, with its fabric roof and roomier cabin.

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