Thursday, May 4, 2017

'Economical' Mercedes droptop packs a punch

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo reviews of the latest motor vehicle models also can be seen on The Sacramento Bee’s website at

This review first appeared in the April 2017 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California You know you’re in the high-class neighborhood when your test ride is considered a bargain with a starting price at around $52,500.

Welcome to the world of Mercedes-Benz, and my tester was the 2017 SLC300, a convertible with a willing 2-liter turbo 4 with nearly 250 horsepower.

Yes, this is the “economical” version of the car, which also can be had with a 3-liter, twin-turbo 6 dishing up around 362 horsepower.  But that’s another story for another time.

If you’re keeping score, the SLC-Class replaces the automaker’s SLK class.  It’s not unusual to change the name to usher in something new, although most of what’s in the 2017 SLC300 will be familiar to veteran Mercedes pilots.

Interior luxury features are nicely placed and plentiful.  The upholstery was spot-on, perfectly stitched and radiating elegance, a nice bonus in a car priced less than 60-grand.

Exterior styling on the SLC300 is decidedly sporty and aerodynamic.  And yet the front grille seems understated in this day and age of grilles bigger than a battleship.  Simply said, it’s a classic Mercedes-Benz look that presents just the right mix of sophistication and sportiness.

Performance was definitely a highlight, smooth and forceful, yet quiet in the cabin.  The car took to the freeway with a smoothness one expects from a car with a six-figure sticker.  On city streets, it was agile and quick to respond.  It darted out of harm’s way with effortless ease.

Yes, I enjoyed my all-too-short time with the tester.

Fellow reviewers noted that the SLC300 accommodates taller people.  And at 6-4, I agree that the ride from the driver’s seat was a welcome comfort.

Of course, the retractable hardtop is a blast to operate and show off to the neighbors.  When folks come over to gawk at the hardtop show, be sure to tell them about the nine-speed automatic transmission.  They might not know the significance of that, but it sure sounds impressive.

What is impressive is the advertised 25 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.  Granted, my tester was not a neck-snapper of a beast, but those are still pretty fair numbers from a Mercedes-Benz convertible.

Mercedes’ always top-notch safety systems included collision-prevention braking, a backup camera, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist and parking assist.  The lane-keeping feature was not overly reactive, a nice departure from other, recently tested systems that wanted to rip the steering wheel from my hands.

All in all, this is a Mercedes worth pursuing – relatively affordable for many budgets and nicely equipped bumper to bumper.

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