Mercedes-Benz's Smallest Droptop Ready for a Date With Death: Report
Remember when the boxy little Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster bowed with its innovative retractable hardtop back in 1997? The model provided Germanophiles with an alternative to the BMW Z3 and gave the brand a healthy injection of youthful, downmarket sportiness.
Well, the recently refreshed two-seater — which adopted the SLC moniker for 2017 — seems to be running on a combination of gasoline and borrowed time.
A report out of Europe claims the automaker has new plans in store for its lower-volume offerings, and it doesn’t include a future for the SLC. According to Automobile, the SLC has vanished from Mercedes-Benz’s cycle plan, meaning the current generation will be the roadster’s last.
As it stands, the SLC is merely a refresh of a model that bowed as a 2012 model back in the spring of 2011. As Mercedes-Benz isn’t likely to dump the existing SLC with any immediate haste, you probably have a few years left to add one to your driveway.
The same report teases changes coming to other products in the Benz stable. Again, we’re talking about niche models far removed from the brand’s sedan and utility breadwinners.
The next-generation SL and AMG GT luxo rockets will share a new lightweight platform, with the SL taking on a more conventional layout in the grand tourer tradition. That means a 2+2 configuration and soft convertible top. Of course, a large 2+2 droptop would tread heavily into the S-Class Cabriolet’s territory, meaning that model — which only just arrived this year — might find itself in danger of an early extinction.
The SL/AMG GT platform swap isn’t expected until 2020, so the Cabriolet still has a few years left if that’s the case.
Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz head Dieter Zetsche echoed comments made by BMW, saying that it’s increasingly hard to make a business case for specialty models.
[Image: Daimler AG]
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For what it's worth In the 70s the 450 SL also came as cool with four seats called the 450 SLC. When the next Mercedes S class debuted in 1981 or so they waited one year and then went to a two door SEC for their for passenger coupe. I had one of these after MBZ put the larger 560 engine into it. The backseat was OK for kids or really short rides for adults. The 560 was a fabulous car ; I had it for 17 years.
@gasser Coincidentally I just acquired a 560SEC – I could no sooner have afforded one new than I could fly to the moon – 30 years later I am enjoying a veritable time capsule example of Merc's flagship coupe – a fabulous car as you say :) The SLC was kind of an odd duck but curiously has grown on me – funny how name badges come and go.