Mercedes Confirms SLC / SLK’s Death And We Bid Our Farewells

With the new Mercedes SLC Final Edition, the German automaker says farewell to its smallest two-seater roadster in the range.

We contacted Mercedes about the future of the SLC and we received confirmation that there is no direct successor planned. This could very well mean that we’ll never see another small Mercedes roadster for the foreseeable future, given the current market trends.

Let’s face it, mainstream (or in this case less expensive?) convertible sports cars are dying if they’re not dead yet. All we’re left with is the Mazda MX-5, the new BMW Z4 (thank Toyota Supra for that) and the Audi TT Roadster.

So let’s take a look at the history of a Mercedes that will be known for its innovations and for introducing younger customers into the dealerships.

The one that started it all |1996 to 2004

The original Mercedes SLK was launched back in 1996, and immediately attracted huge interest with its innovative folding hard-top that kickstarted the whole trend. It was also the fist time Mercedes was offering a two-seater roadster that’s smaller than the SL.

The original SLK was advertised as the roadster “for all weathers”, with its Vario-roof operating through an electro-hydraulic system in just 25 seconds while still offering the class-leading safety levels of a true Mercedes, featuring a pair of fixed rollover bars behind the seats and a very stiff windscreen frame.

Customers were given a wide range of engines to choose from, starting from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produced between 134hp (136PS) and 190hp (193PS), the latter with a help of a supercharger. Later down the line, Mercedes added the SLK 320 in the range, fitted with a 3.2-liter V6 with 215hp (218PS) and of course the SLK 32 AMG that was powered by a supercharged V6 with 349hp (354PS).

The one that looked like a mini SLR | 2004 to 2011

The second generation of the SLK arrived in the spring of 2004, featuring a much more aggressive design that was inspired by the SLR McLaren. Based on an all-new chassis, the second-gen SLK offered a much sportier driving experience than its predecessor that was combined with more powerful engine options.

It was also the first car to introduce the “Airscarf” neck-level heating system that was integrated to the seats, keeping the driver and passenger warm with the roof down even in the middle of the winter.

The engine range started with a supercharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder in the SLK 200 with 160hp (163PS) and included a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 in the SLK 350 with 268hp (272PS). For the first time in an SLK, you could get a V8 engine as well, if you went for the tire-slaying SLK 55 AMG with its 355hp (360PS).

The one that just looked weird | 2011 to 2016

Mercedes revealed the third generation SLK (which later morphed into the current SLC) in 2011. The new model was redesigned completely but it arguably lost some of its charm during the transition.

However, it introduced a new folding hard top that incorporated a glass top, called the ‘Magic Sky Control’. The new glass roof could switch from transparent to dark at the press of a button.

This was also the first SLK to become available with a diesel engine in Europe in the SLK 250 BlueEfficiency variant. Base models continued using the 1.8-liter four-cylinder petrol, with 181hp (184PS) or 201 (204PS). The SLK 350 grew more powerful to 302hp (306PS). The SLK 55 AMG remained the hot rod of the range, packing 5.5 liters of V8 goodness and 416hp (422PS) to play with.

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  • Merc1

    It’s time to resurrect the SLA concept. Thousands of dollars cheaper, FWD, lightweight and crazy styling for a Mercedes. It would sell much better than the SLC.


    • Bash

      People don’t buy them nowadays, and if they do, they go to Porsche. and i don’t blame them.

      • Merc1

        Yeah we know that is why this is being cancelled.


        • Bash

          Well, thanks for making me feel stupid then. geez. lol

  • TheBelltower

    They neglected this car. Just as they’re doing with the SL. If you want a convertible, MB has plenty of other options.

    • TheHake

      It does?

      • Seats & a steering wheel

        C-Class Cabrio (including 43/63 AMG), E-Class Cabriolet, S-Class Cabriolet and AMG GT cabriolet..

  • Nordschleife

    I do have a soft spot for this car. I owned a first gen. My father owns a second gen and we both didn’t like the third gen lol. All jokes aside, driving around downtown Chicago with the top down just made us feel cool and it was just great memories. Everyone loved to see us drop our tops and it was just a great times.

    This car will be missed.

  • Ary Wisesa

    I’m sad to hear this. The SLK is one of very few charming small cars.

  • SteersUright

    Was a fascinating game changer when it launched. Then it faded into obsolescence thanks to a total lack of innovation and enthusiasm by MB. Cant really blame them though, it’s a dying market and the do have the awesome AMG GT for the rich folk who seem to be the few remaining able to buy fun, expensive toys these days.

  • exeptor

    I’m deeply affected as the original SLK was one of my favorite cars and for a short period a favorite toy so my next words might be a little bit harder (no personal offence to anybody who might find him/herself in the next sentences).

    There is a strong logic based on the current market and trend, but it doesn’t make it less sad – a great car and in general a great type of automobile slowly goes to history … and for what – SUVs, CUVs and all this type of s*it which only real purpose is to give you some fake sense of higher class. It is not about practicality – you can have a wagon or van if you really want one, it is not financial – in general SUVs are more expensive to buy and maintain, it is not about look – sure it is subjective but you have to be really strange to not choose SLK over GLA if your main objective is style. Cabriolets dies, sedans are heading the same direction (fortunately still quite far from that), cheap sports car as well. I just wonder if there will be a moment in the future where every new car will be SUV like. If that happen I strongly suggest to stop producing private vehicles and start using only public transport – it will be a matter of dignity.

  • PK

    meh mercedes will bring it back one day eventually. i’ve seen this kind of story before lmfao

  • Salih Ahzem

    The first generation aged pretty well I think…

  • KAG25

    I saw a first gen recently, I forgot how tiny they are, size of a miata. I wouldn’t mind a AMG version for the summer.

    • Salih Ahzem

      They are pretty rare though, only around 4,000 SLK 32 AMG’s ever built. If you talking about one with the AMG styling pack and wheels, that’s different then…

      • KAG25

        The AMG, would be worth it with the upgrades and motor. I hate the AMG styling pack thing now.

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