The formula that so defined the previous SLKs are kept: the folding metal roof, long hood, and small overall dimensions. The base SLC180, despite the now-typical numbering mismatch, will be powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine that chucks out 156hp and 250Nm of torque. Moving further up the chain comes the SLC200 and SLC300, both of which are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, albeit tuned differently: 184hp with 300Nm of torque and 245hp with 370Nm of torque, respectively.
There’s also a turbodiesel variant, the SLC250d, in the mix with a 2.1-litre displacement and a power output of 204hp and a torque figure that, at 500Nm, comes very close to the highest-spec AMG SLC43 version. It will certainly make quick work of any overtaking manoeuvres, albeit at the expense of an inspiring engine note, which in a roadster could be a paramount concern.
Finally, there’s the top dog in the range, which was previously known under the moniker of SLK55 AMG, but henceforth as the Mercedes-AMG SLC43. Gone is the naturally aspirated M152 5.5-litre V8 of old, and in its place is a 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbo producing 367hp and 520Nm of torque, allowing it to accelerate to 100km/h from standstill in 4.7 seconds.
It’s a curious development, because even while undergoing an engine downsizing in concurrence with a new model's introduction, other manufacturers are careful to offer power figures from the smaller and more efficient engines that match or exceed their larger and thirstier predecessors - usually with the aid of turbocharging. In the case of the Mercedes-AMG SLC43, however, it offers less torque and fewer horsepowers. By contrast, the older V8 unit produced 419hp and 540Nm, endowing the SLC43's predecessor with a century sprint time of 4.1 seconds.
Perhaps this is a deliberate toning down of the slightly mad character that AMG models are attributed with and was a worthwhile trade-off for considerably better fuel economy and emissions figures. Engines aside, the SLC43 comes added kit to enhance the driving experience, including sports suspension and an optional mechanical limited-slip differential and AMG’s Ride Control adaptive suspension. Of course, its exterior has also been given a more aggressive treatment and larger wheels.
All variants of the freshly renamed SLC range come with Mecedes-Benz’s 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission, although a six-speed manual is available for the SLC180 and SLC200. Also standard is DYNAMIC SELECT which lets drivers choose between Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Eco, and Individual modes.
The SLC range comes with some noteworthy upgrades such as standard Active Brake Assist, Dynamic LED headlights are optional on the lower-tier variants while standard on the higher-end, and the new COMMAND interface is displayed through a larger high-resolution 7-inch panel while a new 4.5-inch display is sandwiched between the analogue instrument cluster.
We'll have more on the new Mercedes-Benz roadster as it's unveiled at the 2016 Detroit Motor Show in January.