The Mercedes SLK becomes Mercedes SLC with this mid-life facelift that brings a raft of changes to the line-up.

Styling changes are limited to new bumpers, grille and lights outside, and a tidied up interior with new switchgear, ‘propellor’ vents and central infotainment screen above the centre console. So far, so ho-hum. The SLK was a good-looking thing and the SLC remains so.

More interesting changes occur under the bonnet, with the addition of a new, twin-turbo, 3.0-litre V6 engine for the range-topping AMG SLC43. Some will lament the passing of the old SLK55 AMG, the last car to use the epically shouty, naturally-aspirated 5.5 V8, but such is ‘progress’.

The AMG SLC43 actually makes less power than the SLK55, but 364bhp and a meaty 384lb/ft of torque aren’t to be sniffed at. The 0-62mph time is only 0.2secs behind at 4.7secs, and the top speed stays the same at a limited 155mph. That kind of performance puts its in competition with the Porsche Boxster GTS and Jaguar F-Type V6 S.

A nine-speed automatic gearbox sends the power to the rear wheels. Mercedes quotes improved economy of 36.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 178g/km.

The handling is beefed up with new front and rear axles, and stiffer engine and gearbox mounts. Sports suspension with adaptive damping and a mechanical limited slip diff are options.

At the other end of the SLC range, there’s a choice of three petrol engines ranging from 154bhp (SLC180) to 242bhp (SLC300), and a 201bhp (SLC250d) diesel.

The SLC300 and SLC250d come with the nine-speed auto ‘box as standard, which brings with it a choice of five driving modes; Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Eco and Individual. All models come with the usual plethora of driving assistance systems as standard, or as an option.

Merc’s Comand Online infotainment system is available, too, with a 7in touchscreen, internet access, voice control and multifarious connectivity options.

Order books for the Mercedes SLC open in January, when pricing will be announced. A starting point around £35,000 looks likely.

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By Only Motors