If you’re in the luxury game, the pressure to build high performance editions of almost every model in your line-up is a strong one. Most premium brands pursue volume as aggressively as possible, extending their reach into every conceivable niche to create a balance of both divine (Audi RS7) and strange (BMW X6 M) bedfellows. After replacing its longtime SLK nameplate with the new SLC roadster, Mercedes-Benz turns its hot rodding skills to the 2017Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 and continues its tradition of dumping a big engine in a small car – with a few important twists.
The first being that the Mercedes-AMG SLC 43’s motor is only big when it comes to power, because its down considerably in terms of cylinders and displacement when compared to its SLK55 AMG predecessor. Gone is the rambunctious V8 of years past and in its place is a biturbo 3.0-liter V6 that has been tuned to provide 362 horses and 384 lb-ft of torque. Nice numbers, and good enough to eclipse both the Porsche 718 Boxster S and the BMW Z4, but shy of the 415 ponies and 398 lb-ft twist provided by the 5.5-liter unit it replaces. Purists will also be disappointed to learn that the hand-built, one engineer / one engine philosophy that guided past AMG models is nowhere to be found with the SLC 43, as the drivetrain is pulled off the standard production line before being stuffed into the convertible.
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