The Porsche 718 Boxster provides a ready-made yardstick by which to measure the objective qualities of AMG’s new V6.
The comparison isn’t quite perfect for our purposes; the Boxster was tested in dry conditions and the SLC in damp but drying ones, and that had plenty to do with the disappointing 5.5sec 0-60mph time the SLC posted.
Then again, so it should be. Given its power and torque advantages, in fact, you might have expected the SLC 43 to be faster still.
If you believe that any AMG worth its badge should be capable of blowing its competition into the weeds on accelerative punch – and since so many AMGs have done exactly that over the years, plenty of owners will – this one may come up short of your expectations.
The engine sounds potent enough: angry and waspish with the active exhaust set to its louder modes. And there’s nothing wrong with its style of delivery, which is responsive and nicely loutish in the lower part of the rev range but still builds in urgency as the revs rise.
In manual mode, the nine-speed automatic gearbox shifts smartly enough, will hold a ratio right to the redline if you want and generally feels more obedient than we’ve found AMG’s usual seven-speed ’box to be on occasion.
But in the SLC 43, that new V6 has a little too much mass to move: almost 300kg more than the Porsche’s flat four has to lug around. Given that the car never really feels viscerally fast in any of its nine gears, that weight penalty takes a toll.
For every SLC owner interested in the car’s outright pace, of course, there will probably be several who seldom venture beyond 4000rpm and are more interested in the power of the Harman/Kardon stereo than the biturbo V6.
This car is at least 50% cruiser, and its engine and gearbox are docile and slick in collaboration when the transmission is dumped in ‘D’. It’s well suited to the urban crawl and the motorway slog, too.
The hard-top is also better sealed against wind noise than a cloth roof would be and the active exhaust quietens down nicely in Comfort and Eco modes. It’s a shame, then, that refinement levels are compromised somewhat by a noisy ride, AMG’s suspension and steering bushings making for considerable road roar.