Mercedes-Benz is working on an updated version of its SLK that when complete will carry the SLC title in line with the automaker’s new naming strategy. It turns out the SLC, prototypes of which can be viewed here, will be introduced as a 2017 model, which means there will be a final, 2016 model year for the SLK.
According to Car and Driver, Mercedes will tweak the 2016 SLK lineup as it gears up for the arrival of the SLC. The big news is that the current manual transmission will be dropped, meaning Mercedes will have a full automatic passage car lineup here in the U.S.
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The entry-level SLK250 is also expected to drop its current turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque, in favor of the turbocharged 2.0-liter four fitted to the latest C-Class, where it rates in at 241 hp and 273 lb-ft. The car will be badged a SLK300 to reflect the engine change. A new nine-speed automatic is also expected for the 2016 model year.
Car and Driver lists significant increases in pricing for the 2016 SLK range. Pricing for the 2016 SLK300 is said to start at $47,925, which is about $3k more expensive than the current 2015 SLK250. Pricing for the 2016 SLK350 and SLK55 AMG models are said to also see rises to $60,125 and $73,525, respectively.
The change in pricing doesn’t come as a complete surprise. As mentioned above, Mercedes is gearing up for the arrival of the SLC, which is expected to be positioned higher than the current SLK. This will allow the automaker to create a gap that could be filled by a new entry-level sports car forming part of the next-generation compact car range due later this decade.