Here is a picture of a Mercedes-AMG SLC43 bathed in the golden light of the setting sun because I thought that was a nice way to send it off. Its time came and went and after this model year, it’s probably not coming back.
Unnamed sources speaking with both Car and Driver and Automobile confirmed that the hardtop roadster will not have a successor after this cycle plan. So, if you’ve been dreaming about getting a brand new, compact Mercedes roadster, this is your last chance.
Launched in 1996 as the SLK, the roadster was beloved and popular, competing with the likes of the BMW Z3 and the Porsche Boxster. Mercedes-Benz AMGed it in 2001, giving it the 3.2-liter supercharged V6, which was good for 349 horsepower.
In 2006, we saw the first Black Series Mercedes with the SLK 55 AMG Black Series. It had a 5.5-liter V8 that produced 400 horsepower. Only 100 were made. Thankfully, the Black Series moniker hasn’t become as saturated with new models like AMG has, and the SLK with always have a special place in my heart for being the first.
In 2015, Mercedes decided to rename the SLK to SLC because of... reasons. And now we have reached the end.
It speaks to the greater pattern of small coupes and roadsters disappearing from the market because as much as we love the idea of them, most just don’t bring in the sales figures as justification for manufacturers to keep making them. BMW has the same problem and an executive there told Bloomberg in 2014:
“The sports-car market is roughly half of what it used to be,” Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales, said in an interview at the manufacturer’s headquarters in Munich. “Post-2008, it just collapsed. I’m not so sure it’ll ever fully recover.”
In Europe and North America, the car’s role as a status symbol has diminished, with sport-utility vehicles and their smaller crossover cousins becoming more popular. In China and emerging markets, Robertson said, hot weather, pollution and a penchant for chauffeur-driven limousines have made sports cars less popular among well-heeled clients.
Nevertheless, the future of Mercedes SUVs and crossovers looks as robust as ever. So there’s that.
We have reached out to Mercedes for comment and will update if we hear back.