by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

SPY: The 2016 Mercedes-Benz SL facelift (R 231) and SLC (R 172) models get uncovered of secrets

For the 2016 model year, Mercedes-Benz will revamp both its roadster lineups. Along with the facelift, the current model generation SLK will receive a new title, according to the new nomenclature for Mercedes-Benz vehicles - SLC, which shows that the R 172 generation is derived from the C-Class. The SL moniker stays and will stay the same onwards, as it is an iconic name that has been around for more than 60 years.

The refreshment process for the new SLC will ensure the roadster receives a dramatically revised front fascia, which will be aligned with the Sensual Purity design language seen on most of the latest Mercedes-Benz models. The headlight shape will softened and thus will get rounder and more elegant than what is to be seen today on the SLK. The inner graphics will be instantly recognizable thanks to the upper LED lid, which is a design characteristic reminiscent of the C-Class and GLC-Class.

The radiator grille will sport a single-louvre appearance, but it will also premiere the sensational Diamond pattern, which is to be found today on the A-Class facelift and CLA-Class. The rear end will be just slightly revamped, with the tail lights receiving new LED graphics, similar to those found on the E-Class facelift (BR212) and the GLE-Class (W 166).

In what the new SL is concerned, designers have focused on rejuvenating the car's frontal appearance. The roughly-cut headlights will be replaced by rounded lamps with distinctive LED inner graphics, similar to those found on the upcoming SLC. Notably, the biggest change will be the addition of the inverted grille with the Mercedes-Benz star placed in the middle. This new type of grille is similar to the Panamericana grille found on the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and it will also be gradually installed on several other models in the future. All these revisions will give the new SL facelift a radical appearance and will mean a radical departure from the current model generation.

The rear end will not be affected too much by the facelift, but the tail lights are bound to receive new LED graphics to match the current design philosophy of the brand. Both the new SL and the new SLC will feature newly-shaped front and rear bumpers and will also get new exhaust pipes with chrome finish. Inside, the once dashboard-integrated display for the COMAND Online infotainment system will be a thing of the past, as it will be replaced by a larger, dashboard-mounted display, like in the C-Class. Moreover, the fresh screens will be installed right in the centre of the dashboard, with the new air vents placed correctly in order to amend the current position imperfection.

Important changes are also programmed for the engine lineups as well. The new SL facelift will feature an upgraded powerplant for the SL 500 which delivers 455 hp, like in the S 500 model. The SL 600 V12 version will also get the engine from the S 600, rated at 530 hp. An SL 450 AMG 4MATIC with 367 hp is also possible, alongside the current SL 400 with 333 hp which will be kept in the offer as well. The new Mercedes-AMG SL 63 and SL 65 will offer the same output as for the current generation: 585 hp and, respectively, 630 hp.

It is possible, yet rather unlikely knowing the brand's strategy, the Mercedes-AMG SL 63 gets the new AMG V8 BITURBO with 4.0 litres, but then the output would have to be pushed beyond the current 585 hp to around 600 hp. Which means going from the 510 hp found in the M178 unit of the Mercedes-AMG GT (C 190) - not an impossible task, given that the forthcoming Mercedes-AMG GT X is said to deliver around 550 hp and the future Mercedes-AMG E 63 S (BR213) coming towards the end of 2016 is also announced to push the peak output over 600 hp using a modified version of the M178 unit.

For the SLC, Mercedes-Benz will likely add new engines in the upper range of versions. The current SLK 350 will be replaced by an all new SLC 400 model powered by a 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine producing 333 hp. Moreso, the AMG SPORT lineup will expand thanks to the addition of the new SLC 450 AMG 4MATIC model with 367 hp. This new version will also become the first model of the SLK (former)/SLC (new) range to be equipped with a 4x4 platform in three generations (R 170, R 171 and today's R 172). Plans are the AMG model is ditched in favour of the above-mentioned SLC 450 AMG 4MATIC. However, the current Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG boasts a maximum output of 422 hp which is a long way from SLC 450 AMG 4MATIC's 367 hp. This leaves us to believe that the replacement model premiering with the arrival of facelift generation, which could be badged as Mercedes-AMG SLC 55 or even Mercedes-AMG SLC 63, should come equipped with the lower specification M178 unit found on the Mercedes-AMG GT and delivering 462 hp, 14 hp less than the M177 unit found on the Mercedes-AMG C 63.

The entry-level SLC will be the SLC 200 version boasting 184 hp, followed by the SLC 250 d with 204 hp and the SLC 250 model, whose output will rise from 211 hp to 218 hp. Technically speaking, both the SL facelift and SLC will be equipped with the latest safety and dynamic assistance systems that debuted on the S-Class and C-Class. The most recent generation of the COMAND Online infotainment system will be optionally available with Touchpad and Head Up Display (HUD). The Intelligent Drive safety package will also be offered as standard equipment, as well as the DIRECT SELECT suspension system and the AIRCAP and AIRSCARF aerodynamics and comfort features, borrowed from the E-Class Cabriolet (A 207).

Except the new SLC (R 172) and the new SL facelift (R 231) to be officially unveiled next year, either at the NAIAS Detroit in January or at Geneva Motor Show in March, following their official online presentation in December 2015 for the SLC and February 2016 for the SL facelift. Pricing is still unknown at this phase, but it should be kept the same for both models, given the fact we are talking about a mid-life cycle refreshment for the Mercedes-Benz roasters.

Source: Mercedes-Benz Passion Blog / Walko-Art

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