WE British love our drop tops despite having a climate which could hardly be described as Mediterranean.
There is something about getting your top off and feeling the wind in your face, even if hat, gloves and a full blast of the heater are often required.
Mercedes has a bit of a tradition with convertibles, the SLK, first seen on the roads in 1996, is easily the most recognisable, with sharp styling, two seat sportiness and the instantly recognisable three-pointed star.
Its successor, the SLC, combines similar chic styling, offers better performance and still has one of the best folding metal roofs in the business. In the AMG Line livery on the model driven here, it looks stunning.
While the SLK definitely had feminine appeal, the SLC has a more muscular, aggressive road presence, with elegant new grille and air scoops, large, eliptical light clusters, wide rear haunches, refreshed rear lights, bumper and tailpipes.
The AMG Line styling adds 18-inch alloy wheels with a 10-spoke design, speed sensitive sports steering, red brake calipers and Nappa leather seats in black with red contrast stitching, lowered sports suspension and front and rear aprons. The whole package is aesthetically pleasing on the eye.
The electro-hydraulic roof is a clever affair with the opening and closing process, which takes around 18 second, able to be completed at speeds of up to 25mph. Folding neatly into the boot space, it still provides a surprising amount of luggage space with 225 litres available. This rises to 335 litres with the roof in place.
The interior is still a classy affair, even if the Merc design has been around for a while now, including the single stalk wiper and indicator. Fit and finish are first rate with classy soft touch finish to dash and doors, and another neat touch are the stainless steel sports pedals.
It features two large, electrically controlled leather sports seats and flat bottomed steering wheel. The centrepiece is a seven-inch media display which controls connectivity, infotainment and navigation features. The selection process however is not the most intuitive.
It also includes Mercedes Dynamic Select option which allows the driver to tailor the engine, steering and suspension to their particular needs via the rotary control between the front seats. There are four settings, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport +, which really explain themselves.
This can deliver either leisurely driving around town, to real firecracker performance with stiffened suspension, sharper steering and increased engine performance, while changing the exhaust to a much sportier note.
Select economy mode and fuel consumption is surprisingly good. Official economy is around 47mpg, but real world driving proved nearer 37-38mpg, good considering the amount of motorway driving.
The SLC is packed with safety kit as standard and plenty of optional extras. There are all round airbags, plus traction and stability programmes and roll-over protection.
All you need is the weather. There is a standard air deflector to keep turbulence to a minimum, but a worthwhile options with our weather are AIRSCARF, which uses air outlets in the head restraints, to pump warm around the necks of the driver and passenger and heated seats. At £395 and £330 respectively, these were some of the cheaper options on the model which bumped the price up from just over £39,000 to £56,000.
Most executive/luxury cars offer a comprehensive options list, so you can spend a small fortune if you want all the bells and whistles.
The SLC is a worthy successor to the SLK. Not an out an out sports car, but more than enough performance to satisfy most.
Mercedes-Benz SLC 300 AMG line auto
Mechanical: 245bhp, 1,991cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 9-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 5.8 seconds
Combined MPG: 47.1
Insurance Group: 44
C02 emissions: 138g/km
Bik rating: 26%
Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles