2020 Mercedes AMG SLC vs. 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/24

The AMG SLC’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 4C doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The AMG SLC has standard NECK-PRO Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the NECK-PRO Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The 4C doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The AMG SLC has a standard Active Brake Assist, which uses forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The 4C doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The AMG SLC’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The 4C doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The AMG SLC offers optional Parktronic™ to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The 4C doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The AMG SLC’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The 4C doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

The AMG SLC’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 4C doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The AMG SLC has standard Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 4C doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the AMG SLC and the 4C have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The Mercedes AMG SLC weighs 1040 pounds more than the Alfa Romeo 4C. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

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The AMG SLC’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the 4C’s (5 vs. 4 years).

There are over 2 times as many Mercedes dealers as there are Alfa Romeo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the AMG SLC’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Alfa Romeo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Alfa Romeo is ranked 29th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Alfa Romeo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 8 places higher in reliability than Alfa Romeo.

Engine

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The AMG SLC’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 148 more horsepower (385 vs. 237) and 126 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 258) than the 4C’s 1.8 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the AMG SLC’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The 4C doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The AMG SLC has 5.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the 4C (15.9 vs. 10.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes AMG SLC, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the 4C.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the AMG SLC’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 4C:

AMG SLC

4C

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.5 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the AMG SLC has larger tires than the 4C (F:235/40R18 & R:255/35R18 vs. F:205/45R17 & R:235/40R18).

The AMG SLC’s 235/40R18 front and 255/35R18 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 4C’s standard 45 series front and 40 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the AMG SLC has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch front wheels are standard on the 4C.

The AMG SLC has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 4C, it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The AMG SLC offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The 4C’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The AMG SLC has standard power steering to make quick and controllable low speed maneuvers easy. The 4C doesn’t offer power steering.

The AMG SLC has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The 4C doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the AMG SLC’s wheelbase is 2 inches longer than on the 4C (95.7 inches vs. 93.7 inches).

For better maneuverability, the AMG SLC 43’s turning circle is 3.7 feet tighter than the 4C’s (36.8 feet vs. 40.5 feet).

Chassis

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The AMG SLC’s standard power retractable hardtop allows a seamless transition from an open car, to a completely sealed coupe. The 4C doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.

Cargo Capacity

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The AMG SLC has a much larger trunk with its top down than the 4C Spider (6.5 vs. 3.7 cubic feet). The AMG SLC has a much larger trunk with its top up than the 4C Spider (10.1 vs. 3.7 cubic feet).

With its convertible body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the AMG SLC offers cargo security. The 4C’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

Servicing Ease

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The AMG SLC uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 4C uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the AMG SLC is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the 4C. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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When three different drivers share the AMG SLC, the memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver and front passenger’s seat positions, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle. The 4C doesn’t offer a memory system.

The AMG SLC’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 4C doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The AMG SLC’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 4C has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The AMG SLC’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The 4C’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

The AMG SLC’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4C’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

If the windows are left open on the AMG SLC the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote (remote must be aimed at door sensor). On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the 4C can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Keyless-Go standard on the AMG SLC allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Alfa Romeo 4C doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The AMG SLC’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The 4C’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The AMG SLC offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The 4C doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The AMG SLC has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the AMG SLC detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the AMG SLC has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The 4C doesn’t offer cornering lights. The AMG SLC also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The AMG SLC’s sun-visors swivel front-to-side to block glare from the side windows. The 4C’s visors are fixed into the windshield header.

The AMG SLC’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4C’s power mirror controls are on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

When the AMG SLC is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The 4C’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The AMG SLC’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The 4C doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.

The AMG SLC offers optional heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the 4C.

The AMG SLC’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The 4C doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The AMG SLC’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the AMG SLC’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The 4C doesn’t offer a filtration system.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the AMG SLC offers an optional Active Distance Assist Distronic, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 4C doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To help keep the driver’s hands on the wheel, the AMG SLC has standard steering wheel controls for the radio. The 4C doesn’t offer steering wheel audio controls.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address with audible turn-by-turn directions, a GPS navigation system is available on the AMG SLC. The AMG SLC’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The 4C doesn’t offer a navigation system.

With optional voice command, the AMG SLC offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The 4C doesn’t offer a voice control system.

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