by Michael Butler
How did we manage to get by before the advent of compact luxury crossover performance SUVs? What did we drive that offered lots of interior and cargo space, but also had a luxurious interior, excellent handling, and a solid safety record? Who knows, and besides, we have cars such as the GLC, BMW X3, and Audi Q5, that do everything every other car does, but in one package. Uniformity is so hot right now. So what makes the GLC43 so special? Well, it's seriously fast, seriously luxurious, and seriously safe, and can do pretty much everything other than taking on an off-road trail. So for those who spend most of their time in town, something like this must look mighty attractive. We think the GLC43 is a competent performance car, family SUV and luxury vehicle all wrapped into one, so read on if you want to know why it's so good at doing it all.
The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 received quite the makeover for 2020, starting with the exterior, which gets a redesigned headlight setup, and slim-line AMG-only grille. The front apron accentuated side sill panels, and aerodynamically optimized AMG light-alloy wheels give the GLC a sharpened look. Inside the cabin, the latest version of the MBUX infotainment system gets AMG-specific functions, and you also get an AMG steering wheel in DINAMICA microfibre and Mercedes-AMG's emotion start system. Under the hood, the GLC's 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 gets a power boost to 385 horsepower, 23 more than the previous year model.
|AMG GLC 43 4MATIC SUV||
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
There's a notable difference between the 2019 and 2020 GLC43 thanks to a set of redesigned slim-line LED headlights and taillights, which drastically sharpen up the looks, and a new AMG-exclusive grille with slim vertical bars in that trademark Mercedes-Benz shape. The GLC43 looks more aggressive than its non-AMG counterparts thanks to a deep front air dam, twin power-dome hood, flared side sills, and rear valance as well as a redesigned set of AMG 20-inch alloy wheels. With short overhangs, coupe-like side windows, and large wheels, the GLC43 looks more crossover than traditional SUV. Standard features for 2020 include a set of anodized roof rails, power-folding side mirrors, and a power liftgate. Optional extras include brushed aluminum running boards, 21-inch AMG split 10-spoke wheel with black accents and a panoramic sunroof.
The 2020 Mercedes-AMG is classified as a high-performance compact luxury crossover SUV. That's quite a mouthful, but the GLC is, in fact, on the smaller end of the scale when it comes to its exterior dimensions. With a total length of 183.5 inches, the GLC43 is almost three inches shorter than the BMW X3 M but has a longer wheelbase at 113.1 inches, which gives it that wheel-in-the-corner stance. The overall width is 82.5 inches when you take the side mirrors into account. The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 is relatively lightweight when you compare it to rivals and its bigger and more powerful sibling, the GLC 63. With a curb weight of 4,191 pounds, the GLC43 is almost 300 pounds lighter than the GLC 63, and over 200 pounds lighter than the BMW X3 M40i.
Unless you're behind the wheel of a Mercedes-AMG GT R, which is available in yellows and greens that will burn holes in the back of your head, you get 12 color options that range from reserved silver to retirement home beige. Let's start with the classics; Mercedes-AMG offers the GLC43 in Black, Polar White, and Iridium Silver metallic; perfectly reasonable colors which don't say much about the car or driver. More in-your-face color options include Selenite Grey metallic, designo Selenite Grey Magno, and designo Cardinal Red metallic, the latter being pricey options that look the part, even if you yourself have to part with thousands of dollars. If we were the ones with the money, we'd go with any one of the silvers or greys on offer, traditionally the colors to go for when buying a fast Mercedes-Benz. Specifically, we'd get one in Selenite Grey metallic.
Simply put, the GLC43 is one of the best-performing cars in its class, and those who don't know what exactly this car is will be blown away when the traffic light turns green. Around town, the twin-turbocharged V6 offers almost seamless power delivery, which means you get tons of torque at the tip of your toes. Overtaking around town is done in the blink of an eye, and out on the freeway, miles are gulped down with a voracious appetite. The official zero to sixty sprint time is 4.7 seconds, which makes it miles quicker than the Audi SQ5 which is capable of sprinting to sixty in 5.1 seconds. The Porsche Macan S with Sport Chrono comes in with a 4.9 second sprint time, but the BMW X3 M40i takes the cake with a sprint time of only 4.4 seconds; that's seriously quick. Get one in a nondescript color such as Polar White or Lunar Blue metallic, and you'll have yourself a stealth bomber of a car that won't raise the eyebrow of even the most suspicious copper. Of course, as has become the SUV standard, AWD is your only drivetrain option.
What makes the GLC43 one of the quickest cars in its class? Well, it's not some intricate hybrid system; what you'll find lurking under the hood is a traditional 3.0-liter V6 with two turbos strapped on for laughs. For 2020, this powertrain gets a slight power bump via some ECU trickery, and the numbers grow from 362 to 385, a jump of 23 hp. Torque sits at a mighty 384 lb-ft, which is available from 2,500 rpm all the way to 4,500 rpm, which explains why the GLC43 feels like a freight train anywhere in the middle of its rev range. Power is sent to all four wheels via a responsive AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT nine-speed transmission, and AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive, with a noticeable bias towards the rear wheels. Shifts are completed in confidence, and you won't wait long for downshifts. As with most turbocharged cars in this class, we found it best to shift earlier than later to stay in that beefy mid-range powerband.
Sure it can go really, really fast in a straight line, faster than most in fact, but how does it handle a few twists and turns? Well, depending on your mood, or climatic influences, you can select between five different driving modes, all tuned to sharpen or relax throttle and transmission response, sharpen or soften the adaptive suspension, and stiffen or lighten the steering. These modes are simply named Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual. For such a relatively large car, the GLC43 handles with exceptional poise and stability. The well-weighted steering, especially when set to Sport mode, offers pinpoint precision, but as with its contemporaries, it doesn't give much in the way of feedback. The rear-biased 4MATIC AWD system helps the GLC pull hard out of corners, and the adaptive suspension, based on the Mercedes-Benz Air Body Control system is easy to set up for the task at hand. All in all, you don't feel like you're actually driving an SUV, which is a good thing, except in the comfort stakes where the ride can be a bit lumpy.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC43 is a 4,191 pound SUV with a 385 hp twin-turbo V6 under its hood. That should put you in the right frame of mind before we continue. The EPA rates the 2020 GLC43 at 18/24/21 mpg city/highway/combined, which isn't too shabby when you consider that its more powerful sibling, the GLC63, will see that number drop into the teens; 16/22/18 mpg to be exact. The BMW X3 M40i will return an impressive 21/27/23 mpg and on top of that, is the quicker car. With a total fuel capacity of 17.4 gallons, the 2020 GLC43, with its more powerful engine, will achieve an estimated maximum range of 365 miles.
You can be sure of one thing when you purchase a new Mercedes-AMG car in 2020: you're going to get a class-leading interior. The folks over at AMG have done a sterling job at crafting and interior for the GLC43 that's both sporty and family-friendly at the same time. As many knobs and buttons have been removed from the dashboard as possible, and a floating display takes center stage. Craftsmanship and fit and finish are top-class and could compete with cars above the GLC's pay grade. The 2020 car gets a standard AMG menu with Racetimer
That lets the driver view speed in the currently engaged gear, as well as boost pressure, engine oil temperature, and transmission oil temperature, and a second screen displays your AMG Dynamic Select settings. And the AMG Racetimer lets you record your lap times when out on the track. AMG Nappa leather covers the power front seats, which feature four-way lumbar support, and the new AMG steering wheel gets a cool flat-bottom design. You also get niceties such as dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, 64-color LED ambient lighting, and a HomeLink garage door opener. Optional extras include three-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.
The cabin of the GLC43 is an airy space, especially when fitted with the optional panoramic sunroof, and getting in and out is easy thanks to the GLCs higher than average ride height. Once inside, the sport bucket seats get beautiful contouring, and the perfect driving position is easily attainable for most drivers. Headroom in the front is a decent 37.8 inches, growing to 38.5 inches in the rear, so there's plenty of space for six-footers. The spacious GLC gets 40.8 inches of legroom in the front and 37.3 inches in the back, which is a boon for long-distance traveling. Shoulder room comes in at 57.3 inches in the front, and 56.5 inches in the rear.
Mercedes-AMG builds some of the best interiors in the business, and part and parcel with that is a range of premium quality materials and finishes that wouldn't seem out of place on much more expensive cars. The beautifully sculpted seats in the GLC43 get Soft Dinamica microsuede seat inserts, and the seat side bolsters, thigh inserts, head restraints, and other seat surfaces are hand-fitted in MB-Tex material with red topstitching. Smaller details include red seat belts and brushed aluminum pedals. Optional materials include designo Platinum White Pearl and Black Nappa leather seats, Dark Brown Linden Wood or Natural Grain Grey Oak wood trim, as well as AMG carbon-fiber trim inserts.
The airy cabin of the GLC43 might offer good space for its occupants, but it suffers from a lack of trunk space, especially with the rear seats in the upright position. Behind the rear seats, the GLC43 offers 17.6 cubic feet of space, which seems minuscule when compared to the likes of the Audi SQ5, which provides a spacious 25.1 cubic feet. The GLC does get power-folding 40/20/40-split rear seats, which are easy to fold down. With the rear seats in the downward position, the GLC43's cargo area is expanded to a useful 56.5 cubic feet, and the power-fold system also allows you to power fold either the left or right seat back for added versatility. Small items can be stored in the front door pockets which also include water bottle holders, or in your choice of glovebox, center console storage bin, or the small nook in front of the center console control pad.
From the inside out, the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 is stuffed with premium features, which is an impressive feat considering the comprehensive amount of optional extras on offer. The exterior of the 2020 car gets standard anodized roof rails, a power liftgate, LED lighting front to back, as well as a set of exclusive AMG-designed 20-inch wheels, rain-sensing window wipers, and brushed aluminum running boards. A panoramic roof is an optional extra. The cabin of the GLC43 bristles with tech; there's power front sport seats with driver-seat memory, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 64-color LED ambient lighting system heated front seats, a HomeLink garage door opener, and MB-Tex upholstery. Active driver assistance features include active brake assist, blind-spot assist with exit warning, crosswind assist, and adaptive braking. Optional interior features include ventilated front seats, AMG performance bucket seats, and a three-position memory system for the front seat passenger.
The 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment multimedia display in the 2020 GLC43 dominates the front half of the cabin and displays colors in rich and crisp clarity. This system includes optional integrated navigation and is controllable via touchscreen, console touchpad, and the touch control steering wheel. The voice control with natural language understanding works well if you speak the Queen's English perfectly. This system also offers standard Apple CarPlay and
Android Auto integration, Bluetooth streaming, dual USB-C audio ports, an HD Radio receiver and a six-month trial subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio. Optional infotainment features include a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a head-up display unit, in-car Wi-Fi, wireless charging, and a 13-speaker Burmester surround system with 13 high-quality speakers. We found that Mozart's Symphony No.35 in D did this system justice. Overall, the transition from COMAND to MBUX has been a great upgrade for the GLC43.
Between 2017 and 2018, the GLC43 AMG was recalled a total of nine times, which might sound a bit disconcerting, but most of these recalls were aimed at resolving small issues and did not affect any major mechanical systems. Examples of these recalls are a November 2019 recall notice for a safety system malfunction that would read seatbelts as unlatched even if they were. Another recall was issued for sunroof panels that could potentially detach. Fortunately, the GLC43 is without a recall at this stage in 2020. J.D. Power gives the 2020 GLC43 a consumer verified score of 80 out of 100, and Mercedes-AMG will cover their performance SUV with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which includes drivetrain, corrosion, and roadside assistance cover for the same time/distance.
It might be a high-performance turbocharged beast of a car, but it will serve as a family SUV for the majority of its lifespan, which can only mean one thing: it needs to be safe. The partial test the NHTSA performed on the 2020 model revealed a solid performance in the side impact categories, and it also managed a four out of five-star performance for rollover protection. The IIHS, on the other hand, has almost completely tested a 2020 model, and while it didn't get any sort of award, it proved to be pretty safe across all tests, while in 2019 it was chosen as a Top Safety Pick Plus.
It's getting more and more difficult to impress crash safety rating agencies, but Mercedes-AMG has pulled one out the bag with the GLC43: standard safety equipment is above average, and should put most at ease. Standard gear for 2020 includes LED headlights with daytime running lights, seven airbags including a driver knee 'bag, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and an anti-theft alarm system with a remote panic feature. It's the electronic safety tech that is the actual star of the show: the 2020 car gets standard active brake assist, blind-spot monitoring with exit warning assist, and adaptive brake assist. The list of optional safety gear is expensive: new owners have the option of going with evasive steering assist, active speed limit and active lane change assist, or why not go for adaptive high-beam assist or a surround-view camera system. You can spec the GLC43 to the moon when it comes to safety features.
The fact that there are a whole class of compact luxury performance crossover SUVs is by itself a strange phenomenon, but if there's a gap in the market, you'd better fill it before the competition, right? Well, Mercedes-AMG has overfilled that gap with the powerful thrust of a twin-turbocharged V6. The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 receives a makeover for 2020, which turns an already handsome car into an SUV that manages to look muscular and understated at the same time, something we like very much. The turbocharged six under the hood also gets a small power jump to 385 hp, which allows the GLC43 to out-accelerate its competition during independent testing, and we love its brutish nature and middle-of-the-ground power balance when compared to the insane GLC 63. On the road, the adaptive suspension is beautifully balanced and makes the GLC feel nimble beyond the realm of SUVs. The exterior of the GLC 43 looks aggressive enough, but at the end of the day, it really is just another crossover SUV-looking thing. The interior is beautifully crafted and packed with tech, and the options list is dauntingly extensive, and you're sure paying for that three-pointed star, but even in its most basic form is better than most of the competition, and compared to the coupe version, offers a lot more space. The GLC43 goes up against the likes of the Audi SQ5 and BMW X3 M40i, but we'd have the three-pointed star any time of the day.
Getting behind the wheel of a 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 will set you back $59,500, excluding tax, registration, and a destination fee of $995. The equivalent from BMW is the X3 M40i, which is powered by an inline-six turbo engine producing 382 hp. The Bimmer will cost $55,900, excluding fees, which places it right next to the AMG, and the SQ5 from Audi starts at $52,900 for the Premium TFSI AWD. The trouble with the GLC43 is the fact that you can spec it with so many optional extras that the price can go through the roof. Fully optioned, the 2020 GLC43 will cost you a staggering $90,000.
The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC is only available in one trim level, which makes things easier when it comes to shopping for one. Still, as we've mentioned, the options list for this car is rather extensive, so configuring one to your exact needs is still an option. Standard exterior features include LED head and taillights, 20-inch AMG alloy wheels, rain-sensing window wipers, and brushed aluminum side steps. There's also a total of 12 exterior colors with premium colors such as designo Selenite Grey Magno costing up to $2,020. Inside, you get power seats, dual-zone climate control, and a 10.25-inch display with all the modern infotainment services included. Optional extras include Nappa-leather seats, a heated steering wheel, ventilated seats, and more active driver assistance features than you can shake a crash-test dummy at.
As if the 2020 GLC43 doesn't already feature enough standard equipment and services, Mercedes-AMG has gone ahead and spoilt buyers with a massive options list. The exterior of the GLC43 can be covered in designo Selenite Grey Magno paint for a cool $2,020, or why not roll on a set of 21-inch AMG split 10-spoke wheels with black accents for $1,500? The exterior lighting package adds an intelligent light system and adaptive high beam assist for $800. Inside, new owners get the option of wrapping their seats in $1,620 Magma Grey and Black leather and add front seat ventilation for $450. For the gearheads out there, we'd highly recommend the $2,500 AMG performance seat package for $2,500. If you're keen on all things tech, then the Multimedia package should get your attention: for $1,250, you can add augmented video for navigation, live traffic information, and speed limit assist.
With only one trim on offer, it's pretty obvious which GLC43 you should buy, but thankfully Mercedes-AMG gives new buyers a mountain of optional extras, which means no GLC43 should have to be the same. So with that in mind, let us give you a rundown on what we would go for if we had the money (sigh). First off, we'd get one in Selenite Grey Metallic for $720, and match it with a panoramic roof and the tasty AMG exterior carbon fiber package. Moving to the interior, we wouldn't be able to say no to those optional AMG performance seats, and we'd also love to play our favorite DMX tracks through the sublime 13-speaker surround sound Burmester system which costs only $850. To top things off, we'd insist on the $1,700 driver assistance package, which adds active steering assist, as well as cross-traffic assist and more.
As if the GLC43 wasn't quick enough, Mercedes-AMG thought it well to fit their compact crossover GLC with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that produces 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. Independent testing has seen this nuclear sleeper reach sixty in under four seconds; that's supercar fast. All of that performance hurts fuel economy, however, and the EPA rates the GLC63 will manage around 16/22/18 mpg city/highway/combined. The GLC63 weighs a good few hundred pounds more, but still retains the excellent balance of the GLC43, although it rides a bit harder over the slow stuff. Out on the road, the GLC feels lightyears faster than the 43, and one has to take care not to get into too much trouble, as triple digits are reached in the blink of an eye. Inside, the GLC offers the same beautifully crafted interior and massive options list. At $73,750, the GLC is perfect for those who want to stun Corvette owners, but we'd be perfectly happy with the GLC43.
BMW's X3 has been a popular choice in the compact luxury crossover market since its launch back in 2003 and has grown from strength to strength into what is now a supremely capable and luxurious SUV, and in M40i guise, it will blow the doors off many lesser performance cars. This BMW is powered by a 3.0-liter BMW TwinPower turbo inline-six motor that produces 382 hp and will get to sixty in an astonishing 4.4 seconds; that's half a second faster than the GLC43's official time. The BMW is exceptionally agile on the road and will grip on for dear life, no matter what speed you enter a corner at. The exterior styling looks nice and brawny, and inside this Bimmer shows off with a futuristic interior design and lots of passenger and interior space. The iDrive infotainment system is better than the system you get in the GLC43. What we don't like is the X3's stiff suspension setup, heavy steering and road noise at higher speeds. The BMW is a more explicit car and should find favor with humans who like to make a noise.
Check out some informative Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 SUV video reviews below.