by Morgan Carter
Mercedes-Benz is still relatively new to the SUV Coupe scene, but the German manufacturer's experience and market acumen have served it well when it comes to the compact GLC. Released in 2016, the whole range has recently received several updates, and the AMG models weren't left out. The AMG GLC43 sits between the more mild-mannered GLC 300 and the truly wild AMG GLC 63, and boasts a bit more power with its 385-horsepower twin-turbo V6, although it delivers the same 384 lb-ft of torque. Some sacrifices are made in the name of style, with the sloping coupe roof resulting in slightly less passenger and cargo space, but the crossover's good looks make it worth it. Still, rivals like the BMW X4 M40i manage to deliver equally good looks and high performance, somewhat diminishing the GLC Coupe's monopoly on the market. However, Mercedes has also updated its tech offering. These changes will help keep the AMG's competitors from nipping too closely at its heels.
The AMG GLC43 Coupe receives quite a few tweaks and changes for the new year. Unlike the standard GLC 300, it doesn't get a new engine, but the layout of the components has been reconfigured to optimize throttle response and actually improves horsepower by 23 units. Furthermore, there are a number of driving modes offered by the new AMG Dynamic Select shifter. The exterior also received some attention, with the old grille being replaced with an AMG-specific Panamericana item with chrome-plated vertical fins, and new, rounded exhaust tips being added. The head- and taillights also received some updates to bring them in line with Mercedes' evolving modern style. Inside, the infotainment receives a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen for 2020, a touchpad, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.
The AMG crossover received some updates with the new year. It still rides on trademark 20-inch AMG Y five-spoke wheels, but the LED head- and taillights have been refreshed and the grille with horizontal bars has been replaced with the same Panamericana grille that first appeared on the AMG GT. It also inherits the AMG GLC 63's more upscale front bumper, and the old angular quad tailpipes have been swapped out with more rounded variants. LED daytime running lights are equipped as standard, along with a power liftgate and a power tilt-and-slide sunroof. A hands-free power liftgate is available.
As a midsize crossover, the AMG GLC43 doesn't have the stature of larger SUVs, measuring 187 inches in length, with a 113.1-inch wheelbase. It isn't overly tall, at 62.4 inches high, but at 82.5 inches with side mirrors included, it gives the GLC43 a squat stance. Its weight is quite average for the segment, though, with a curb weight of 4,235 lbs. High-performance rivals like the BMW X4 M40i weigh in around 87 pounds more.
Under the hood of the SUV, you'll find a 3.0-liter bi-turbo V6 engine. It's the same engine from previous years, but it has been reconfigured to offer an additional 23 hp, giving the powertrain a total output of 385 hp and 384 lb-ft. The engine also still sounds amazing. Unfortunately, these changes have done nothing to improve the coupe's 0 to 60 mph sprint time. Still, 4.7 seconds is nothing to sniff at. This is just a tad slower than the similarly V6-powered BMW X3 M40i, at 4.4 seconds. With the standard 20-inch wheels equipped, the GLC43 is electronically limited to 130 mph.
Servicing the engine is a nine-speed automatic gearbox, which directs the power to all four wheels. Several drive modes are available with the AMG Dynamic Select program, allowing you to choose between Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual modes, which alters throttle responses and transmission shifts.
On top of a powerful bi-turbo V6 engine, the AMG GLC43 Coupe gets a sport-tuned suspension, as well as an electrically-assisted sport steering and upgraded brakes. This all combines to give the crossover far superior performance and handling characteristics over the standard GLC 300.
The steering is light and quick in Comfort mode at lower speeds, helping the SUV coupe feel capable around town or in parking lots, despite its size. Shift to Sport mode, however, and the wheel gains some heft and becomes a bit more vocal about what the tires are doing. This allows you to maintain confidence when cruising down the highway or drifting around bends in the road. The AMG remains composed around turns, leaning slightly, rather than lurching like similarly sized SUVs.
Road comfort is surprisingly good for a crossover riding on 20-inch wheels with performance-oriented bones. Smaller wheels would feel better, but we can't really complain. The sport-tuned suspension is a little stiffer than the standard suspension on the GLC, but it's a worthwhile sacrifice for the improved sportiness.
The high-performance turbocharged V6 engine under the hood of the AMG SUV doesn't get the best fuel economy, but it isn't too bad in the grand scheme of things. With only all-wheel-drive available, the GLC43 can cover 18/24/21 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. This is quite on par with similarly powered rivals like the Jaguar F-Pace, which gets 18/23/20 mpg. The BMW X4 M40i manages better, at 21/27/23 mpg. With a 17.4-gallon tank of premium fuel in reserve, the Merc can cover 365 miles between gas station visits.
The interior is as opulent as you'd expect from the German manufacturer. Up to five passengers can be accommodated by the seating appointments, which are upholstered in Black MB-Tex synthetic leather with Dinamica microsuede inserts as standard. Leather and Premium Nappa leather upholstery are available too in a variety of color combinations. The coupe body gives the SUV slightly less headroom than the standard GLC, but there is still enough for average-sized adults. Legroom is more generous in the front row, and even the second row supplies enough for most adults. The front seats offer heating functions as standard and are power-adjustable with lumbar support and driver-seat memory. Visibility is decent, but the sloping roof and wide rear roof pillars can create blind-spots, which are monitored by the safety suite. The upper dash and door panels feature soft-touch MB-Tex, but Nappa leather is available, while wood, aluminum, and carbon fiber accents can be selected.
Coupe variants of SUVs usually suffer from lower cargo volume, but the AMG GLC43 offers the same 17.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats as the standard version, although this is less than the GLC 300's 19.4 cubic feet. Still, this should be enough for day-to-day necessities, with space enough for a dozen grocery bags, or half a dozen carry-ons. The rear seats can be folded down in a 40/20/40 split to free up 49.4 cubic feet of space for larger items. The power-folding function makes this even easier.
Small-item storage is nothing overly impressive, but there is room enough for the basics. Cupholders are offered in both seat rows, a standard glove compartment is supplied, and there is a center armrest cubby. The door pockets are quite narrow and small for an SUV, and there is not much in the way of storage around the tall, control-cluttered center stack.
Mercedes doesn't leave much off when it comes to features on the AMG Coupe. The standard MB-Tex upholstered seats are heated up front and offer power-adjustability with four-way lumbar and driver-seat memory. The cabin gets dual-zone climate control and a power tilt-and-slide sunroof. Keyless ignition, push-button start, and remote engine start are standard conveniences, and a 115-volt power outlet is supplied to charge your devices. Still, there is room for improvement, with the manufacturer offering AMG Performance seats with Nappa leather upholstery, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats, as well as tri-zone climate control as optional extras. A rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, and Pre-Safe comprise the standard safety suite, while available advanced safety features include rear cross-traffic alert, an active parking assistant, a head-up display, a surround-view camera, and Pre-Safe Plus, to name a few.
The infotainment suite was touched up with the 2020 update, and the AMG GLC43 now comes standard with a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen display, which is complemented by a touchpad interface, although voice activation is also possible. The suite is quite comprehensive and includes Bluetooth compatibility, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD Radio, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Dual USB ports are offered to charge or sync your smart devices. The cabin also features the FrontBass system, a design element that improves audio qualities by creating resonance chambers within the front dash. The advanced MBUX infotainment system is available as an optional upgrade and includes navigation. A Wi-Fi hotspot is also available, and the standard sound system can be upgraded to a 13-speaker Burmester premium audio setup.
J.D. Power awards the AMG GLC43 an overall score of 80 out of 100 for dependability, and the vehicle receives very few complaints. In 2019, it was recalled for problems in the Pre-Safe system and seatbelt pre-tensioners, as well as for a faulty air-bag deployment display. Mercedes-Benz offers a 50,000-mile/48-month limited warranty on new purchases, as well as roadside assistance for 50,000 miles/48 months.
The performance SUV has not been rated by the NHTSA; however, the IIHS awarded it overall scores of Good. It also received the organization's Top Safety Pick Plus award for 2019. The Coupe comes equipped with ABS, crosswind assist, traction and stability control, trailer stability control, and seven airbags: dual front, driver knee, front side, and side curtain. It also gets a rearview camera, Pre-Safe, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, driver attention assist, and rain-sensing wipers. A comprehensive list of available features includes active lane change and lane keeping assist, active parking assist, and Pre-Safe Plus, a head-up display, surround-view monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert.
The lifestyle SUV segment is a burgeoning market, and the demands placed upon each entrant to remain competitive are high. But, for some, meeting these requirements is not enough. That's where high-performance SUVs come in, and the AMG GLC43 is among the frontrunners, with its potent V6 engine and engaging driving dynamics. But the coupe model takes all that power and fun and dresses it up in a stylish, more car-like package and gives it an even sportier edge.
The AMG GLC43 Coupe is not as practical as its standard GLC siblings, but it's a lot more fun. It gets a much more potent engine and several other mechanical changes that make it a delight to drive, around town or on the highway. And all it asks for in return is a few minor sacrifices in headroom and trunk capacity. However, this may seem like a bigger deal when you consider that almost all its rivals offer more trunk space even with similar treatments. Still, the interior is as plush as you could ever want from a luxury vehicle, and the infotainment system is extensive and easy to use.
All things considered, the AMG GLC43 Coupe isn't lacking enough in any one area for it to be deemed inferior to its leading rivals. It does lean a bit more towards comfort and luxury than the AMG name would imply, failing to deliver quite as much fun as other performance-focused SUVs like the BMW X4 M40i or the Audi SQ5, but it combines the two disparate characteristics extremely well. For buyers who want the best of both worlds, the Mercedes-AMG GLC Coupe should definitely be on the shortlist.
The high-performance Mercedes-AMG GLC43 doesn't come cheap, but it fits in the sweet spot between the run-of-the-mill GLC 300 and the over-the-top AMG GLC 63. Getting behind the wheel of a standard AMG GLC43 Coupe will cost you $63,000 to start. However, while the model does include almost everything available to the GLC as standard, there is still room for improvement. The infotainment can be upgraded with the Multimedia Package ($1,250), and the safety suite can be significantly enhanced via the Driver Assistance Package ($1,700). A fully loaded AMG GLC43 can set you back by as much as $80,000. These prices do not include tax, registration, licensing, or the manufacturer's $995 destination charge.
|AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupe||
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
If you're going to buy a luxury SUV, and are willing to splash out on a high-performance, coupe model, then money is probably not an issue. You clearly want all the bells and whistles and the good looks to go with it. As such, we would recommend dressing your AMG GLC43 Coupe in its Sunday best, namely the AMG Performance Studio Package for $1,950, which adds classic black accents to the air-intakes, mirror caps, side windows, rear diffuser, tailpipes, and rear spoiler. Inside, premium leather, at $1,620 in black with red stitching would look amazing; we'd also equip the Multimedia Package ($1,250) to ensure access to all the options with MBUX augmented video navigation and live traffic updates. Finally, the Parking Assistance Package ($1,290) and $1,100 head-up display will take away all the stress of driving and parking your luxury SUV so that you can focus on enjoying the ride, leaving you with a total cost just a few hundred dollars upward of $70k.
The M40i's turbo six-cylinder engine is still in-line with the GLC43's engine, delivering 382 hp and 365 lb-ft to all four wheels. But since the increase in power hasn't made significant the Merc's driving performance, the X3 M40i remains a neck-and-neck competitor. Both crossovers have more than enough power on tap for adrenaline-pumping driving, although the M40i is a smidge quicker. The BMW also has an edge in utility, supplying a significantly higher 28.7-cubic-foot cargo capacity, while also towing an additional 900 lbs. It will cost you a bit more than the Mercedes, but it gets better overall fuel economy. Despite all this, the AMG is more luxurious inside, and the final decision will likely come down to personal taste, as many of the other factors won't weigh too heavily on the mind of someone looking to buy a high-performance crossover.
Much like the BMW X3 M40i, the Audi SQ5 is very much on par with the AMG GLC43 Coupe, even if its V6 only develops 349 hp and 369 lb-ft. It isn't quite as quick as its other German rivals, though, with a 0 to 60 mph sprint time of 5.1 seconds, but it is still agile on the road with engaging driving dynamics. The interior isn't quite as upscale as the GLC's, but it's still well-built and comes with a host of features, both entertainment and safety. Once again, the AMG is easily bested in cargo capacity, with the SQ5 supplying 25.1 to 53.1 cubic feet. However, as mentioned above, this isn't a deal maker or breaker on a performance SUV. Overall, the Mercedes-Benz AMG seems to have a slight edge over the SQ5, but it will probably come down to preference again.