Friday 31 March 2017
The Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 is the fastest version of the popular SUV – for now. AMG’s ‘43’ models are there to provide a halfway point between the standard version of one of its cars and the top-spec ‘63’ models.
Until that arrives, the GLC 43 is your best bet for go-faster thrills in this SUV package.
We’ve got the Coupe version which adds a sloping roofline and an overall sportier look.
The standard GLC is an imposing car on the road, though it does lack a little bit of character – the Coupe version attempts to address this with all manner of angles and inlets.
The proportions of the vehicle are a little strange with a sharply cut bootline and its long bonnet, but from most angles the Coupe has all the presence that you could want from a car in this segment.
Inside, it’s traditional Mercedes. There are swathes of leather, lots of piano black trim and high-resolution screens all working together to create a cabin which certainly feels as special as it should for a £50,000 car.
It’s hard to tell whether the GLC 43 AMG Coupe is a practical car or not. Compared to a traditional two-door coupe it offers a lot more space, but put it up against the standard GLC and it loses 200 litres of load area.
If you really are after the most amount of space, then the standard car is certainly the one to go for. However, if you’re looking for sharper looks and more presence, then you may have to forego that extra luggage room.
There’s plenty of space for those sat up front, though those in the rear of the car may find that headroom is a touch limited.
This is where the GLC 43 AMG Coupe falls short somewhat. It doesn’t offer the same levels of composure that you’d find in a large SUV, but neither does it have the responsiveness that you’d expect of a smaller coupe.
It’s a decent enough driving experience, there’s just nothing remarkable about it. The air suspension has been tweaked by AMG to make it slightly firmer, but in Comfort mode it never feels to crashy or jarring.
When the roads start winding, then the GLC Coupe handles surprisingly well for a large SUV. However, the effect is dulled somewhat thanks to over intrusive driver aids.
By moving to AMG spec, you do get a host of sporty touches included as standard. In terms of exterior changes, there’s a silver chrome front splitter, lightweight alloy wheels and a quad-exit exhaust system.
Inside, you get a sport steering wheel, sports seats and AMG-specific dials which remind you that you’re sat inside a much sportier vehicle.
There’s no doubt that the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupe has the fundamentals of a great SUV – it has a high-performance engine, a well-made interior and good handling too. It'll suit those who want a bit more pace, but plenty of comfort too.
However, in most respects it feels like too much of a compromise. The car’s sloping roofline takes away a lot of boot space and headroom, while the high ride height makes it feel a touch unwieldly compared to your average coupe.
The AMG name conjours up ideas of huge performance, but the 43 just doesn’t quite deliver the thrills that you’d expect.
Model: Mercedes-AMG GLC 43
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 petrol
Max speed: 155mph
0-60mph: 4.7 seconds
Emissions: 99g/km CO2
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