The Three-Pointed Star are on a model blitzkrieg at the moment. Last week they launched the Mercedes-AMG E43. Earlier this week they showed off the very mild facelift CLA-Class and now we’ve got the Mercedes-AMG GLC43.
Just a quick recap – the GLC is essentially a C-Class on stilts. It sits between the smaller GLA, an A-Class based crossover, and the larger GLE-Class.
This is the first ‘AMG’d’ GLC and it’s much the same from what we’ve seen in previous ’43’ cars. Powering it is a tuned version of Merc’s 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6 pumping out 367bhp/270kW and 520NM of torque. All that is sent to all four wheels via a 9-speed auto.
That translates to some impressive performance figures – for an SUV. 0-100 km/h is done in 4.9 seconds, or three-tenths quicker than a Porsche Macan GTS. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h, more than enough for most school runs.
Mercedes hasn’t announced or confined a hotter ’63’ AMG version of the GLC but there’ll likely be one in the near future as the Macan Turbo exists. But while that’s all nice and well, who actually needs a bi-turbo crossover/SUV? I reckon the ’43’ is the sweet spot for the GLC-Class. You’ve got sports car performance but without sacrificing fuel economy. It’s only a V6 after all.
Despite it having four-wheel drive and a relatively high driving position, the GLC43’s 4MATIC system has been tuned for performance rather than off-roadability. There’s a 31:69 split bias to the rear. The sports tuned AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension puts emphasis on comfort and sporty modes rather than G-Wagen rivalling ruggedness.
There are five driving modes to choose from the DYNAMIC SELECT system; Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual. In Sport and Sport Plus modes, the throttle response is more direct, the electric-assisted power steering becomes heavier, gear shift times are shorter, it double-declutches, and there’s cylinder shut-off.
As with other AMG products, the GLC43 has subtle styling changes to differentiate from standard GLC cars and the yet-to-be-confirmed 63 model. There’s a larger grille, more aggressive intakes up front, quad-exit dual exhausts at the rear, 19-inch wheels with 360mm front discs and 320mm rear discs, and the all important ‘BI-TURBO’ badging on the side.
Inside there’s all the obligatory AMG add ons to make it feel ‘sporty’ such as sports seats, red seatbelts, a flat bottom steering wheel, and some carbon trim. Luckily five seats and 550L boot space remain the same.
The GLC43 will make its first appearance at this year’s New York Motor Show with a NZ launch expected by the end of the year. What do you think of the GLC43? Would it be your pick of the GLC range and you would have it over its rivals?