The new Mercedes AMG GLC coupe, GLC 43 model is the fastest and most expensive version of the premium SUV. It’s designed to offer a more civilised middle ground between the scorching GLC 63 due later this year, and the mainstream diesel models. We’re trying it in the more style-oriented Coupe form to see if it achieves that balance.
We know from previous experience that the 362bhp 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 is a capable and punchy powertrain. It’s surprisingly fast, in fact, with its 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds shaming the Porsche Macan GTS. More than that, it’s impressively flexible, being happy to waft along and rely on its meaty torque delivery and quick-shifting nine-speed gearbox, or blast energetically to the redline with a suitably tuneful wail.
This GLC looks much, much better than its dowdy predecessor, the hunchbacked midsize GLE-Class Coupe. The GLC’s smaller proportions better suit the pod-like shape, even if the raised stance and skyward butt created an annoyingly-high cargo lift-over that forced me to swing my luggage onto the deck like some hapless discus thrower. Two different onlookers said the GLC reminded them of a spaceship, for whatever that’s worth.
On motorways it’s a comfortable cruiser, and AMG’s suspension tweaks don’t seem to have come at the cost of ride quality on faster roads. At low speeds the new Mercedes AMG GLC coupe’s firmer edge is evident, though, and it is liable to fidget. At a crawl, it feels like the rubber wrapped around those huge 20-inch wheels likes to sag onto its sidewalls a little too, dragging the steering wheel and making tight, snail’s pace manoeuvring slightly awkward.
In steady-state driving, the AMG 4Matic AWD system sends 69 percent of power to the rear axle and 31 percent up front, with a more-generous shove to the back when you accelerate. As for traditional SUV adventure, Mercedes’s honesty is refreshing: “Additionally, the AMG GLC43 coupe is able to undertake occasional off-road excursions,” the press kit reads. Yet the Mercedes’s air suspension can raise ride height at the touch of a button; a multi-disc clutch boosts traction, especially on snow or slippery surfaces, and the breakover and departure angles allow for fairly steep climbs or descents.
At least the ride quality isn’t unduly affected by the AMG revisions. Stick the GLC back into Comfort mode and it’ll waft gracefully over all but the worst intrusions – and most of the time new Mercedes AMG GLC coupe doesn’t feel any firmer than a standard AMG Line equipped diesel. Wind noise is kept at bay, although the chunky wheels and tyres mean there is some road roar to be heard.
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