Can the AMG treatment really work with Mercedes’ SUV?
The Mercedes-AMG 43 series brings in what it sees as entry-level performance. Some of the others, like the SLC 43, haven’t really found favour so we weren’t sure what to expect when the treatment was applied to the GLC SUV. Should we be worried?
We knew it would be fast, and it is. How could it not be, big thing though it is, with the 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine? With a 0-62mph time of under five seconds, you can see why this is not a pedestrian SUV. There is plenty of low-down torque available but if you go for kick-down it takes off with a rasping howl as it heads rapidly for the 5700rpm redline.
Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4Matic
Engine: 3.0-litre V6, twin-turbo, petrol
Gearbox: Nine-speed automatic
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Economy: 34mpg (combined)
CO2 emissions: 189g/km
Helping it get the power down is a combination of the nine-speed auto transmission and a four-wheel drive system that under normal circumstances is biased to the rear. And while it looks like a fairly large and heavy vehicle, it’s actually 125kg lighter than the very sporty Porsche Macan GTS.
All of that adds up to good things for the handling. We’ve had our reservations about cars like the C 43 AMG as they just couldn’t seem to find the right balance between handling and ride, whatever mode you chose. That’s not the case here, even if you go for Sport Plus you’re still going to have a controlled, firm yet compliant ride. There’s plenty of grip thanks to that 4Matic system, even if body roll does build up more than it would in the Porsche.
That was really the whole area we were worried about. We knew the GLC 43 would be quick in a straight line, and it is, but actually it can be quick in a series of S-bends or round some country lanes. And it can do that without making the passengers feel uncomfortable, a combination which the 43 series hasn’t always managed to get right. Amusing that it does so with an SUV more than with the C-Class Estate.
In fact, this is the best 43 class vehicle we’ve driven. The engine and entire transmission works seamlessly to deliver power, performance and the sort of ride and handling that you’d really hope for. Anyone, driver or family, sitting in the large and luxurious cabin, would enjoy being in this 43.