This is the fastest and most expensive version of the GLC – for now. AMG’s ‘43’ models are designed to be a kind of halfway house between Mercedes’ standard models and the ballistic top-spec AMG ‘63’ models.
Until that comes along in the GLC later this year, you’ll have to get your go-faster kicks from the GLC 43 AMG.
We’re driving the Coupe version – the 43 is also available in standard GLC SUV guise – which adds a sloping rear roofline to give a sportier look.
Looks and image
The main idea behind giving an SUV ‘coupe’ styling is to make it look cool at the behest of practicality. The standard GLC is an imposing beast but perhaps lacks character – the sloping roof of the Coupe really makes it stand out on the road.
It’d be fair to say that the proportions are a little odd, but having canvassed opinion from friends and family the response was overwhelmingly positive. As usual, Mercedes has hit the nail on the head when it comes to looking good.
Inside, it’s standard Mercedes fare, with a comfortable leather steering wheel, cossetting seats and vast swathes of piano- black trim adding to the feel of quality inside.
Space and practicality
It’s tricky to pinpoint whether the GLC 43 AMG Coupe could be considered practical or not. Yes, compared to with a traditional two-door saloon-sized coupe the boot is huge, but compared to with the GLC SUV it loses 200 litres of space.
If coupe styling in a more practical package is what you need then it perhaps makes sense, but if you really do need the space then sacrifice the styling and just go for the SUV.
For front passengers, the cabin is extremely spacious, but those in the rear will find headroom a little limited.
Behind the wheel
Perhaps the GLC 43 AMG Coupe’s weakest point is what it’s like to drive. It doesn’t quite have the composure of a big SUV, nor does it have the responsiveness of a smaller coupe.
The best way to describe the driving experience is just ‘fine’ – there’s nothing remarkable about it at all. AMG has tweaked the air suspension to make it a bit firmer, but in Comfort mode it still wafts over bumps without being noticeably crashy.
And when the road gets twisty it handles surprisingly well for a big, tall SUV. However, the experience is numbed by overly intrusive drive aids, so while you might be going fast, it’s hard to describe the experience as fun.
Unlike a rival such as the Porsche Macan, you don’t climb out of the GLC 43 itching to have another go.
Value for money
Upgrading to AMG spec means there are plenty of sporty extras. On the outside, there are AMG-specific touches everywhere, such as a silver chrome front splitter that improves air flow, lightweight alloy wheels and a quad-exit exhaust system.
Inside there are changes, too. The sports steering wheel is a delight to hold, the leather and microfibre seat upholstery is luxuriously comfortable, and AMG-specific dials ensure you never forget you’re in a sportier vehicle.
The Porsche Macan GTS offers similar performance without the coupe-esque styling but costs quite a bit more. Keen drivers will prefer it, but those looking for fuss-free performance in a stylish package will find the GLC 43 AMG tough to resist.
Who would buy one?
The GLC 43 AMG Coupe is a very niche product, so don’t expect to see too many on the road. It’s for people who want SUV practicality but don’t want to give up coupe styling, and in this AMG spec it also offers impressive performance.
Families will love the space on offer, while youngsters will be less bothered by the poor headroom in the rear. Running costs will be considerably higher than in a diesel version, though.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Model: Mercedes-AMG GLC 43
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 petrol
Max speed: 155mph
0-60mph: 4.7 seconds
Emissions: 99g/km CO2