For the well-heeled sportsmen who can afford the very best, how would you like to trek back to your cabin in the woods in a crossover that doesn’t look like one, but has the attributes and utility of one?
Although it’s branded as a coupe, the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC43 AWD is actually a fast-back crossover with a hatch. And what makes the GLC43 extra special it has an AMG (Aufecht, Melcher, GroBaspack) classification. AMG is Mercedes’ performance division that specializes in potent vehicles that go beyond the “sport” connotation that many auto makers use for some of their vehicles. Your hunting/fishing buddies will be envious.
As far as sporty is concerned, the GLC43’s interior is truly sporty, upscale and world-class. Black ash wood trim accented with brushed aluminum trim add to the sumptuous leather seating that makes up what Mercedes vehicles are noted for. Combine this with an 8.4-inch display that is operated with a console mounted rotary controller and touchpad which allows map swiping, zooming and tapping for input, plus a voice control that learns the way you speak. It also serves up a multitude of functions like rearview camera, Burmester audio, apps and now Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that are just a few. GLC43 buyers need to study the owners’ manual for some of the controller functions.
The heated/cooled front seats are very supportive for those who like spirited driving, as they hug the torso ever so snugly. And their underthigh support powers out another six inches for long trip comfort. The front seats also adjust 14 different ways.
After a low 19-inch step-in, the heated back seats are a tad on the firm side. Ingress/egress back there requires a head-duck for tall folks as the sloping roofline begins to taper down at the rear doors. But leg room is decent provided the fronts aren’t racked too well rearward.
In the spacious cargo area, measuring 39 inches deep, 37.5 wide and 26 high (17.6 cubic feet), the area expands to 68 inches after pressing a button and the rear seatbacks flip down for a full 56.5 cubic feet of space. That’s enough for a mountain bike with the front wheel off and stowed atop it, or two full-size golf bags, or, a pile of hunting/fishing gear.
Beneath the cargo floor is a felt-lined divided compartment to stow small items out of sight.
The heart of the GLC43 is its powertrain. Lying behind the three-pointed Mercedes star is a potent 3.0-liter, biturbo V6 that puts forth 362-hp and a whopping 384 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 18 city, 24-highway mpg (partially attributed to its stop/start feature) with a 9-speed automatic transmission and paddle shifters. Stab the accelerator in “Park” and the back pressure pops and throaty notes emanate from its quad tailpipes that are music to a car enthusiasts’ ears. Particularly so when engaging the exhaust switch. From a standing stop and just half accelerator pedal, the quick shifting transmissions’ shift points sound like an Indy car shifting gears. Delicious!
There are five custom driving modes of Individual, Sport, Sport-Plus, Comfort and Eco. As you can imagine, Sport and especially Sport-Plus when selecting it, ups the rpm’s by 500. This mode really tightens things up and makes the GLC43 even more exciting to drive. And according to Mercedes, the GLC43 can do 0-60 in a mere 4.8 seconds.
And if this isn’t enough to satisfy your tastes, the AMG GLC63 comes with a turbocharged 4.0L V8 with 469-hp and 479 lb/ft of torque for a scorching 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds.
Aside from these exciting performance traits, the GLC43 carries a tow capacity of 3,500 pounds, enough to pull a utility trailer for ATVs, dirt bikes or small boat.
But that’s not all.
At the touch of a button, Mercedes’ Air Body Control springs raises the body from 11.25 inches to 12.5 inches to assist the Performance 4Matic AWD system in snow, mud or mild off-roads.
As for the ride on 21-inch Dunlop tires that are 11 inches wide, Comfort mode gives a luxury touring car ride. Switch to Sport or Sport-Plus and things tighten up considerably. Road feel is more pronounced, and as such, road imperfections are more obvious. But the overall ride is quiet.
Handling wise, the GLC43 is agile and parks easily. And even easier if opting for the optional Advanced Parking Assist Package ($1,290) that parks the car for you. Taking turns at speed lacks any body lean or tilt. The car is planted and provides a controlled and secure feeling when pushed hard. It’s a true luxury sport crossover that doesn’t behave like a typical crossover.
Of course all this luxury, utility and performance comes at a price. The GLC43 began life at $60,400. But after adding a very long list of options like the Driver Assistance Package ($2,250) that includes blind spot assist, Distronic Plus with steering assist, stop & go pilot, lane keeping assist, cross traffic alert, safe brake with pedestrian recognition, speed limit assist and more, the test car also came with parking assistance package ($1,290) with Surround View system; two-tone leather interior ($1,620) and, surprising, MB charged extra for the Iridium silver metallic paint job that added $720. With a slew of standard niceties, decorative trim and lighting options, the GLC43 bottom-lined at $75,745. And this with a very long list of standard safety and convenience features.
In the governments’ 5-star safety ratings, the sticker listed five stars for driver/passenger frontal crash, and four for rollover. And NHTSA gave it their “Good” overall rating.
Warranty wise, the GLC43 comes with a 4 year, 50K basic, 4/50K drivetrain and 4/50K for rust.
With its slippery, sexy lines, the AMG GLC43 looks like it’s moving 65 mph, standing still. A crossover that stands out over many.