2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 43 4MATIC

Intro

Over the past few months I have reviewed Mercedes-Benz's GLS 450 and GLB 250. Slotting between the two and just below the GLE class is the GLC class. Mercedes-benz offers two AMG vehicles in this class, the GLC 43,and the GLC 63. The GLC 43 is the less powerful of the two, featuring a V6 engine instead of a V8 that can be found inside the GLC 63. The GLC 43 competes with the likes of Audi SQ5, BMW X3 M40i, and Porsche Macan S. Does it offer enough performance and refinement to compete with its German Rivals?

Thanks to Mercedes-Benz Canada. I had the chance to test drive the 2020 AMG GLC 43 4MATIC for one week to find out. Below is my unbiased review.

Exterior

In my opinion, the GLC AMG is one of the best looking SUVs in Mercedes-Benz’s current lineup. The AMG specific radiator grille looks gorgeous with vertical chrome-plated fins and the big three pointed star logo in the middle. Slimmer led headlights and clever LED highlights give the front fascia a futuristic yet classy vibe. The large front apron as well as the matte black lower air intakes add to the sporty styling of the car. 

Compared to the GLB and the GLS, the GLC 43 has a more balanced and proportional side profile. The 20” standard, 21” optional AMG alloy wheels are accompanied by beefy wheel arches and sweeping character lines.

The rear of the car features two round twin tailpipes inside a wide matte black apron. The redesigned LED tail lights are accompanied by cool LED highlights for a distinctive light signature.

The exterior design of the GLC 43 is sporty, elegant, modern, and classy. The fact that I am using all these adjectives to describe a SUV just shows you how much I enjoy the look of the car. 

Interior

The interior of the GLC 43 is significantly more upscale than the GLB. Thanks in part to the optional Carbon Fiber Trim package, the interior feels sportier than any other SUV I have test driven so far. Unlike some of the latest Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the GLC 43 does not come with the spanning dual-screen infotainment setup. Instead, a 10.25” floating touchscreen is positioned above the center stack, and a 12.3” digital instrument cluster is positioned directly in front of the driver. Other prominent features include turbine jet inspired round air vents and brushed aluminum inlays. 

The Cranberry/Black two-toned sport front seats are very comfortable and provide great lateral supports. The rear seats are also nicely padded, but with much smaller side bolsters. They offer plenty of leg and headroom, even for taller individuals. Behind the center console armrest are dedicated air vents and charging ports for the rear passengers. The dual-panel panoramic sunroof gives the rear passengers an unobstructed view outside. This adds to the sense of spaciousness of the cabin. 

Infotainment

Despite not having the latest dual-screen setup, the same excellent Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system has been implemented in the GLC 43. Like I have introduced in previous reviews, the system is one of the most advanced in the industry. 

The new steering wheel design provides unparalleled controls of various car functions right at the driver’s fingertips. The touch control buttons are similar to the trackpads of older blackberry phones. The left one controls the 12.3” digital instrument cluster display, and the right controls the 10.25” touchscreen above the center stack. I love the fact that you never have to take your hands off the steering wheel to access all functions of the infotainment system.

Another way to control many of the car functions is via the LINGUATRONIC voice assist. It is a natural language smart assistant that behaves like Apple Siri or Google Assist. Simply say "Hey, Mercedes", or press the voice command button, and you can ask the GLC 43 to make a phone call, plot a new navigation route, or close the roller sunshade. The system is equipped with artificial intelligence to understand natural language commands like "I am cold" or "I am hungry", and responses by raising cabin temperature, or finding the closest restaurant.

Safety and Driver Assistance

The GLC 43 comes with the following standard safety features:

  • Active Brake Assist
  • ATTENTION ASSIST
  • Rearview camera
  • Adaptive braking technology
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Antitheft alarm system with remote panic feature

The following features are optional:

  • Adaptive Highbeam Assist
  • Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC
  • Active Steering Assist
  • Active Blind Spot Assist
  • Active Lane Keeping Assist
  • Active Lane Change Assist
  • Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function
  • Evasive Steering Assist
  • Congestion Emergency Braking
  • Active Emergency Stop Assist
  • Traffic Sign Assist
  • Active Speed Limit Assist
  • Route-based Speed Adaptation
  • Active Parking Assist
  • 360 camera
  • Trailer Stability Assist

The GLC 43 has yet to be rated by NHTSA and IIHS at the time of writing.

Driving

Unlike a regular GLC, which is powered by a 2.0L 255hp turbocharged 4 cylinder engine, the AMG GLC 43 is powered by an upgraded 3.0L 6 cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 385hp of power and 384 lb.ft. of torque. The engine update gives the 2020 GLC43 23hp more power over the previous model. It does not come with the EQ boost hybrid system, but the GLC 43 is no slouch when it comes to acceleration. 0-100km/hr happens in 4.9 seconds, that is faster than both the Audi SQ5 and the Porsche Macan S. The BMW X3 M40i beats it by only 0.3 seconds. 

For those of you craving for a V8 AMG, there is also the GLC 63. It features a mighty 503hp 4.0L turbocharged V8 that propels the car from 0-100km/hr in 3.8 seconds. Personally, I am happy with the performance of the GLC 43. The engine is responsive and eager. The 9 speed transmission is smooth and predictable in normal drive modes. In performance modes, the GLC 43 cracks and pops with every up and downshift. It is borderline obnoxious, but you can choose to quiet the exhaust at the touch of a button. The manual shift paddles are not the most responsive, but the transmission does such an excellent job of predicting your next move that I don’t find manual shifting necessary. 

Our tester comes with additional dynamic controls on the steering wheel. A round dial controller with an integrated display beneath the right-hand steering-wheel spoke, lets you choose between five different drive programs:  "Slippery", "Comfort", "Sport", "Sport+", and "Individual". The programs adjust key parameters and alter the response of the engine, transmission, suspension, and steering. Beneath the left-hand steering wheel spoke are two more buttons to let you toggle between exhaust and suspension settings. These additional controls allow easy access to change the GLC 43’s driving characteristics. 

The 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive system is rear-biased to maximize traction and dynamic handling.  The AMG Ride Control+ air suspension system is standard. It provides continuously adjustable active damping for each individual wheel to provide maximum cornering performance and ride comfort. While the GLC 43 doesn’t handle like a sedan, it is agile, well balanced, and aims to deliver more driving thrill than being clinically perfect. 

By adopting a turbocharged V6 instead of a V8, the GLC 43’s fuel economy rating is decent for a performance SUV. It is rated at 13.7L/100km city, 9.8L/100km highway, and 11.2L/100km combined. Our one week mostly city test drive observes a fuel economy rating of 14.3L/100km. Bare in mind that I was driving the car pretty hard.

Cargo Space & Storage

Despite being a performance SUV, the GLC 43 is also perfectly practical as a family sedan. Behind the rear seats is 550L of cargo space. With the 40/20/40 rear seats folded, that number is increased to 1600L. I am very pleased to see an actual spare tire under the hood. Not only does Mercedes-Benz provide all the necessary tools for a tire change, it also thoughtfully includes a pair of white gloves for your delicate hands. We wouldn’t want to dirty the nice interior after a tire change would we. 

In-cabin storage options are great. The glove compartment is decently sized, so is the center console storage bin under the bi-fold armrest. The front side door pockets can handle multiple water bottles, and additional storage trays can be found inside the rear folding armrest. 

Verdict

The GLC 43 is easily one of my favorite SUVs of 2020. Yes the GLC 63 with its massive V8 would beat the GLC 43 on track any day, but honestly the latter never left me wanting for more. The drivetrain is smooth and eager, and with the standard 4MATIC all-wheel drive and air suspension, the GLC43 handles superbly both on winding roads and in city traffic. 

All in all, the GLC 43 is luxurious, handsome, practical, and fun to drive. The base price is very reasonable at $64,400 CAD, but as usual, our tester includes multiple upgrades to push the total price to $84,990 CAD. If you are looking for a performance SUV, and can stay disciplined, the GLC 43 belongs to be on the top of your shopping list. 

Test Vehicle

2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 43

MSRP

$64,400 CAD base, $84990 CAD as tested

Color

Polar White 


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