Short Report: 2017 Mercedes AMG GLC43

That the GLC43 coupe virtually matches the performance of its sedan analogue is impressive enough, but if that’s all it did, we wouldn’t be advocating for it. As we’ve said too many times to count, how a car feels while delivering its performance trumps all—and the GLC43 feels great, however and wherever it’s driven. It takes only a couple of miles to forget you’re behind the wheel of a car that’s standing on tiptoes. For all that your eyes, ears, hands, and feet know, you’re piloting a sports sedan.

Moves Like Jagger

The GLC43’s lusty twin-turbo V-6 is fat with low-end torque and pulls hard anywhere in the rev range, all the way to its 6500-rpm redline. Although there is some turbo lag, the 3.0-liter’s exhaust note is the sound of 10,000 angry wasps fighting their way out of the quad tailpipes.

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The powerplant dances well with the nine-speed automatic, which slithers through its ratios smoothly and crisply, although in Comfort mode it tended to upshift earlier than we would have liked in traffic. Gearchanges commanded by the steering-wheel paddles are sharp, and in the Sport and Sport+ driving modes, both up- and-downshifts are accompanied by delicious crackles and pops from the exhaust.

The muscular powertrain is complemented by a trustworthy and athletic chassis. Like the best sports sedans, the GLC43 proved a happy day-to-day driver, sporty enough to be constantly engaging, refined enough to never tire us out, and agile and tenacious when called upon.

Its steering is intuitive and progressive, with just the right amount of heft, and a twist of the thick, three-spoke sport wheel points it eagerly toward apexes. The ride motions in Comfort mode—our preferred calibration—are clipped but never harsh, firmly controlling body motion just the way you’d expect in a sports sedan. Switching to Sport+ stiffens the ride enough to shake up a can of Sherwin-Williams, so that setting is best saved for short bursts on twisty roads or for entrance-ramp flings.

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Indeed, attacking our favorite on-ramp revealed the biggest difference between the GLC and its sedan brother: The SUV’s taller stature and higher seating position make it feel tippy in fast transitions. Not to worry; clicking it into Sport+ mode drops the ride height a little on the air springs, eliminates the slight turn-in bobble, and restores your confidence that it won’t roll over as you exploit the fat Continentals—255/40ZR-21 front, 285/35ZR-21 rear—to their howling, chattering, understeering limit.

Well-Mannered Warrior

In the kind of driving most of us do most of the time, the GLC43 coupe is a refined, comfortable cruiser with firm, supportive seats, rich interior materials, and a surprising amount of room. Despite its fastback roofline, it loses only one cubic foot of cargo space aft of the second row to its conventional, squared-off GLC43 SUV brother. The coupe’s rear seat handily accommodates full-size adults, and, like any crossover, it offers the functionality of a fold-down second row and a hatchback.

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This is a premium SUV, and its $60,645 base price is roughly in line with the competition. Of course, that number easily can be spiked with a long list of options. Our test car was stocked with almost $14,000 in extras, but matching its performance requires you check only the box for summer tires ($1000). Add the infotainment package that contains navigation, and a GLC43 coupe can be had for something closer to $63,000.

No small sum that, but it buys a viscerally satisfying, exceptionally refined driving machine. If you’re tinkering with the idea of driving something taller, add the GLC43 coupe to the short list of vehicles that will gain you membership in SUV Nation without forcing you to give up the pleasures of driving.

Specifications >

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback

PRICE AS TESTED: $74,495 (base price: $60,645)

ENGINE TYPE: twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 183 cu in, 2996 cc

Power: 362 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 384 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic with manual shifting mode


Wheelbase: 113.1 in

Length: 186.1 in

Width: 76.0 in

Height: 62.4 in

Passenger volume: 95 cu ft

Cargo volume: 18 cu ft

Curb weight: 4261 lb


Zero to 60 mph: 4.3 sec

Zero to 100 mph: 11.4 sec

Zero to 130 mph: 21.7 sec

Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 5.4 sec

Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.1 sec

Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.1 sec

Standing ¼-mile: 13.0 sec @ 106 mph

Top speed (governor limited): 133 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 155 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.92 g


Observed: 17 mpg

C/D observed: XXXX mpg

75-mph highway driving: 23 mpg

Highway range: 400


Combined/city/highway: 20/18/24 mpg

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