The Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupe Is the Goldilocks SUV for Today's Benz Buyers

If you wanted to build an SUV that would slay with a Mercedes-customer focus group, it would be this.

mercedes benz glc 43 suv
Mercedes-Benz

What is it?

The Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupe is a luxury compact crossover with a sloping roof. We a firmly within the post-fact era, so a “coupe” can now be a four-door sport-utility vehicle. The AMG GLC 43 slots between the base GLC 300 and the boss AMG GLC 63 within the non-hybrid GLC-class hierarchy. Mercedes describes it as a “toned muscle, tailored suit” look with a “uniquely seductive shape”...which is one way of putting it.

Is it new?

New-ish. Mercedes refreshed the GLC for 2020. "GLC43" became "GLC 43," and the SUV received aesthetic upgrades, a new digital infotainment setup and a power bump from 362 horsepower to 385 for the biturbo 3.0-liter V6.

mercedes benz glc 43 coupe
Mercedes-Benz

Why is it special?

Let’s say you wanted to create the trendiest, most sell-able Mercedes-Benz vehicle based on focus group recommendations from the modern day. It would be a crossover — specifically a compact crossover. It would have AMG branding, which resonates with buyers, but be sold at a more accessible price point and without the monstrous 600-plus hp V8. And, hey, maybe throw in one of those cool sporty-looking rooflines as an option. That car is the AMG GLC 43 Coupe.

I grappled with who would buy the AMG GLC 43 Coupe; it can be bizarre to look at. Then I realized it offers a lot of the styling cues from the GT, but it costs less than half as much, is better prepared for winter and is easier to climb in and out of. And, yeah, many Mercedes-AMG customers are probably thinking along those lines.

Don't expect history to be kind to the au courant crossover coupe. It may age more like rap rock or frosted tips than high-revving Japanese sports casr But that won't be Mercedes-Benz's problem.

How does it drive?

Like typical Mercedes-AMG fare. The AMG GLC 43 has a broad usability range. You can ramp up the steering heft and body control for spirited driving, and it transitions over reasonably well to being a luxury car. Admittedly, though, even in Comfort mode, it never entirely breaks out the sweatpants.

You can turn on the raucous AMG performance exhaust with a button push — or turn it off, if you’re dropping your toddler off at pre-school. It’s quick — expect a sub-five-second 0-60 mph time — without being maniacal. And it has an intuitive nine-speed transmission. The drive won’t leave you breathless for more, but you can’t fault Mercedes-AMG's execution.

mercedes amg glc 43 coupe
Mercedes-Benz

What is it like inside?

The new 10.25-inch touchscreen, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and MBUX system give the AMG GLC 43 interior a sleek, modern, and tech-forward interior. As with many a crossover coupe, the sloping roofline limits rear headroom and trunk room; the AMG GLC 43 has less potential cargo space than a VW Golf hatch.

I found the red seatbelts a bit gaudy for my taste, but you can option those away. The custom ambient lighting fascinated my young son, however.

What does it cost?

The base price for the AMG GLC 43 Coupe is $63,000, about $18,000 more than the GLC 300. My tester came out to $71,805 without going too crazy on the appearance options. Note that Mercedes is starting to take a cue from Porsche with the option tree: mundane things you would expect to come standard with your premium SUV — the full suite of driver assistant technology, noise-canceling glass, a spare wheel — are extras.

LEARN MORE

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupe

Powertrain: Twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6; 9-speed-automatic; all-wheel-drive

Horsepower: 385

Torque: 384 lb-ft

EPA Fuel Economy: 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway

Seats: 5

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