Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 proves we’re in the golden days of perfect crossover SUVs. Everyday sporty ‘utes like the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 hardly look like they’re just as quick as their smaller siblings but stopwatches don’t lie. Mercedes says the GLC 43 crossover takes just 4.7 seconds from 0-60 mph compared to the C43 sedan’s time of 4.5 seconds. Two-tenths of a second is about how long it takes for you to double-tap the start/stop button on your phone’s stopwatch. In the real world the difference is insignificant.
We spent a week with the GLC 43. After driving both the AMG GLC 63 models, regular and “S” variants, and the newly refreshed GLC 300 for 2020; we’ve had a fair amount of seat time in Mercedes’ extensive GLC Class. In our opinion, the GLC 43 is easily the goldilocks of the lineup, blending the best attributes of each variant. Here’s what we found out.
In the Mercedes-Benz universe, AMG 43 is the ‘tweener between the premium AMG 63 model and the more common GLC 300. The GLC 43 is plenty potent, 362 horsepower to be precise. Even compared to the other “milder” AMGs, specifically the inline-6 and starter-generator combos found in the AMG 53 models, the GLC 43’s V-6 is a little coarser. That’s good; from the raspy exhaust to the spunky turbos that thrust forward at 3,000 rpm, the GLC 43 is a little raucous that fits it’s demeanor perfectly.
The 2020 GLC 300’s updated off-road appeal is a good one, it’s a very likable crossover. With the GLC 43 you get both the off-road looks and sporty driving manners. For about $70,000, the GLC 43 is hardly cheap but it stays out of the GLC 63’s realm and looks nearly identical. The GLC 43 is menacing, sharp, planted, and quick. It fulfills the mission of looking the part and costing less. The GLC 63’s V-8 is bonkers and the increased performance is also barely usable on city streets. Our smart money is on the GLC 43.
The GLC 43 stops harder than the Titanic anchor. Compared to the GLC 300, the AMG version gets bigger rotors on the front (14.2 inches vs. 13.5 inches) and wider tires. Both directly impact braking performance and grip and double-down on the GLC 43’s already-short brake pedal travel. With the GLC 43, your heavy right foot is rewarded on both the accelerator and brake pedal. Regardless which one you use more, you’re bound to have a fun time.
Compared to the other medium-thrill small crossover, the 2020 BMW X3 M40i, the GLC 43’s seats are snugger and more supportive when hauling dairyers. The $2,500 optional AMG sport seats go further. The look-at-me red seat belts are just a part of the fun interior detailing. The coupe-version of the GLC 43 is also much better looking that the vanilla plain-jane X3 that you can see in the lane next to you.
Our $83,550 tester was loaded with options that blended into the background. A steering wheel-mounted drive selector knob with small digital screens ($500) is impressive. AMG performance pages ($250) were fun but best saved for Track days to shave tenths down on lap times. The most noticeable on the GLC 43 menu though was the sinister AMG Performance Studio Package ($1950) with a gloss-black front splitter, rear diffuser, mirror housings, roof-rails, window trim, and decadent black-chrome exhaust tips.
Mercedes’ 2020 AMG GLC 43 is a bit of a unicorn that ends up striking the perfect balance. First of all, in coupe form, it really looks stunning blending the crossover craze with sporty driving dynamics while retaining the higher ground clearance and off-road ability. Next up, beautifully executed powertrain that’s always in the right gear with plenty of power that encourages you to have fun with your drive. Best of all, this is wrapped in a package that still provides everyday usability with good cargo space and capability. The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 is really is the perfect blend and just right in every way.
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