Mercedes-AMG GLC 43: An SUV with the elegance and style of a coupe
Beauty meets the beast
Let me first put some context into things — I have a weak spot for coupes. I'm almost never against any of these sporty types, with their curvaceous lines and a dangerously sporty stance that scream, "I could go so fast you'll get a ticket." Even though the Mercedes AMG GLC 43 Coupe is not your conventional two-door, it still left much to the imagination when I was handed the key fob to the coupe-slash-SUV mash-up.
After all, we're talking about an AMG.
You may know AMG as the performance range of Mercedes Benz — even racetrack-worthy — and the insignia has been branded on the bodies of the C-Class, the GT and more recently, the E-Class sedan. The coupe version of the GLC is also amped up under the same treatment, and my initial question shifted from one of aesthetics to physics: A car with such sizeable hoist shouldn't be able to move that quick, right?
It took an effortless nudge on the accelerator to get that answered on the roads. Let's now dive deep into where it matters and see how the AMG GLC 43 delivers.
GIVING THE AMG GLC 43 LIFE
A 3.0-litre twin turbocharged V6 engine, capable of 367 horsepower and a peak torque of 520Nm. It is connected to a 9-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. Because everyone could do with speed numbers, here's your fix — 0 to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds.
Of course, the AMG specs give the coupe a distinctively sporty drive. Whether or not you absorb all of the AMG's exhilaration depends on where you toggle the Dynamic Select transmission mode: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ or Individual.
It doesn't take much to figure out Eco mode is your go-to mode for petrol savings, and the car accomplishes that by cutting off the engine whenever it is idle. But motoring purists out there would probably sacrifice fuel economy in the name of performance, and that is exactly why Sport+ is the only mode that matters. Much like how Peter Parker disengaged those 'training wheels' in the spidey suit Iron Man built for him, you are left to your own devices to control the now unplugged coupe — replete with really pacey bursts, as well as a low growl that is not too gaudy, yet heady.
The high belt and wide shoulders give it a mean look, and the diamond radiator grille together with the front two splitters pile on the aesthetics. On the inside, unless we are talking about the black-and-red contrast leather seats, the red designo belts, and the sports wheel, it comes across more cutting edge than mean, especially the instrument cluster. Mercedes is hot on the heels of the future.
Some argue that the coupe stylistics — the slope-down from the roof — compromises on the cargo space at the back. Therefore, the SUV version of the GLC 43 would make more sense. But what are the chances you have to keep playing mover for friends and family? Even if you do, the space is generous after folding down the rear backrests. It's roomy enough to hold bric-a-brac that might be a little too much for taxi boots to handle, but not big enough to require a Cabstar.
For a brief moment, let us forget the paranoia that AI will rule over humans one day. I say that because I was saved by the safety assistance technology in the Mercedes AMG GLC 43, and therein lies its cool factor.
The standard fittings in the AMG GLC 43 coupe are sufficient enough to make you feel protected, although you have the option of adding a dizzying slew of driving assistance features to the existing Active Brake Assist, Attention Assist and ESP Curve Dynamic Assist (Electronic Stability Program). If not for the 'intuition' of the former two, I would have hit the boot of a jam-braking taxi right before a distracting cluster of roadworks. The car had shocked me into focus with a sharp beep, while the brakes applied additional force on its own to avoid disaster.
Should we still harbour suspicions that AI is out to eradicate the human race?
TIME TO GO OFF-ROAD
Leeching off the previous point on cool technology, you might notice a button on the centre console which you won't find in most other cars — featuring an icon of a car and an arrow pointing up. With a quick push, the body of the coupe hikes above those 19" alloy wheels, with you barely feeling anything as a driver or passenger in the car. Were you expecting the obscene hydraulics of a low rider? None here.
With the ground clearance increased, rough off-road terrain can be cleared without pulverizing the bumper. Nothing comes close to dirt tracks in our urban city, so the best I could manage was to run the car over a bumpy strip of sand off a deserted road at Woodleigh Park. This may not be the best test of agility, but let's just say it is commendable.
Or at the very least, you'll have enough confidence to conquer potholes and messy roadworks without being rocked out of the driver's seat.
About Nicholas Tse
Wordsmith by day, wannabe vigilante by night. Occasional speedster, 24/7 snazzy dresser. Aspiring best-selling novelist on weekends. The only things Nicholas loves more than the written word are fast cars, Nespresso machines and denim. Follow his adventures on Facebook and Instagram.