Automotive

Mercedes-AMG halfway house grows to include GLC 43 mid-size SUV

The GLC 43 grows an ever-expanding range of sub-AMG performance cars wearing the famous tuning house's badge
The GLC 43 grows an ever-expanding range of sub-AMG performance cars wearing the famous tuning house's badge
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The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 motor putting out 270 kW
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The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 motor putting out 270 kW
The GLC 43 grows an ever-expanding range of sub-AMG performance cars wearing the famous tuning house's badge
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The GLC 43 grows an ever-expanding range of sub-AMG performance cars wearing the famous tuning house's badge
We're unsure as to how many GLC 43s will ever leave the tarmac, especially given the car's focus on handling performance
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We're unsure as to how many GLC 43s will ever leave the tarmac, especially given the car's focus on handling performance
With a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 4.9 seconds, the GLC 43 is quicker than most hot hatches
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With a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 4.9 seconds, the GLC 43 is quicker than most hot hatches
Inside, there's a sport steering wheel and sports seats to make the AMG feel a bit more special
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Inside, there's a sport steering wheel and sports seats to make the AMG feel a bit more special
With tweakable drive modes, the GLC should handle a cruise comfortably before turning into a corner carver
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With tweakable drive modes, the GLC should handle a cruise comfortably before turning into a corner carver
The GLC 43 joins the E 43 and SLC 43 in the sub-AMG lineup
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The GLC 43 joins the E 43 and SLC 43 in the sub-AMG lineup
Quad exhaust pipes and a unique rear diffuser are new to the GLC
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Quad exhaust pipes and a unique rear diffuser are new to the GLC
The car is fitted with 19-inch wheels as standard, but 21s are optional
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The car is fitted with 19-inch wheels as standard, but 21s are optional
Mercedes has increased negative camber on the car to improve turn in. We're not sure what that means in the wild, though
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Mercedes has increased negative camber on the car to improve turn in. We're not sure what that means in the wild, though
The GLC 43's all-wheel drive system has a heavy rear bias, which is designed to cut down on understeer
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The GLC 43's all-wheel drive system has a heavy rear bias, which is designed to cut down on understeer
BMW has taken a similar approach to improving its SUVs, so we'll be interested to see how the two rivals stack up
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BMW has taken a similar approach to improving its SUVs, so we'll be interested to see how the two rivals stack up
Even though it doesn't have a big V8 motor, the GLC still wears its AMG credentials proudly
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Even though it doesn't have a big V8 motor, the GLC still wears its AMG credentials proudly
Mercedes corporate face has quickly jumped from the S-Class all the way down the range
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Mercedes corporate face has quickly jumped from the S-Class all the way down the range
Special badging is one step AMG has taken to set the car apart from its more regular brethren
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Special badging is one step AMG has taken to set the car apart from its more regular brethren
The red aluminum cover on the engine is one giveaway that AMG has paid it a visit
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The red aluminum cover on the engine is one giveaway that AMG has paid it a visit
With adjustable air suspension, the GLC should prove versatile - even if most owners won't take their cars off road
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With adjustable air suspension, the GLC should prove versatile - even if most owners won't take their cars off road
Red stitching is another attempt to set the cabin apart from regular versions of the GLC, as are the red seatbelts
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Red stitching is another attempt to set the cabin apart from regular versions of the GLC, as are the red seatbelts
The GLC grows a list of marketing-driven, AMG badged Mercs without V8s
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The GLC grows a list of marketing-driven, AMG badged Mercs without V8s

Mercedes has been taking full advantage of AMG's tuning capabilities since it took a controlling interest in the brand in 1990, but it's taken until 2016 for the German giant to fully harvest the marketing potential of Affalterbach's work. The release of the GLC 43 4MATIC continues the rollout of less powerful AMG cars that trade on the tuning house's performance credibility, but don't offer the full-fat V8 experience it's famous for.

At the core of AMG's new SUV is the 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V6 that also serves under the hood of the E43 AMG and the new SLC 43. With 270 kW (367 hp), and 520 Nm (384 lb-ft) of torque available between 2,500 and 4,500 rpm, the GLC 43 handles the 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint in 4.9 seconds, exactly the same amount of time it takes the BMW X4 M40i. Coincidence? We think not.

Mercedes has increased negative camber on the car to improve turn in. We're not sure what that means in the wild, though
Mercedes has increased negative camber on the car to improve turn in. We're not sure what that means in the wild, though

There's plenty of performance trickery involved in sending 1,845 kg (4,068 lb) to 100 km/h in under five seconds. Thanks to an F1-inspired Nanoslide coating on the cylinder liners, internal components face less resistance for improved efficiency and less wear over the long term, while the engine's spray-guided injection system operates at 200 bar in another effort to improve efficiency.

The GLC 43 apes BMW's quick SUV in more ways than one. Just as BMW has worked hard to make sure the M40i's all-wheel drive system doesn't leave it feeling inert and understeery, Mercedes has tweaked its 4MATIC system to deliver a heavily rear-biased 31/69 front-to-rear torque split.

Also working to deliver the sporty handling its AMG badge promises is the GLC 43's tweaked suspension setup. The four-link front end on the car has been fitted with special steering knuckles and load bearing joints, and Affalterbach's engineers have cranked up the negative camber on both axles for better steering response.

The red aluminum cover on the engine is one giveaway that AMG has paid it a visit
The red aluminum cover on the engine is one giveaway that AMG has paid it a visit

Both axles have also been made stiffer, while Mercedes' air suspension system can be tweaked to deliver a comfortable long-range ride or a stiffer setup when you're keen for sharp handling. If these measures sound familiar it's because they're almost identical to the steps BMW M took to sharpen up its X4 M40i. Can you see a pattern emerging here?

Where the two performance SUVs differ is in their transmissions. Mercedes has fitted its GLC 43 with its own nine-speed automatic gearbox, whereas BMW utilizes an eight-speed ZF torque convertor. Having come under fire for dim-witted, slow changes and an abject refusal to give the driver full control, even in manual paddleshift mode, AMG has tweaked the gearbox programming to deliver faster upshifts in Sport and Sport Plus modes, as well allowing drivers to bash off the rev limiter without shifting up, rather than assuming it knows best and making an upshift automatically.

Inside, there's a sport steering wheel and sports seats to make the AMG feel a bit more special
Inside, there's a sport steering wheel and sports seats to make the AMG feel a bit more special

As well as tweaking the gearbox mapping, putting the car into its sportier modes makes the throttle response more aggressive and increases idle speed for a faster take off – perfect for scaring the kids on the way to soccer practice. The quicker steering response offered up in Sport and Sport Plus modes should also help if terrifying passengers is your goal.

To make sure you GLC stands out in a crowd, Mercedes has reached deep into its box of sporty trim pieces, fitting the MG SUV with 19-inch high-gloss black wheels, a racy quad exhaust system and BITURBO badging on the flanks. Trainspotters will also notice the bigger, 360 mm (14.17 in) front and 320 mm (12.58 in) rear brake discs hiding behind those special wheels. Inside, there's a sports steering wheel and sports seats to differentiate the AMG from garden-variety GLCs.

The GLC 43 4MATIC will debut at the New York Auto Show, with sales to kick off on April 4 this year.

Source: Daimler

1 comment
guzmanchinky
Am I missing something? It's not that great as a sports car, because it can go off road. It's not that great as an off road vehicle, because it has to be able to perform on the street (not that 99.999% of owners will ever go near dirt or tow anything). And if you can afford one of these, why not buy a sports car AND a Jeep Wrangler?