Performance and practicality never really go hand-in-hand. You always tend to sacrifice more on either of the two and are left wanting. However, Mercedes might just have solved the problem with the GLC 43 Coupe. It is a car that isn’t big on drama or even performance, but just a glance will reveal that it is, in fact, all the SUV you need.
The design is subtle and pleasing, and for those who like the coupe-SUV look, the GLC 43 has just the right proportions. Like on all new AMGs, you get the wide and prominent Panamericana grill up front and sportier bumpers with a blacked-out front splitter to add to the sporty credentials. Over to the side, the coupe silhouette is rather nice to look at with the roofline sweeping down gently and merging with the boot lid. The 20-inch wheels too are snazzy and go well with the AMG badge. At the rear, the GLC is quintessential Mercedes with large and narrow wraparound taillamps and a blacked-out diffuser that also houses the quad AMG exhausts.
Step inside, and you notice the interior is excellent in terms of design and quality. Everything you touch feels plush right from the leather and Alcantara mix on the upholstery to the open-pore wood on the centre console. The 12.3-inch touchscreen too is crisp, and the MBUX works seamlessly. What is also a modern touch is the fully-digital and customisable instrument cluster. You can go all-out and make it racier or have it in the conventional two-dial setup as well.
Another neat touch is the healthy dose of ‘red’ to the overall interior. There is red stitching on the seats, steering, and you even have bright red seatbelts that look very sporty. Seats too are comfy and even though are on the sportier side, offer good comfort even on long trips. We would have liked a more defined dead pedal though.
Back seat space is never the talking point of an AMG, but on the GLC Coupe, it isn’t laughable. There is a decent amount of legroom and good headroom despite that sloping roof. However, it is a place best for two adults.
Now that we’re past all the mundane bits, how is the GLC 43 like to drive?
In one word? Exciting. Yes, this isn’t the full-bore ‘63’ with a V8 engine, but even this 3.0-litre V6 with twin-turbos is a hoot. 384bhp on tap with a 0-100kph time of just 4.9secs, means you have an AMG that is anything but tame and docile. Add to that the all-wheel drive and the swift 9-speed automatic gearbox and you have strong performance on offer at all times. The suspension too can be tuned specifically between Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus, but it is inherently an AMG so ride is a bit on the firmer side. You will feel almost every ridge and cut in the road, and it is far from being plush, but what it loses out in terms of ride quality, it gains in handling. The GLC, even though is a big-ish SUV, handles almost like a hatchback. The steering is fluid, the balance is very good, and it is one SUV that driving enthusiasts would love.
However, it is surprisingly easy and adept in the everyday city chaos and traffic, and thanks to the SUV proportions, you need not worry about scraping it over bumps and potholes. It has all the makings of a daily-driver along with the performance of a true AMG. You’d find yourself wanting to be at the front of a red-light so you could press the exhaust button on the centre console that opens up the valves and just flex your right foot. Even small spurts from 0-60kph are hysterical, and you tend to grin almost all the time you drive the GLC.
It is this dual-purpose nature that is the biggest highlight of the GLC 43. It makes mundane trips between work and home that much more exciting, and on an open winding stretch of road, it can keep up with the low-slung sportscars as well.
However, the cherry on top is that the GLC 43 is the first AMG to be assembled in India, which makes it a CKD, and that means a price reduction. We expect the number to be around Rs 75 lakh mark. Of course, it still will command a decent chunk over the standard Coupe, but as far as AMGs go, it is one very appealing sportscar alternative.