With Mercedes-Benz now building AMGs in India, the updated GLC 43 AMG Coupe is the first one to roll out. With a price tag of just under Rs 91 lakh (OTR Mumbai), it’s around Rs 14 lakh more than the top-spec GLC Coupe. Sound like value to you?
Also, what if I said that the price now hovers around the larger Mercedes-Benz GLE and BMW X5? Okay, this is where we emphasise that this size of SUV is thoroughly usable, particularly in the AMG form. To set things straight, here are five things that we were ecstatic about in the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupe, and two that we weren’t so fond of.
1. Sizzling performance with matching exhaust note
If you only thought driving this car is a profound experience, wait till you crank it. As you hit start button, the 385bhp 3.0-litre Bi-Turbo V6 howls into life while the headlights come alive in a snazzy formation. It’s insane!
Then, comes the power delivery. It is so addictive, the deprived me was almost always in Sport+ mode. You see, 100kmph takes an outrageous 4.75 seconds while 150kmph comes up in just 10 seconds. Intuitively, you tend to get used to viewing motorists only in your rear view mirror, because overtaking capabilities or the 40-100kmph run as I’d have it, takes an obliterating 3.95 seconds!
2. Quick gearbox
Well, we certainly can’t have so much performance with a sissy gearbox, can we? So this one was an expected; a nine-speed AMG Speedshift torque convertor. Again, Sport+ mode is the way to go, else downshifts aren’t lightning enough, if you know what I mean.
But like I always say, auto mode kills the fun. So I stamp the throttle after devilishly slotting into manual mode, going up and down the nine gears of this quick ‘box. By now, there’s just infinite drama as I’m shifting at the maniac 6200rpm limit, the angry exhaust note popping, cracking while at it. It’s just crazy bonkers if you ask me!
3. Corner carver
Merc-AMG has really doped this chassis with some pristine chassis engineering that’s exceptionally well-mated to the all-wheel drive setup. These attributes combined with some divine damping and wide 20-inchers mean going around corners doesn’t feel like you’re swirling 2460kg gross around, seriously.
In like manner, this Coupe SUV also exhibits exceptional high-speed stability which goes in its favour of being a long distance mile-muncher.
4. Front seat comfort and space
Space is not a concern in the front portion of the GLC 43 Coupe. Even for those with large frames, there’s no dearth of head or shoulder room here. For that matter, the front seats are supremely bolstered with firm cushioning that braces you deftly. This is further complemented by the adjustable lumbar, thigh support, and I can’t tell you how all of this work together in holding you like a baby when going spiritedly around a corner.
And since we’re on the topic, something also worth noting is the grippy AMG steering with prominent paddle-shifters. For the record, visibility from the explicitly adjustable driver’s seat out the front is spot-on, especially around the A-pillar.
5. AMG brag rights
Of course this matters! Being an AMG has its own set of repertoires, the most important one being ‘enhanced expectations’. So expectedly, one gets the acclaimed AMG Dynamic select and lots of AMG badging generously splashed across the dark interiors to match the red seams and seat belts.
And oh, AMG badging on the exteriors too, like in the extravagant front brake-callipers. What’s more, you also get an AMG spoiler lip and the exuberant AMG sports exhaust system (two twin-exhaust pipes). Others include the spectacular 20-inch AMG alloy wheels, the sporty aluminium-look running boards with rubber studs, and a whole bunch of other outstanding goodies.
1. Jarring ride quality
Alright, I might be exaggerating a wee bit. But my first few minutes in the GLC 43 Coupe was a frantic toggling between modes to get the air suspension off the stiffest setting. But hmm, it was slotted in Comfort mode!
In case I wasn’t clear, the ride quality even in ‘Comfort’ can be stiff at slower speeds, especially over serious bumps. However, as the speed progresses, this sportier GLC settles down. Yet, there’s no doubt that one will find the ride quality of this SUV firm until and unless a flat stretch of road is travelled upon. Which is quite a rarity these days, isn’t it?
2. Not so frugal
I admit that for the time this GLC 43 Coupe spent in my hands, I drove it like how it needed to be; hard and fast. It’s that good. But then comes a time (a sad one) when we have to test the frugality of a car too. And that’s when (mostly) we switch to the most economic drive mode; to even things out.
As we found out, a fuel efficiency figure of 5-6kmpl on an average is what we got. To tell you the truth, it isn’t concerning at all, considering that’s what my Fiat Palio 1.6 used to return!
So here comes the million dollar question. Is it worth your hard-earned cash? Well, of-course, yes! The first made-in-India AMG 43 avatar of the brand’s most popular name plate, the GLC, is simply a hoot to drive, with just the right number of horses stuffed under the hood, and very little going against it if you’re always going to be behind the wheel.
Pictures by Kapil Angane