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2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 43 Coupe – Car Review – The Largely Impractical SUV

2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 43 Coupe – Car Review – The Largely Impractical SUV

Long gone are the days of black and white, when things were simply just one thing or the other. Now we have a market that caters to multiple tiny niches, some of which you have to explain to people each and every time you say the word. Like Coupe; for the longest time this had been used to describe a car with the body style of two doors and a fixed roof, usually shorter than the sedan or wagon of the same model.

But now it seems to mean a vehicle that look more streamlined than the normal variant. Which has given birth to the 4-door coupe, and 4-door SUV coupe? Both of which I look at with an oddly raised eyebrow, wondering what all the fuss is about.

Instead of choosing which model you want, now you need to pick which shape that model comes in first.

The Range

The Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV starts with two shape variants. Your more typical SUV with a square rear end, and the Coupe – sloped or fastback model. They designate the difference with Coupe at the end. So the square backed model is the GLC, and the sloped back is the GLC Coupe.

Within the lineup you have 4 models; two petrol and two diesel. It starts with the GLC 220d which starts are $89,900 and $98,900 for the coupe. Next is the GLC 250 which starts at $95,900 and $103,900 for the coupe. The second diesel is the GLC 250d which is $97,900 and $105,900 for the coupe. And finally the AMG 43, which begins at $118,800 and $123,900 for the coupe.

The GLC is available in 10 colors, two of which are standard. Black Non-Metallic and Polar White Non-Metallic. Every other paint option, however, comes at an additional cost. Obsidian Black Metallic, Iridium Silver Metallic, Cavansite Blue Metallic, Brilliant Blue Metallic, Diamond Silver Metallic and Selenite Grey Metallic are all $990 extra. And designo Diamond White BRIGHT Metallic and designo Hyacinth Red Metallic are $1,990 extra.

Add to this the interior trim inlays options, of which there are 5.  Black ash open-pore wood, black piano-lacquer look – light longitudinal aluminium trim, Dark Brown Line Structure High-Gloss Wood (Only available as part of designo Package $5590) and light brown high-gloss lime wood which are standard. The AMG Carbon fibre/longitudinal aluminium trim is $1,490 extra.

The standard equipment for the GLC Coupe range is impressive and would take up an entire page to list. So I will just say that the AMG 43 has everything the GLC 220d Coupe has plus the following options as standard. Memory function with 3 settings for all seat adjustments & exterior mirrors, Heated front seats with 3 heating levels, head-up display with virtual image windscreen projection, COMAND Online with 21.3cm TFT colour display, Burmester® surround sound system with 13 speakers, AIRBODY CONTROL suspension with selective damping system, 21″ AMG 5 twin-spoke alloy wheels in bi-colour black, glass sunroof with heat-insulating glass, Night Package, AMG spoiler lip and anti-theft alarm with tow-away protection and interior surveillance system.

First Impressions

It’s not for me – that’s my first impression in a nutshell. Maybe my bedroom posters and previous car history have twisted my vision somewhat. But this coupe has 2 more doors than it should and is about 2 feet too tall. Right, now that I have that out of my system, I can get on with the review.

To be fair, it’s not the world’s worst looking vehicle. The wheels are the most eye-catching part, as they are so big, at 21 inches with 255/40 tyres. These are highlighted more by the dark plastic wheel arches surrounding each one.

The body itself has some nice lines, with everything front of the windscreen matching the standard GLC; the major difference is where the roof starts to slope from the B-pillar all the way to the rear end. And its rear end is a big one – thankfully it is simple and tastefully designed, but I am not sure the stuck on spoiler lip was the best choice. This would have been better in black or a carbon material, anything other than body colored, as it made it feel like an aftermarket bit, just stuck on with double-sided tape.

The Inside

Once in, you knew right away that this was an AMG. It has the right look and feels for a luxury AMG vehicle. And the interior trim was my own personal favourite; black ash open-pore wood. This trim has a very nice rich feel to it, soft touch, but it feels handcrafted in some way. I would suggest this trim over the piano black trim, as it’s very easy to get the piano black one dirty and covered in fingerprints, which you can not do with the black ash trim.

Like any AMG, the seats were great – very comfy and supportive. And there are endless ways to adjust the seats. I am not a fan of the controls on the doors, as I feel you just set these and never need them again, so why not hide them away like everyone else. The Steering wheel was flat bottomed with Alcantara side grips, which I really liked, giving it a very sporty and luxurious feel. The paddles, however, seemed a bit pointless. The GLC has 9 gears, so unless you’re in 2nd or 3rd, the rest of the gears are pointless for paddles. I found that I lost track of the gear numbers, and would sometimes go down to few or too many gears, denoted by the lower or higher engine noise at the time.

My nemesis: the COMAND media screen that looks like its stuck on with velcro is still here. Mercedes, please blend this in, everyone hates it, and it’s the only thing in the cabin that feels cheap and made in China.

From in here, you don’t feel like you’re in a coupe at all. Without looking behind, and you can’t see much when you do due to the sloping rear window. It generally feels like you’re in a big SUV. Some people might find the size of the GLC Coupe a bit daunting, and this may be exacerbated when trying to parallel park as you have to rely on cameras and side mirrors, due to the massively restricted view out the back window.

The back seats were the big test, and I was pleasantly surprised that I could get in and sit comfortably. The sloping roof had a bump-shaped into it for heads in the back, which stopped taller people like myself from having to bend their heads when seated. This was great, and overall the rear was a nice place to be. The only noticeable thing was the sloping glass on the rear doors and the claustrophobic feeling of the roof and windows sloping down towards you.

The boot is a good space, and deep – something that is made more noticeable by the large hatchback like boot the coupe has. It’s 500 litres would serve most people very well. But you may suffer when buying anything large like furniture or equipment, as the roof line slopes down really fast, and does not give you much more room above the sliding boot cover.

There was a surprise feature in the boot, a button along the side which when pressed, lowered the rear of the vehicle, making it easier to lift items in and out of the back.

The Drive

There are two portions to the drive: with AMG mode off and with it on. Let’s start with it off but first let’s talk about what makes an AMG. It’s usually 3 things, barking mad power, face melting speed and crotch-wetting sound. These to me are the basic ingredients. So as I stand back and work down the list, barking mad power, check. Face melting speed, check. Crotch wetting sound, hmmm, sort of. And I will explain why.

Around town, the GLC, is running its 3.0L V6 at low rpm, like any normal V6. However, the one thing you can’t really hear around town is the engine. All you can hear is the exhaust, and that kid’s Honda down the street that drives you mental drone. I don’t get what happened here, why does this vehicle sound like a boy racer’s car in comfort mode? Let’s quickly jump to the AMG Sport + mode to explain this further. This mode is what AMG are all about, you press the pedal, and your pants fall off with excitement. It’s fast – really fast, and it sounds so good. It’s like the valves have opened up and the thunderous roar of Satan himself screams out of the exhausts. But hang on, what happened to the boy racer, where did this beast appear from?

What you soon find out is in order to get that amazing sound when you have the pedal to the floor, and your pants around your ankles, the exhaust has to be constructed is a certain way. A way that means, when the values are closed and comfort mode is on, you’re left with the boy racer drone again. And no one buys a $130,000 vehicle for boy racer drone – no-one. This vehicle would have been so much better if there was no sound at all when in comfort mode. Sadly that’s not the case. And what is the case is that you spend most of your time in Comfort mode, pottering around the city, and it becomes more annoying day by day. Some may not notice it, but everyone I had in the GLC did, and not all of them were car people.

The handling of the GLC was, however, impressive. You could not help wonder what sort of magic was being used to keep this big vehicle on the road. When you get off the long-running motorways and on to the back country roads you really notice how big it is. But you also notice how easy it is to the position, and how sharp it is in the corners. This car seemed too big to have fun in, but it’s not, and when you have the AMG Sports+ mode on, and the engine is singing away, you could almost think you were in a coupe, carving up the exciting roads ahead.

What it’s up against

As the 4-door sports coupe SUV market is a niche one, you will find that your options are limited. Right now, there are only two brands that offer this sort of specification; Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Since we are left with those two brands, and I suspect that most people looking at these models will want something stylish. The Mercedes-Benz is going to be the obvious choice.

Mid SIze SUV

Brand / ModelEnginePower Kw/NmFuel L/100km0-100km/hBoot Capacity LitresPrice Highest to Lowest
BMW X4 xDrive35d3.0L Twin Turbo inLine 6230kw / 630Nm6.0L5.2500$130,400
Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 43 Coupe 3.0L V6 Twin Turbo270kw / 520Nm8.9L4.9500$124,900

ProsCons
  • Powerful like an AMG should be
  • Great sound at high RPM
  • Smooth and comfy ride
  • Easy to drive, even for its size
  • Quality, luxury AMG interior
  • LED Headlight are amazing
  • Easy access boot due to sloping roof
  • Top shelf sound system
  • Paying more than the Coupe, but for less vehicle than standard GLC
  • The exhaust drone around low rpm or city driving
  • Brakes felt a little soft for the size of the vehicle
  • Hard to see out the back when parking
  • High consumption due to small engine and large turbos
  • Outdated sunroof on the Coupe model, which is a panoramic glass roof on standard version
  • Additional cost for any colour other than black and white

What do we think?

This was a tough one for me, and I think it comes down to the customer and the niche markets they are in. In general, this coupe makes no sense to me. If I want a coupe, I will go and buy a 2 door sports coupe. And if I want to buy an SUV, I will buy a big roomy, maybe 7-seater SUV, and that’s that.

I just don’t see the point of paying more for a vehicle, when you’re obviously getting less. But here is where the problem lies: I am not one of these niche customers. Who, from my point of view, would be high-income professional, sports active couples, without any children. Which means they don’t need the space that the rest of us might see as a waste – they just see the nice lines and sporty design.

Overall this was a nice vehicle, and if it was not wearing the AMG badge, I would have given it higher marks. However it was, and it was a bit disappointing in the sound department. Something no AMG should every be labelled with.

Rating – Chevron rating 3.5 out of 5

2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 43 Coupe

Vehicle TypeAll wheel drive luxury 4 door SUV coupe
Starting Price$107,739
Tested Price$124,890
Engine3.0L Twin Turbo V6, Direct-injection
Transmission9G-TRONIC automatic transmission

 

Kerb Weight1855 kg
Length x Width x Height4732 x 2096 x 1602 mm
Cargo Capacity500 Litres
Fuel Tank 66 litres
Fuel Efficiency Advertised Spec – Combined – 8.8 L / 100km

Real World Test – Combined – 11.5 L / 100km

ANCAP Safety Ratings5 Stars

 

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