Do you need more?
The horsepower races that began in the mid-2000s have brought us to unheard of power levels for cars. The conundrum is that those power levels, once reserved for sportscars, supercars and hypercars, are now available in the lowly old SUV. We live in a time when a Ford Edge ST produces 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft, that’s 1990’s Ferrari beating territory. All this begs the question, when is enough enough? The Tim Allen (for those who remember Tim the “Tool-man”), in me, says enough is never enough. However, the practical me says that my daily driver or family car should be able to carry what and who I need in comfort. It should also answer the task of passing a car on the highway or the occasional sprint off the line from a green light or say a spirited drive up the Sea to Sky highway when the need arises. This is the point where the GLC43 slots in. In the Mercedes family of SUV’s, the GLC sits in the “Compact” category. However, don’t let the term fool you, the GLC slots in about equal to the BMW X3 in size, and for those who don’t know, the current X3 is bigger than the first-gen X5.
The GLC family is offered in a varied mix, starting with the GLC 300 housing an inline-four boosted to 255 hp, the turbocharged GLC 300 can rush to 100 in just 6.2 seconds. Second, we have the GLC 350e, which adds plug-in hybrid power with a 90kw electric motor good for 315 hp (combined) and 0-100 in 5.7 seconds. Third, is the AMG GLC 43 with a biturbo V6 adding up to 385 hp and 0-100 in 4.9 seconds. Last in the line, is the handcrafted biturbo V8 in the AMG GLC 63 S which unleashes 503 bhp and a 0-100 rush in just 3.8 seconds.
It’s the 43 that hits that driver sweet spot, giving the driver and occupants the best combination of efficiency, power and thrill. Having 503 horsepower on tap in what is ostensibly a family car can have dire consequences if you opt for the AMG GLC 63. How comfortable would you feel handing over that type of power to your teenager when they want to go to the movies with their friends. What would I have done in those shoes… That said, 385 hp and with the majority of torque on tap just over 2000 rpm on the AMG GLC 43, means that the power is delivered in a linear fashion all the way up to about 5500 rpm. Power is there when you need it and is accompanied with a raspy growl and pops on overruns, upshifts and downshifts. It’s actually quite exhilarating and juvenile at the same time.
The interior is a comfortable place to be. The 2020 GLC receives the Mercedes MBUX system but does not use the panoramic LCD layout of the GLB and GLE. Switchgear feels solid and exact like only the Bavarian’s can do. Combine this with a carbon fibre center console, and the 43’s sporty nature begins to look apparent to occupants. The seating is well-bolstered for the back road carving you are sure to undertake. The flat bottom wheel feels meaty in your hands and quick dial settings for drive modes and suspension settings. Where the interior slightly lacks against competitors like BMW and Audi is space. The GLC offers less cargo and overall interior dimensions than either and, in certain finishes, falls behind its competitors.
What the GLC lacks against its competitors in interior space it makes up in exterior design. The GLC 43 recieves aggressive front and rear facias, quad black exhaust tips, clearly indicating what the 43 offers. Combine this with piano black finishes and accents and AMG-specific multispoke wheels, and the 43 announces its true intentions as a perfect AMG choice for the family and enthusiast in one.