Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupe review: 362bhp SUV tested

The Mercedes GLC Coupe is a slightly less practical version of the regular GLC SUV

What have we here? A Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe review?

Indeed we do. The Mercedes GLC Coupe is, to all intents and purposes, a slightly less practical version of the regular GLC SUV. Like the BMW X6 is to the BMW X5.

It gets a sloping, coupe-like roofline that impinges on boot space, rear-headroom and rear-visibility in the name of ‘style’. Or a lack thereof, depending on your point of view.

We’ve driven the GLC Coupe before – but with the familiar, 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel. This one’s the AMG 43, which means it’s got a(rather lovely) 3.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 petrol with 362hp, and four-wheel drive that’s biased towards the rear axle. Which is what you want.

Numbers? 0 to 100km/h comes up in 4.9secs and the top speed is 250km/h. Think of it as an entry-level AMG, one-rung below the inevitable, as-yet unannounced GLC 63 AMG Coupe.

They do a ‘normal’ GLC 43 too, don’t they?

Yep. We’ve driven that too, and we quite liked it. Swift enough (no slower than the Coupe, in fact), and the air suspension gave “the right amount of support and control without introducing any harshness”, according to Ollie Marriage at the time. The same cannot be said of the Coupe.

Really? Why not?

Much as we respect Mercedes for having a muck about with the Coupe’s standard air suspension – so this isn’t merely a less practical, more expensive version of the regular GLC, but something with, in their eyes, a tangible dynamic benefit – we don’t think it’s worked.

In any of its three suspension modes – comfort, sport and sport plus – the GLC Coupe thumps over potholes and expansion joints. In comfort it floats a bit too much over big crests and dips, and it never really seems to settle on the motorway. Not uncomfortable, but odd.

If the GLC Coupe were to offer a much better drive than the normal GLC 43 we might be able to forgive it, but it doesn’t. Yes, it’s quite agile, but the steering isn’t anything special and the chassis, while competent, doesn’t involve you like a Porsche Macan’s would.

In short, the Coupe is not a massively more dynamic proposition than the SUV, and we reckon that’s a bit of a missed opportunity.

So I should just buy the SUV?

Yes, please. The Coupe is not without merit – it’s fast, fairly agile and there’s little roll. You can cover ground really very quickly, traffic law permitting, naturally. The interior is as good as any C-Class-based Mercedes, and the engine is a strong, sonorous performer. We like it a lot.

The gearbox even responds pretty faithfully to a flicked paddle. But if you’re someone who wants a performance SUV, and are wondering whether the Coupe’s supposed added dynamism outweighs the inherent compromises you get in an SUV like this, don’t. The regular GLC 43 is a surprisingly good thing, and worthy of your consideration. 

TopGear
Author: TopGear
Top Gear is a British television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars, and is the most widely watched factual television programme in the world.

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