Mercedes-Benz GLC300 Coupe Gets Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Sibling
Porsche Macan S, BMW X4 M40i Put on Notice
Mercedes-Benz (and its high-performance marque Mercedes-AMG) announced a sibling for the previously announced GLC300 Coupe, adding the high-performance GLC43 Coupe to the stable. Due in the first few months of 2017, both SUVs will give Benz a proper Porsche Macan and BMW X4 fighter, offering high-riding style and nimble performance.
Presaged by the Concept GLC Coupé in 2015 and formally revealed in March of this year, the GLC Coupe’s two trim levels should cover most of the fastback-crossover market. At the bottom end, the GLC300 4Matic will come standard with a 2.0L turbocharged I-4 producing 241 hp and a stout 273 lb-ft (at just 1,300 rpm, no less). We’ve sampled this engine in everything from Benz’s compact CLA sedan to its Metris cargo van and found it to be peppy and fun, and we expect the GLC300 to follow suit. Standard 4Matic all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission should provide good traction and quick shifting. It will compare well to the X4 xDrive28i (240 hp, 258 lb-ft) and the Porsche Macan (252 hp, 273 lb-ft).
Revealed today, however, is the top-dog Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe. Featuring an AMG-enhanced 3.0L twin-turbocharged V-6, the GLC43 will have 362 hp and 384 lb-ft. Backed up by a nine-speed automatic that’s been massaged by Mercedes-AMG, the GLC43 should hit 60 mph in less than five seconds, matching the X4 M40i and Porsche Macan S. In fact, the GLC43’s output is higher than both those crossovers, with the X4 producing just 355 hp and 343 lb-ft and the Macan S making 340 hp and 339 lb-ft. We expect the GLC43 to be quicker than both, at about 4.5 seconds to 60 mph. Top speed will be limited at 130 mph, but unrestrained, we'd be surprised if it wouldn't hit 150 or more.
With AMG-tuned 4Matic all-wheel drive, the GLC43 will likely be a nippy handler too, since the system will default to rear-wheel–biased power delivery. Mercedes-AMG also buttoned the GLC Coupe's suspension down for GLC43 duty as well, with unique settings for the standard Air Body Control air suspension. Continuously variable damping will provide a smooth ride on all but the worst road surfaces, and the suspension can be manually set to three different modes: Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. Automatic roll and pitch mitigation will provide flatter handling, reduced brake dive, and improved rear-end squat during hard acceleration.
With standard Crosswind Assist, collision monitoring, LED headlamps, and power sunroof, all GLCs should be comfortable and composed. The GLC43 adds to that list of standard features, offering the extra performance of the AMG-tuned engine, transmission, suspension, and 4Matic system, plus AMG-specific interior and exterior styling enhancements. Heated front seats are optional on the GLC300 and standard on the GLC43, as is keyless entry. Adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, and a heads-up display are among the GLC Coupe’s optional features.
We still struggle with the concept of crossover coupes. Compromised interior space seems at odds with the crossover’s greatest benefit, and a heavy, high-riding crossover’s handling dynamics don’t always back up the promises that a fastback roofline makes. But since there are exceptions to every rule, the GLC Coupe looks like it might still be reasonably comfortable and impressively sporty. And although it’s just our opinion, we like the looks of the GLC Coupe, with its graceful lines and simple body surfacing, especially compared to the busy, overwrought X4.
If you want one, be prepared to wait. Benz promises the GLC300 Coupe will hit dealers in “early 2017,” while GLC43 shoppers will have to wait till the first quarter of 2017.