It's tough to put modern SUVs into categories. It's been coming for a while, but all the dividing lines between tall station wagons, minivans, crossovers, and traditional SUVs are getting blurry. For example, consider the 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC43 Coupe. It's kind of an SUV, but its fastback roofline says sports car. It's also a hatchback, and one of the most advanced luxury vehicles you can buy.
The GLC43 is part of a new class of vehicles that blend the appeal of a luxury car and an SUV. The BMW X4M and Porsche Cayenne compete with the AMG GLC in this class, where performance and technology meet comfort and utility.
Performance is not in question with any AMG Mercedes. The AMG designation comes from an aftermarket performance center that Mercedes-Benz bought and brought in-house about 20 years ago. Now AMG is a performance sub-brand of Mercedes. The GLC43 is a modified version of the GLC 300, plussed up with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 good for 385 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. AMG also replaces the GLC's 9-speed automatic transmission with a performance-oriented 9-speed dual-clutch unit. All of the AMG GLC models come with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive. If that's not enough, you can upgrade to the GLC63 with a V8 engine and 469 horsepower.
The performance orientation of the AMG GLC continues in the suspension and brakes, which are on par with any performance car in the same price range. Inside the AMG GLC, you'll enjoy a sport-oriented interior, with optional AMG Performance Seats, which the test car had. Those seats can be a little bit too firm on longer drives, and many owners will be happier with the standard AMG sport seats.
Mercedes-Benz is currently leading the industry in driver assistance technology. If it exists on Earth, you can get it in a Mercedes-Benz. It starts with the voice-activated MBUX user interface. Don't worry if you aren't good with the touchpad infotainment control; I'm not good at it either. Just say "Hey Mercedes" and tell the GLC what you want. You can turn on the seat heat, change the radio station, or ask the system to go online and read you this review. The MBUX system will do it all, and more. Then there's the optional navigation package with augmented reality video. This system not only tells you where to turn, it overlays the forward-looking camera view with street names and instructional arrows.
You can get all that in the base GLC as well as the AMG. You can save about $20,000 if you don't need the performance features, and still get the same underlying attractive SUV. But if you want the performance and looks of a high-end sports coupe and the convenience of an SUV, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC43 is your ride.
2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC43 4MATIC
Base price: $63,000
Price as tested: $83,550
Type: Compact crossover SUV
Engine: 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (385 hp, 384 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 9-speed dual-clutch automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 18/24
Overall length: 186.2 inches
Curb weight: 4,208 pounds
Final assembly: Bremen, Germany
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