AMG GLC 43 a Unique SUV

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CHATHAM, Mass. – The new 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 SUV is a difficult car to drive on Cape Cod. Difficult because it wants to run, stretch its legs in ways the congested roads of this New England region do not allow.

The suspension smooths out any road imperfections as the speed increases, which, thanks to the silkiness of the 416-horsepower hybrid powerplant, happens seamlessly.

The GLC 43 is quiet, comfortable and packed with the latest in technology and features. Every mechanical system seems to have an electronically controlled power adjustment to aid in its operation.

Mild hybrid powerplant delivers performance, efficiency

Derived from technology developed for the Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 team, then engineered and produced by AMG, the Mercedes-Benz performance subsidiary, the GLC 43 features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine where the turbocharger is initially spun by an integral electric motor before the vehicle’s exhaust gases pick up the process. This means quicker throttle response and more efficient operation.

The engine’s technology results in an output of 416 horsepower at 6,750 rpm and 369 pounds-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. Depending on the situation, the system also briefly provides an additional boost of 13 hp by the belt-driven starter generator (RSG). The second-generation RSG acts as a mild hybrid, providing this temporary boost of power as well as functions such as gliding and recuperation to maximize efficiency. With this 48-volt technology, the transitions between the start/stop function and the gliding function are almost imperceptible.

According to the company, the GLC 43 accelerates from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in 4.7 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

This power flows to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission and the Mercedes-AMG 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system which has a permanent power distribution between the front and rear axles of 31 to 69 percent. The rear-biased configuration provides enhanced dynamic handling, including higher lateral acceleration and improved traction when accelerating.

The comprehensive technology which enables this much power from a 2-liter engine also works to produce excellent fuel economy in a compact sport-utility vehicle (SUV). The federal Environmental Protection Agency rates the GLC 43 SUV at 21 miles per gallon overall (19 urban, 25 highway). My overall numbers hovered between 23.6 and 24.4 mpg during my week behind the wheel.

A platform engineered for performance

The AMG engineers and designers revamped virtually every major aspect of the GLC platform in creating the GLC 43. This includes the AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension with aluminum double wishbones, anti-squat and in the rear, anti-dive control, lightweight coil springs and stabilizer bar as well as Adaptive Damping System on the front and AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension with aluminum double wishbones, anti-squat and anti-dive control, lightweight coil springs and stabilizer as well as Adaptive Damping System and active rear-axle steering.

The standard AMG brake system features internally ventilated and perforated brake discs measuring 14.6 x 1.4 inches with four-piston fixed calipers at the front and 14.2 x 1 inches with single-piston floating calipers at the rear. Electronic parking brake, anti-lock system (ABS), brake assist and three-stage ESP® (Electronic Stability Program) are also part of the overall braking system.

Advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) included as standard on the GLC 43 SUV include blind-spot assist with exit warning; Pre-Safe; adaptive high-beam assist, and PARKTRONIC with active parking assist.

The brakes operate within 20-inch AMG-designed 10-spoke wheels with black accents wearing 265/45R20 front and 295/40R20 rear, summer high-performance tires.

The sum of these parts is a vehicle which drives like a performance car not an SUV. The top speed may be limited to 155 mph, but the power to get to that speed comes on when the driver wants and needs it. Carving up tight, twisting hilly roads is child’s play in the CLC 43. And it goes about its business in quiet comfort with the road imperfections smoothing out as the vehicle gains speed.

This combination of attributes creates a cabin cocoon where speed becomes almost imperceptible – you find yourself driving faster than you both want to drive and realize you are driving. Overall, an extremely easy vehicle to drive quickly, regardless of road conditions.

Interior features reach premium standards

The 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 SUV comes with a plethora of standard interior technology features. As mentioned, power adjustments filled the cabin for seats (heated), steering wheel, folding external mirrors and liftgate (hands-free).

The review unit’s Pinnacle Package ($4,300 option) included a comprehensive navigation system (with the best map graphics I have ever experienced), surround-view monitor, LED digital projection headlights, AMG head-up display, heat and noise-insulating glass and Burmester 3D Surround Sound System audio for the infotainment system.

Like all of today’s Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the GLC 43 has systems and capabilities which require a steeper learning curve than other vehicles, but once mastered, the unique switchgear and capabilities become second nature and a major part of the ownership experience.

The cost of excellence

No Mercedes-Benz model is inexpensive. They all represent the top portion of the premium/luxury motoring segment, and the 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 SUV goes to a higher plateau with a price commensurate with this position. As reviewed, the GLC 43 carried a price of $72,020 which included $7,070 in options (Pinnacle Package; Sienna Brown/black leather interior, $1,620; Nautical Blue Metallic paint, $750; and the wheels, $200, to name a few).

There are numerous premium compact SUVs on the American market with examples from the leading domestic, European and Asian manufacturers. The Mercedes-Benz GLC family is one of those, but after the company’s performance specialists at AMG finish working their magic on this platform, they turn it into something extraordinary.

Next week TBR Drives the 2024 Toyota Crown sedan.

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Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.