We previously sampled the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 in SUV form, but our first experience of this facelift version comes in the Coupe version. It's mechanically identical to the SUV version, albeit with a slightly less practical swooping roof line - and a higher price tag.
The AMG style tweaks, including the revamped grille, LED headlights, 20-inch AMG alloys, rear diffuser and twin tailpipes definitely add a subtle yet welcome note of differentiation to the regular GLC.
The interior is as comfortably and spacious as you’d expect from a Mercedes SUV. While you wouldn’t call either particularly essential kit for an SUV, the sports seats are pleasantly enveloping and the flat-bottomed AMG steering wheel comfortable to hold. And, as with the non-AMG GLC models, the controls, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.25-inch MBUX touchscreen are well laid out and easy to use.
But it’s the enhancements under the bonnet that most intrigue with this version. Mecedes-AMG says it has been able to add 23bhp to the engine output through a combination of software upgrades and a larger, standalone turbocharger - mounted closer to the engine to minimise response times. The nine-speed automatic gearbox remains, peak torque remains unchanged at 384lb ft, and the top speed stays at a limited 155mph.
That peak torque is available between 2500 and 4500rpm, and you can certainly feel its benefit from standstill. The V6 enables rapid progress from standstill, despite it shifting what remains a relatively hefty SUV.
The extra whack of power doesn’t add much to the turbocharged six-pot’s soundtrack; while it does respond with a pleasing rasp if you work it, it remains fairly subdued compared to higher-level AMG models. Switch to Sport and Sport Plus mode and the automatic box holds gears longer for better response, and in manual mode the system happily lets you get on with it as you choose.
Crucially, the GLC 43 retains the strong ride dynamics that we experienced in the pre-facelift model. In the standard ride modes the suspension smoothes out most imperfections and the handling is sharp, making for a performance SUV that will remain comfortable even on long journeys. In In the sportier drive mode settings the ride is on the stiff side, although not overly so. It does a decent job of making the GLC’s weight although if you really push you will experience a fair amount of body roll. Even AMG’s engineers can’t quite cheat the laws of physics that apply to heavy, high-riding SUVs.