What is it?
While Mercedes-AMG has had mixed form with its entry-level ’43’ performance models, we were impressed with the all-round balance of performance, luxury and comfort offered by the GLC version when we first tried it. And now, following a mid-life refresh for the whole GLC range, the AMG version of the mid-size SUV has been given a makeover.
As with regular versions of the GLC, the revamped version of the performance SUV has been given a facelift including a new bespoke AMG grille and lights. But more significant is that it’s also been given more power, with fettling to the 3.0-litre V6 twin turbo lifting output to 385bhp from 362bhp previously.
Alongside that, AMG’s engineers have done a spot of fiddling with the rear-biased all-wheel-drive system and the chassis dynamics, with aim to boost agility. So does that extra engine output and minor fettling add to the driving experience, or upset the all-round balance that we've praised in the GLC 43 until now?
What's it like?
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.