7
It may be quick, but the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupé isn’t much fun and far less practical than the regular GLC

What is it?

Put the word coupé into the world’s favourite online search engine and you’ll find that it means a car with a solid roof, two doors and a sloping rear. Over the past few years, that definition has changed beyond recognition – stick a fastback on anything and you can call it a coupé these days.

That brings us to the GLC 43 Coupé, a twin-turbo V6 version of Merc’s mid-sized SUV with added ‘style’. It’s good for a 4.9sec 0-62 time, a figure that’s identical to the regular GLC 43. In fact, the only thing that’s reduced is boot capacity – there’s around 200 litres less.

There have been some changes to the air springs to help deliver a more ‘dynamic’ driving experience. These are still adjustable between three stiffness levels, should you not be in the mood for rapid transit.

What's it like?

Slip behind the wheel, and you’d be hard pushed to notice the difference between this and the regular GLC - unless you look in the mirror. While the dash and view down the bonnet is pretty much the same, rear visibility is seriously hampered by the sloping roof and high rear window.

Start driving and you soon realise that the Coupé feels rather different to the regular GLC. Where that strikes a good balance between ride quality and body control, the Coupé is troubled by rough surfaces far more. In Comfort mode, there’s too much float and wallow over crests and compressions, while bumps and potholes still send a thump through the car.

Sport mode sorts out the body control, but you’ll feel poor surfaces even more. Body roll is at least well contained although the stiffer springing means you get jostled around in your seat by mid-corner bumps. Switch up to Sport Plus mode and things get very bumpy indeed, we suspect you’d need a track to take advantage of the added roll stiffness.

We’d be prepared to accept that if there was some fun to be had, but sadly it’s all very competent and not that much of a giggle. Yes, you can cover ground very quickly for such a big thing, but the steering proves lifeless and the variable rack suddenly speeds up with a bit of lock on.

When you get back on the power, there’s none of the playfulness you get in a Porsche Macan and the stability control is always present. The best you can hope for is a neutral balance, but understeer is never too far away.

The motor certainly has plenty of grunt, though. There’s decent torque from low down yet it’s happy to rev out if you want to enjoy its six-cylinder rasp. Stick it in Sport Plus mode and you even get some pops and crackles from the exhaust.

Inside, the interior looks great and all the controls are easy to find. The infotainment system is a little trickier to use than Audi’s MMI or BMW’s iDrive, but we still prefer it to a touchscreen. As for the back, space is predictably not quite as good, thanks to the sloping roof.

Should I buy one?

The GLC 43 Coupé is most definitely a niche within a niche – effectively it’s a big, practical SUV with much of the practicality taken out. Throw in an engine that tends to do around 27mpg even when driven with some restraint and numb handling, and it’s tricky to recommend.

Ultimately, you’d have to be completely smitten with how the GLC Coupé looks and want something with some pace to consider it. If you’re just after a stylish SUV with entertaining handling, a Porsche Macan makes significantly more sense.

2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupé

Location West Sussex; On sale Now; Price £51,850; Engine V6, 2996cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power 362bhp at 5500-6000rpm Torque 384Ib ft at 2500-4500rpm; Gearbox Nine-speed automatic; Kerb weight 1855kg; 0-62mph 4.9secs; Top speed 155mph (limited); Economy 33.6mpg CO2/tax band 192g/km, 37%; Rivals Porsche Macan GTS, Jaguar F-Pace 3.0 S

 

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Comments
8

2 March 2017
No mention of the problems with the tyres deforming on these cars when on full lock, or did Mercedes' PR person forbid full use of the steering wheel?

TS7

3 March 2017
[quote=Jeremy]No mention of the problems with the tyres deforming on these cars when on full lock, or did Mercedes' PR person forbid full use of the steering wheel?[/quote] ...that Autocar actually drove it and failed to experience such a notable "characteristic".

2 March 2017
Putting a sloping roof on a jacked-up, 5-door hatch-back SUV, doesn't make it a coupé.

Citroëniste.

3 March 2017
[quote=Bob Cholmondeley]Putting a sloping roof on a jacked-up, 5-door hatch-back SUV, doesn't make it a coupé.[/quote] What is a coupe now? A scirocco is a 3door hatch, a 1 series coupe is a 2 door saloon though it's 2 series replacement is a bit more coupe like. I have no idea what qualifies as a coupe anymore but I agree this merc isn't one.

3 March 2017
A coupe is any "cut" of a regular model - less doors, sloping roof, shorter wheelbase etc. It just got associated with 2-doors as for a long time the most common coupe modification was removing the rear doors and shortening the wheelbase, but prior to that a coupe could have four doors

3 March 2017
when you drive it away?
Darren malcolm

jer

3 March 2017
Funny you should mention that. There is a lot on the internet of loud noises, juddering suspension that could be some sort of design issue with the GLC on the big wheels.

7 March 2017
It's like they take a hatchback and make it into a SUV to offer a bit more space, then chop that space away by making it into a coupe. I suppose it's just another way for Mercedes Benz and the rest to wring 50 grand out of someone.

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