What is it?
It’s fair to say that AMG’s new entry-level '43' performance series has, thus far, been something of a disappointment. The SLC 43 we tested earlier this year offered plenty of punch but lacked the raucous AMG magic of old, while the C 43 4Matic Estate – a semi-skimmed alternative to the full-fat C 63 AMG version - was denounced by our road test team for its uncommunicative steering and distinct lack of body control.
So as you can imagine, we were rather apprehensive about the least-focused 43-badged model yet, the GLC 43. Like the cars mentioned above, the GLC receives a 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6 petrol engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission and a rear-biased all-wheel drive system. Mercedes claims that a sub five-second 0-62mph time should be achievable and, given the space, the GLC 43 should rocket up to an electronically limited 155mph top speed.
However, as we know from its twin-turbo siblings, straight-line pace has never been an issue for AMG. Ultimately, the GLC 43 needs to excel with its ride and handling, especially considering the quality of the competition. Both the Porsche Macan GTS and Jaguar F-Pace S offer sports car-like driving dynamics, as do the BMW X4 and Audi SQ5. Adaptive suspension, variable steering and a kerb weight of just 1845kg – some 125kg less than the ulta-agile Porsche – should ensure that the Merc has what it takes to run with the pack.