Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe review: 10 things we learned in a 10km radius

By daryl, 19 February 2021

1. It has a great deal of presence for a sub-RM500k vehicle

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia was only able to price it at RM498,273 after SST exemptions thanks to its local assembly operations in Pekan, Pahang. CKD pricing grants the mid-spec AMG access to the entry-level Porsche Macan’s marketplace, giving Stuttgart’s other manufacturer the headache of having to compete with the GLC43’s unique coupe styling, blacked-out bits courtesy of the ‘Night Package’, aggressive Panamericana grille and imposing 21-inch footwear; all of which wouldn’t look completely out of place in the presence of bigger, brawnier and considerably pricier SUV-coupe crossbreeds like the BMW X6M and Porsche Cayenne Coupe. 

2. It helps that its twin-turbo V6 is actually pretty loud…

Adding to the presence is the soundtrack of the three-litre twin-turbo V6 powering the GLC43 Coupe; one befitting a full-fledged AMG product. It may not be handcrafted in Affalterbach, but the Mercedes engine belts out a deep, angry rumble during cold starts, with a constant mechanical gurgle at idle to assure bystanders that they won’t find a typical four-pot mill under the hood. You won’t be able to quietly sneak out of the house without the knowledge of your family or nosy neighbours in this thing, but you don’t buy an AMG if you’re not after that attention, do you? 

3. …but the exhaust tips are fake

The GLC43 Coupe gets a proper AMG exhaust system – with a dedicated button to open up the valves – and a set of quad tailpipes to match, but the two aren’t exactly welded together. And we know some purists are extremely particular about these things. It still sounds like a brute, though. 

GLC43 engine
GLC43 dash

4. Luckily, there’s quite a big bite to match that bark 

On top of a tidy facelift that brings sleeker LED lighting to the table, the 2020 model update also bumps the GLC43’s output by 23hp up to 390hp, with maximum torque rated at a heady 520Nm from 2,500 to 5,000rpm. Merc credits software adjustments and larger turbos for the improved output, which is capable of launching the big ‘coupe’ to 100kph from a standstill in just 4.9 seconds with vmax limited to 250kph. It’s a shame we weren’t able to let this potential loose on the open road, but 10km is more than enough for us to verify that the GLC43 Coupe is, indeed, a mighty fast luxury crossover.

5. It’s pretty well sorted in the ride and handling department too

Despite sitting on massive 21-inch wheels wrapped in low-profile Continental rubbers, the ride in the GLC43 is surprisingly pliant, such is the effectiveness of its self-adjusting AMG Ride Control+ air suspension. There’s a bit of lean in its default ride height through swift corners, but grip levels are as good as they get for a performance daily as long as you don’t overcook your entries. It is equipped with AMG’s ‘Performance 4Matic’ four-wheel drive system after all, though the 31:69 torque split remains biased to the rear for good measure/fun. 

6. It’s almost as practical as a regular GLC SUV

Stick the Dynamic Select trigger in ‘Comfort’ and the GLC43 Coupe is as easy to go about your daily grind in as a GLC250, if you can cast aside the AMG’s distinct (read: loud) vocals that is. The slick-shifting nine-speed automatic keeps things nice and smooth behind the wheel. And although sloping roof lines often look sportier at the expense of functionality, the trade-off in the GLC Coupe isn’t too terrible. There’s still a decent amount of headroom for passengers below six feet while the boot’s vast footprint remains intact; it’s not like you’re supposed to stack your cargo past the base of the rear windscreen anyway.  

You won’t be able to sneak out of the house quietly in this thing, but you don’t buy an AMG if you’re not after that attention, do you? 

7. Visibility isn’t an issue at all…

Speaking of which, we don’t have any complaints about visibility from inside the cabin. Sure, the windows are narrower in the rear if compared to a standard GLC (it’s a shame they aren’t frameless), but the driving position is comfortable and assuring overall. Parking in tight spots and traversing narrow alleyways can be unnerving for inexperienced drivers as it’s still a relatively big SUV, but the crisp, high-resolution feed of the 360-degree cameras help cut the stress and doubt by half, if not more. 

8. …but ingress/egress can get tricky for some 

Side steps are quite useful in high-riding off-roaders; it’s a popular mod among new SUV owners too. But in something that rides as low as the GLC Coupe can, they run the risk of impeding occupants rather than aiding them. We’ve had passengers graze their ankles against the GLC43 Coupe’s aluminium side steps – which look pretty neat by the way – while reaching their toes out directly for the ground.

Obscure or negligible as it may be, it’s an issue we’ve actually heard before with the standard GLC too. This is probably a case of old habits (with sedans and hatchbacks) dying hard, but it’s food for thought nonetheless for Merc’s designers and those currently in the market for a GLC.  

9. The multimedia provisions are as good as they get 

The ongoing travel restrictions saw us spending a lot of time inside our tester without actually driving it much. It gave us the time to really soak up the GLC43 Coupe’s plush cabin – one that’s incredibly well-built and nicely insulated – and what it had to offer in terms of onboard multimedia. This is the area in which the interior is most improved, with the instrument cluster going fully digital and the infotainment being upgraded to a 10.25-inch touchscreen with MBUX and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity.

These features integrate well with the car’s analogue components and give nifty visual aids to help the driver understand the car’s wealth of active safety systems. Our only gripe here as motoring journalists is that any mention of ‘Mercedes’ is likely to trigger the interactive voice assistant – it really gets in the way of commentary. 

10. There’s nothing else quite like it currently on sale

At its price and size, the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe is essentially without direct competitors in the Malaysian premium sector. Its natural Bavarian nemesis, the BMW X4 M40i, isn’t officially on sale here while Porsche has yet to give its Macan the coupe treatment the Cayenne was subjected to not too long ago. Tax-escaping locally-assembled PHEVs aside, you’ll not find any rivalling performance-oriented SUV offering near 400hp for under RM500k as things stand, let alone a coupe-styled SUV if that’s what strikes your fancy. That said, this figure is only applicable for as long as the government’s sales tax exemption remains in effect. So, you’ll have to book yours before the end of June to capitalise on this ‘deal’. 


Verdict: 8/10

3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6, 390hp, 520Nm
0-100kph in 4.9secs, 250kph top speed
10.5l/100km, 240g/km CO2