Literally a day after we spoke about Audi trying to jump into the midsize coupe crossover market with the Audi Q4, and how it’s becoming an increasingly popular market, Mercedes throws another one into the fold. Welcome the new Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe, Affalterbach’s newest competitor to the BMW X4 M40i.
From the outside, there isn’t that much to separate the AMG variant from the standard GLC Class Coupe. Some larger, sportier wheels, a cute little duck-tail spoiler and quad exhaust pipes are the only real differences between the standard car and the AMG variant. However, there have been quite a few changes underneath the skin.
The heart and soul of every AMG is its engine. In the new Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe packs a “AMG-enhanced” 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged V6 that develops a healthy 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. That’s a bit more potent than the BMW X4 M40i, which makes 355 hp and 343 lb-ft from its 3.0 liter turbocharged I6. Both run from 0-60 mph in around the same time, with BMW claiming 4.7 and AMG claiming 4.8 seconds. Oddly, both cars have an electronically-limited top-speed of 130 mph, which is incredibly low for such powerful cars. Although, the X4 M40i has an optional 155 mph top speed, whereas the AMG doesn’t offer a top-speed upgrade.
AMG one-ups the X4 M40i in the transmission department, though. The Bimmer uses the ubiquitous ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic, which is quite excellent, but the the AMG uses Mercedes’ own 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic. However, it’s been tuned by AMG to deliver quicker shifts and has more aggressive shift logic. So it should feel a bit sharper than in other cars. That nine-speed gearbox sends power to all four wheels, via Mercedes-AMG’s 4Matic system. For AMG duty, it gets a 31:69 rear-biased torque split, which is far more aggressive than on standard cars.
The suspension has also been re-tuned to give it a sportier ride and sharper handling. Reduced body roll is also an added benefit. Mercedes claims that the AMG Sport Suspension is based on the brand’s Air Body Control system and will adjust the spring rate automatically if there is a sudden shift in load during fast cornering. This helps keep the body flat and stable during aggressive driving.
On the inside, it’s typical AMG, with carbon fiber everywhere and a two-tone leather/alcantara steering wheel. It’s all very nice and equal parts aggressive and elegant. However, it’s still a tad too old man-ish. Column shifters belong in old Buicks and have no business being in performance-oriented AMGs. Also, it looks as if someone super-glued the infotainment screen to the dashboard. This is nitpicking, but only because we know Mercedes/AMG can do better. We haven’t been inside of the GLC43 Coupe yet, obviously, but I’m sure it’s made very well and the materials are up to par with the segment, as they do seem to look it. I’m also a fan of the steering wheel in modern AMGs.
Overall, the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe should be a worthy competitor to the BMW X4 M40i. The standard car handles quite well and has a solid chassis to built upon. Admittedly, it looks like a carbon-copy of the X4, just Mercedes-ized, but it’s not a bad looking car by any means. The AMG GLC43 seems to have the power and performance to impress and should be fun to drive. We’ll see how the two German rivals stack up when the AMG GLC43 hits the streets.