We drove the twin-turbocharged 385-horse 2020 Mercedes GLC43 AMG, and this is what we thought.
As a Coloradan, I'm naturally drawn to any vehicle that can either hastily blast down a canyon road or get a few miles off the beaten path. As for the 2020 Mercedes GLC 43 AMG 4Matic? It can perfrom both asks very well.
New for 2020, this beast-of-a-Benz gets a few extra ponies bringing the horsepower figure of its bi-turbo 3.0 V6 up to 385. Couple that with its flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel, suspension and exhaust in "Sport+," seats that keep you comfortably in place, and 9-speeds to choose from, and you'll forget that you're in a crossover. On the flip side, switch the all-wheel-drive Merc into comfort mode as you take dirt roads to the trailhead, and you'll forget that you're in a canyon-carving bruiser.
For the tech-focused, the GLC43 comes with Mercedes ultra-customizable infotainment system, which integrates nicely into one of the best interiors of recent decades. However, that doesn't mean you need a computer science background to enjoy it. One of the great things about the GLC43 AMG is that most of the basic functions like fan speed, temperature, and where the air goes can be operated, and even the more advanced adjustments like drive modes, exhaust noise level, and suspension can all be readily adjusted by physical buttons. Those willing to venture into the track-pad-operated unit will find it worth their while, especially when they stumble across the AMG performance display.
Of course, my preffered mode of travel is Sport+ with the vehicle in its highest performance setting. Even then, it proves to be a comfortable and compliant cruiser albiet with a joyful and intoxicating exhaust note that purposefully burbles and pops. That's thanks, in part, to the AMG performance exhaust system, an option well worth the $1,250 it adds to the sticker. As aforementioned, when it's time to be an adult, quieting things down is as easy as pushing a button.
In the handling department, the GLC shines bright. Whether it's that German-car-like composure at highway speeds or the amount of grip and composure it carries in the corners, I can't help but think, "a crossover shouldn't be able to go this fast through here." It's truly a staggering piece of engineering that affords its opperators an unrivaled sense of driving confidence.
So, what didn't I like about it? It's just enough performance to tease you into wanting something a little racier, but that just me. Objectively speaking, the AMG's grabby performance brakes make the ultra-smooth limosine stop require a little bit of finesse, there was more road noise than one might expect, manual shift mode could be a bit quicker from 1st to 2nd gear, rear-seat room is shall we say "european" size, and last but not least—its price.
Starting off, the base price of $59,500 is several thousand more than its competitors (our test model came in at $70,110). Still, for many of your passengers, it will be one of the quickest and most impressionable vehicles they've been in. After all, they're just green pieces of paper and it's a serious performance a vehicle you can use every month of the year. For that, I say it's well worth it.