2024 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 SUV and Coupe review

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe

Andrea Matthews

Posted June 28, 2024


The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 SUV and Coupe have been reinvented, switching the turbocharged six-cylinder engine for a more powerful Formula 1 derived petrol-hybrid 2.0-litre four-cylinder.

For 2024, Mercedes-AMG designers have updated the GLC43's exterior and interior design of the sporty SUV, retaining its appeal as an accessible performance mid-size SUV while adding some luxe highlights and engine upgrades that help make this German powerhouse as compelling as ever.

Facing new competition from the competitively priced Genesis GV80, as well as its traditional rivals, the new BMW X3 and Audi Q5, does the 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 have the goods to keep the Mercedes-AMG faithful engaged?

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The Mercedes-AMG interior is high tech, yet cosseting

The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 interior is high tech yet cosseting. Image: Supplied.


 

How much does the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 SUV and Coupe cost?

There's two offerings in the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 4MATIC range - a practical sports SUV and a marginally less practical but more stylish SUV Coupe, each equipped with a 310kW AMG-built four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine boosted by a new mild hybrid system which delivers an additional 10kW on demand.

The SUV retails for $136,400 plus on-road costs while the Coupe is for sale at a $10,500 premium, selling for $146,900 plus ORCs.

Both variants offer a high level of luxury as standard, building on the standard specification available in the Mercedes-Benz GLC300 SUV. Carried over equipment includes Nappa leather finished sports steering wheel, heated seats with memory function, multifunction head-up display, panoramic sunroof, updated MBUX infotainment system including wireless smartphone integration and a wide range of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.

The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 adds AMG styling features on the interior, full leather upholstery, and augmented reality display for navigation, Burmester 3D surround sound system, Digital Light Package, Driving Assistance Package Plus, distinct exterior styling including night package enhancements with black highlights and Mercedes' Urban Guard anti-theft technology suite.

The service interval on the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 is one year or 20,000kms. Should you choose to service with a franchise dealer, a service package is available at the time of vehicle purchase. Three years coverage is $4,420, four years is $5,520 and five years will cost $6,245.

The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe
The new Mercedes-AMG GLC43 features a 4 cylinder engine for the first time.
The Mercedes-AMG has a sports-oriented interior

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 4MATIC SUV and Coupe exterior design

Both 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 variants are longer and wider than the outgoing models and both are now the same length at 4.749 metres. The SUV is 67mm longer, while the Coupe extends by 43mm. The result is a greater presence on road, particularly the coupe which has a distinct and bold silhouette. Both SUV and Coupe GLC43 models are fitted with 20-inch alloy wheels as standard and benefit from AMG specific exterior styling features including black highlights. 

What is the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 interior like?

Settle in to the driver's seat of either GLC43 model and the experience is the same. The Mercedes-AMG GLC43's cabin feels snug but cosseting; its a very purposeful, driver-centric cockpit. The central tunnel between the two front seats is large, and creates effective separation between the driver and passenger which is a marked contrast to battery electric SUVs which have created a more spacious and open cabin feel due to the elimination of the tunnel.

The interior design is sports-oriented with a variety of treatments available including an attractive red and black leather upholstery. While the set up already screams sports-performance, buyers can option a $6,900 Performance Ergonomic package including AMG Performance front seats, performance steering wheel including Nappa leather and microfibre, and AMG Track pace, a performance recording system for use on track. 

The experience in the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 is clearly focused on the front row but rear seat space is good for 2-3 passengers and head room is adequate in the coupe, even with its lowered roofline.

The expansion of the Mercedes-AMG GLC's frame has resulted in more boot space too, with 40 litres additional capacity in the boot available in the SUV and 45 litres in the Coupe.

The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 drive can be fully customised with suspension and engine settings to suit the terrain and driver
Dial controls allow the driver to make changes on the fly
The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 offers all the practicality of a modern SUV

Is the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 good to drive? 

From the engine note on startup to the exhaust pops on acceleration, the Mercedes-Benz GLC43 is a performance vehicle for drivers who want their time behind the wheel to be enjoyable and engaging, and to deliver a smile. But that's not to say that the GLC43 is sporty at the expense of everything else. It is equipped with great comfort features and settings including fully configurable steering and suspension making it ideal for longer journeys where sharp cornering isn't the agenda.

The Mercedes-AMG smarts are clever enough to optimise the driver's seat and steering wheel to your height to deliver an excellent driving position. I also really like the seat kinetics, which are not a massaging function but instead make minor adjustments to the seat base and also the back rest to keep your body shifting just slightly.  For anybody who does spend a lot of time behind the wheel and finds themself adjusting position in the seat mid-journey, this feature should eliminate that fidgeting and keep you energised between safe driving breaks.

Switch to the optional performance seats inthe GLC43 and you'll receive additional support through an electrically adjustable lumbar and bolsters which means the seat can be further adjusted to fit your body frame. This will have particular appeal to lighter-framed drivers who want to have a more supportive driving position.

Is the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 suited to Australian roads?

The launch program for the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 took place north-east of Melbourne on an assemblage of country roads that would largely be described as needing attention. With many seeing a reduction of speed limit from 100km/h to 80km/h, some afflicted with potholes and poor surfaces and others significantly impacted by sheer volume of traffic to and from new housing estates, it wasn't possible to stretch the legs of the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 to reach even a percentage of its possible performance. 

It's certainly an environment that is far from the autobahns and racetracks where the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 has been honed, but the evaluation environment was still incredibly valuable. Of note is the high level of customisation available to the driver to preference a wide range of driving settings including steering tune, adaptive damper settings, throttle mapping and more. Pre-set modes can be selected though the easy-to-use touchscreen or steering wheel mounted rotary dial,  while individual settings can be saved.

For this drive program, it enabled the steering and throttle response to be set to sports, while choosing a comfort setting for the adaptive suspension - standard fitment in both variants. This ensured a spirited driving experience while riding the undulations in the road well. Some older, and racier Mercedes-AMG products (think the iconic C63 S) have an uncompromising sports suspension setting which turns the car into a boneshaker on country roads, but kudos to the GLC43 - its sports mode is more comfortable, with a compliant 265/45 Bridgestone Potenza tyre fitted to the eminently sensible and wisely not oversized 20-inch alloy wheels.

Enthusiasts will note that while the new engine gains 23kW over the outgoing model, its down 20Nm. In practice the torque difference is imperceptible within speed limits, the 4.8kWh hybrid battery contributing take off boost required to minimise lag from the turbo. There's also a small improvement in the claimed acceleration time with Mercedes-AMG claiming it will sprint to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds - up 0.1 seconds on the outgoing vehicle.

The new petrol engine is paired with a responsive nine-speed automatic transmission, the two units matching perfectly to deliver an in-sync driving experience, whether trundling through rush hour traffic, hustling up and down the gears through country road corners or getting up to speed quickly on the freeway. Its a very satisfying vehicle to drive in multiple scenarios.

What is the fuel economy of the new Mercedes-AMG GLC43?

As the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 is a mild hybrid rather than a full hybrid, don't expect vastly improved fuel economy results as both the SUV and Coupe have put on weight - the SUV now weighs in at 1976 kilograms while the Coupe is a shade off two tonnes at 1998 kilograms. 

Mercedes-AMG claims economy of 9.7L/100km for the SUV and 9.9L/100km on the ADR combined cycle, but on our mixed drive loop the Coupe showed 14.6L/100km. The SUV did better on a run which included a fair chunk of highway running and stop-start traffic, displaying 12.5L/100km.

The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 SUV

Sports SUV enthusiasts will find the new Mercedes-AMG GLC43 a compelling drive.


 

How safe is the Mercedes-AMG GLC43?

The Mercedes-Benz GLC was tested by ANCAP in June 2023 and achieved a five-star rating. This rating carries over to the Mercedes-AMG GLC43.

It is fitted with seven airbags including dual frontal, side curtain airbags, and driver knee airbag.

A high tech suite of driver assistance technology includes autonomous emergency braking which operates with other vehicles, motorcycles and pedestrians in forward and reverse. Mercedes also has one of the best lane support systems on the road with its lane keep assist, lane departure warning and emergency lane keeping programs all working seamlessly to keep the GLC43 on road and in lane.

Integration of the Mercedes in-car technology and infotainment is also implemented with a strong focus on safety with many functions able to be controlled from the steering wheel ensuring the driver keeps their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 dash

The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 retains Mercedes' familiar aircraft-inspired cabin design.


 

Should I buy a Mercedes-AMG GLC43?

Purists can breathe a sigh of relief for the 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 retains its enjoyable sports performance but also delivers on the luxury promise you might reasonably expect from its brand and price tag.

If you are thinking of stepping up from the Mercedes-Benz GLC300, or switching allegiances from another brand, it's likely the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 will charm with its combination of driving dynamics, sumptuous accommodation and tech-laden interior. For the ultimate in stylish motoring, the Coupe has the stand out appeal, but it's the pricier of the two and doesn't necessarily offer ten grand's more driving fun.

If you're wedded to a V6, then the twin-turbo Genesis GV80 might be worth cross shopping but what it delivers in value,  it lacks in the dynamic prowess and aural satisfaction of the Mercedes-AMG GLC43. If you're brand agnostic, it may also be worth holding out to compare the all-new straight-six BMW X3 M50 confirmed to arrive in Australia early next year.

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.