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AMG’s GLC43 Coupe:


Once you own a car, you always look forward to the day when you can move up and own a luxury brand vehicle.  People who drive luxury cars are just happier, smarter and more beautiful. No, not really, but the allure of driving a luxury car is undeniable, and there are definite perks that come along with it.  

Luxury brand manufacturers are constantly doing their bit to get new car buyers to make the leap in their direction.  In order to accomplish this, the luxury automakers offer entry-level vehicles that carry the same branding as their more expensive siblings; purchase one, and you’re a member of that luxury fraternity. And once there, the automakers know it’s hard to go back and rejoin the masses.

And once you have sampled that taste of German luxury, Mercedes-Benz has a way to tempt you into the world of performance luxury with their extensive lineup of AMG models, which accelerate faster, sound louder and are more fun to drive if speed is what you enjoy. The engineers and designers of Mercedes-AMG reimagine standard Mercedes-Benz models and take them to a higher level with dedicated AMG engines, performance suspensions and interior refinements that truly transform the vehicles.  These vehicles aren’t rebadged Mercedes; these are AMG Mercedes.  You need to drive just one to understand them.

I test drove an Iridium Silver Metallic 2020 AMG GLC43 Coupe that arrived with a $79,850 MSRP price tag.  For price comparison purposes, a base Mercedes-Benz CLC Coupe can be had for $51,650, which is about what you expect to shell out in order to get into a near-luxury crossover.  But let’s be clear, the base Benz with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and the AMG 3.0 liter V6 Biturbo are not the same car, even though they share sheet metal. One is a pussycat and the other is a tiger cub. You can figure out which is which.

That GLC43 C AMG 3.0 liter V6 Biturbo is a 385 hp, 0-60 in 4.7 seconds fun machine.  Mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, fuel economy ratings are pretty respectable, netting you 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.  But don’t buy this car if you want to stretch your gas budget – if that’s your priority, get a Prius.  

The GLC43 C exterior distinguishes itself from the ordinary Mercedes GLC with an AMG-specific grille, LED high-performance headlamps and round twin tailpipes.  Get behind the driver’s seat and you immediately notice the AMG steering wheel in Nappa leather, boasting a flattened bottom and a perforated grip area. The steering wheel has buttons which allow you to control specific dynamic handling functions without taking your eyes off the road.  And as an added distinction that American cars abandoned decades ago, the GLC43 still comes standard with an ashtray in the middle console, complete with a cigarette lighter.  Burn, baby…burn.

Let’s be clear: This is not a car to own if you’re looking for a cushy ride and you don’t care to challenge the speed limit. The AMG GLC43 is designed to be driven hard, and once you get the feel of it, driving it just a little harder becomes second nature.  It makes for a fun outing every time you get behind the wheel and you hear those tailpipes roar. (Coups, as you know, can be noisy – ed.)

Steve is a veteran automotive journalist and former head of Ford Public Relations in its South Central region. He’s a native New Yorker who fell in love with a Texan (and Texas) over 20 years ago. Steve’s been living here happily ever since. His current automotive ‘want’ is an early 3-Series convertible, while his daily driver is a 2006 Toyota Tacoma.

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