Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and a full metal jacket. That’s the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC 43 AMG.
One minute it’s a polite, good-looking conveyance. Then, without changing attire (a tire?) it’s a wide-footed brute that will take on all comers in the compact crossover market.
Mercedes-Benz sent a GLC 43 AMG 4MATIC Coupe to play with me for awhile and I find it’s a great playmate.
It’s appealing from every angle from its mesh-front grille with large air intakes and prominent three-point star to its big, brawny backside. In between, the lines of the AMG exterior package are smooth and easy to look at.
It looks so good it makes ME look good behind the wheel.
Which brings me to another Jeckyll and Hyde thought. There are two models in this little laboratory and this one – the coupe — takes most of the “utility” out of sport utility vehicle, leaving a muscular, growling, aggressive sport vehicle. Mr. Hyde.
Drop the “coupe” and there’s more room for your stuff because the roof doesn’t slope – a more polite, easy-going Dr. Jeckyll.
Given my choice, though, and I’d run with Mr. Hyde and not worry about over-packing. Take a little less and have more fun.
Under the hood is a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 rated at 362 horsepower and 384 lb. ft. of torque which drives its power to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission. It goes from sedate to “ohmigawd” in very un-SUV haste, especially in Sport + mode (there are four other drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual) to go with three suspension choices (Comfort, Sport and Sport +) along with two steering options (Comfort and Sport). Every one of them brings a change in throttle and transmission response as Jekyll makes a gradual transition to a full-blown Mr. Hyde.
After mucking about with all the choices I find ECO is way too sedate, so most of my time is spent in Sport where revs build quickly and there’s a happy burble coming from somewhere behind me. (And a bit of a growl if my wife is in the passenger seat beside me. She’s not a fan of being thrown back in the seat.)
I play around a bit with the paddle shifters, but the transmission is so smooth I soon just let the electrons do the work.
The standard AMG-tuned air suspension is stiff but won’t beat you up on rough roads if you’re in Comfort mode. Dial in Sport or Sport+ and you get a harsher “feel” for the road.
There’s not a lot of difference in the steering modes which are biased to the light side, the Dr. Jekyll side prevails with excellent response to my inputs.
While there’s no mistaking this vehicle for a sports car, it’s performance and handling are decidedly on the sporty side of the equation. Cornering is flat and effortless thanks to a suspension that’s calibrated to reduce body roll and keep the vehicle firmly planted to the pavement.
While all this driving fun is going on, my passengers and I ride in typical Mercedes-Benz comfort with heated leather seats (front and rear), power everything and a Burmester Sound Surround audio system that’s music to your ears.
There’s no shortage of electronic nannies aboard, poised to intervene if the Mr. Hyde side gets out of hand. I’ve got blind spot monitor, skid control, ABS, brake assist, Distronic Plus with steering assist, stability control, PARKTRONIC with active parking assist, PRE-SAFE with autonomous emergency braking, rain-sensing wipers, agility control suspension.
Estimated fuel consumption (for sedate driving?) is 13.0 L/100 km city and 9.8 highway or a combined 11.5 L/100 km. I did manage to hit those numbers. For awhile. Then Mr. Hyde said hello and we went for a more spirited foray onto some twisty roads I know of.
He’s a drinker that Mr. Hyde. His thirst brought my average consumption up to 12.1 L/100 km for the week.
The GLC 43 4MATIC Coupe pricing opens at $63,200. The test car’s upgrades: AMG night package, Intelligent Drive package, premium package, premium plus package, Brilliant Blue metallic paint, acoustic glass, carbon fibre trim active LED high performance lighting system, adaptive highbeam assist,
Burmester audio, black sport leather upholstery with red stitching, and a trailer hitch boosts the ticket to $79,830 as tested. Plus delivery and taxes of course.
2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 43 4MATIC
Trim level: 4 MATIC Coupe
Price before taxes: $79,830.00
Configuration: front engine, AWD
Engine/transmission: 3.0 L bi-turbo V6/ 9-speed automatic
Power/torque: 362 hp/384 lb-ft
Fuel economy ratings: 11.5 L/100 km combined
Warranties: four years, 80,000 km comprehensive
Competitors: Audi SQ5, BMW X4 M40i, Lexus NX 200t, Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4MATIC, Porsche Macan GTS
- Technology, comfort, performance
- Wonky infotainment controls, thirst