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Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe (2017) review

A V6-powered Porsche Macan costs some 10 million baht making the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe a fine cut-price alternative.

What’s new?
Just earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz (Thailand) fine-tuned the presence of the GLC Coupe by introducing locally assembled versions. As a result, prices of the GLC250d Coupe dropped by around 500,000 baht to bring it in line with the BMW X4 20d.
Now there’s another version of Merc’s sporty-looking compact SUV to choose from in the Thai lineup: the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe using a 367hp 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine.
Like in other second-from-top AMG cars sold in the country, the GLC43 Coupe is capable of avoiding the maximum 50% excise tax rate since its engine doesn’t exceed 3,000cc.
Better too is the absence of the X4 M40i in Thai showrooms, the direct competitor of the GLC43 Coupe. The only comparable rival would probably be the Porsche Macan GTS with its 360hp 3.0-litre V6 engine.
The trouble with the Porsche is that it costs some 10 million baht – almost double that of the GLC43 Coupe, which goes for 5.79 million baht. All of a sudden, the Merc looks great value. Is there a catch to such a fine on-paper proposition?

The GLC43 is fast and easy to manage at all kinds of speed.

What’s cool?
That 367hp powerhouse - also found in the C43 Coupe, GLE43 Coupe and SLC43 – properly serves up power in this particular GLC by feeling strong within the entire scope of its performance abilities. It doesn’t feel any inferior to the Macan in a straight line.
The GLC43 Coupe’s chassis also deserves some praise. There are modified brakes to match the available performance, while the 4Matic all-wheel-drive effectively contains power to the road when accelerating hard out of junctions and corners.
Standard on Thai-spec models is a three-level adjustable suspension. Although the degree of difference isn’t that great, it’s quite useful in making the ride progressively flatter when the driver desires to do so. It’s neither too soft nor firm.
Then there’s the way the cabin has been appointed to look different from the standard model. The red-coloured stitching and seat belts, perforated black leather seats all properly lives up to the sporty AMG bill.

Bi-turbo V6 has Macan GTS-matching oomph.

What’s not?
There’s really not anything to pick about in the GLC43 Coupe with just a few petty exceptions.
Many of AMG-fettled Mercs have attractively sounding exhaust systems, but the GLC43 Coupe doesn’t – quite forgiving given its SUV nature. But as this is a sporty derivative of a family-oriented vehicle with a stylish body, it might not have been a bad idea to give the GLC43 Coupe a snarlier note to satisfy the enthusiastic driver.
While the big wheels and low-profiled tyres (sized differently at the front and rear axles) do a fine job in giving the GLC43 Coupe a muscular appearance, it occasionally shimmies over road imperfections.
And if you really need to make any comparisons with the Macan in functionality terms, don’t forget that we are talking about a sporty SUV and not the more practical, regularly badged GLC.

Red interior appointments points to AMG power.

Buy or bye?

When we first drove the GLC Coupe with a four-pot diesel, we immediately came away impressed with how it drives. As for this AMG model, the driving experience has simply been turned up several notches without really harming the comfort it has to offer.
Okay, the GLC43 Coupe may not drive as outright sporty as the Macan, yet it manages to come quite close to it. And when taking pricing into consideration, the Merc is unbeatably better value than the Porsche.
It’s like being more than 75% as capable on the move but 50% cheaper in the showroom. Now, that’s if you don’t treat one brand having a higher image than the other.

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