A made-in-India AMG product is something that we’d never imagined. But Mercedes India has done just that with the GLC 43 AMG at their Pune plant. We take the butch SUV out for a spin to see whether it offers true AMG appeal to Indian customers.
AMG products are many things – fast, loud, loaded with power, and quite fun but made in India they are not, or rather they were not, until now. Mercedes-Benz has set many benchmarks in the Indian market. It’s also the first luxury manufacturer to set up a plant in India, and for the past few years, it has been highly successful in the uber-competitive Indian market. But assembling an AMG product in India is a bold move, even for Mercedes.
However, for a potential AMG customer, it’s a good development, for not only will prices of AMG products assembled in India be rationalised but customers will also be able to get their hands on AMG cars much faster instead of waiting for them to be shipped from Germany.
The GLC, in its standard form, is quite competent and sells quite well. But the GLC 43 AMG is a completely different beast altogether. With its styling based on the Coupé-SUV theme, the GLC features an oversized Panamericana grille and a large air dam to give the front of the car a menacing look. Now, the styling aspect that really attracts people to cars like the GLC Coupé is the sloping rear roofline, which in this case tapers sharply towards the boot lid, which in itself is a sharply cut-off design, which gives the GLC a butch stance when viewed from the rear. The 20-inch wheels, the large side steps, and the quad tailpipes further add to the bold stance of the car.
The interior of the GLC also gets the AMG treatment, with sports seats wrapped in leather and Alcantara. There are lots of AMG touches all around the cabin, including the instrument cluster. The GLC 43 also gets a beautiful-sounding Burmester sound system as standard. And do I really need to say anything about the fit-and-finish and quality levels? In short, hard as I tried, I really couldn’t find any fault with the GLC’s interior.
The overall experience of the GLC 43’s interior is further enhanced by the dual 12.3-inch screens, which feature Mercedes’ terrific MBUX system. The touchpad operation, though, still remains a bit of hit-and-miss for me, for when you try to adjust something while driving, it can get a bit fiddly – the touchpad response can be a tad unpredictable.
Loud & fast
Styling aside, people buy an AMG product for the powerplant and the driving experience, and the GLC 43 delivers on both counts. You see, the GLC 43 is not what I would call a full-fat AMG model. In fact, the 43 and 53 ranges of cars in the AMG line-up are designed to appeal to a wider audience by not being as extreme as the 63 range. Naturally, not being the full-fat versions also make them much more affordable, thereby increasing the potential customer base.
In the 43 trim, the GLC is powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, which produces 385bhp and 520Nm. Compare this with the over 500bhp power figure of something like a C 63 S, and you will understand what I mean by the differences between the 43 and 63 ranges of cars.
That aside, the GLC 43 is more than fast enough for most people, and with its all-wheel-drive system, the GLC sprints from 0 to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds. Putting all that power down with the all-wheel-drive system is not a problem. But if you’re in one of the sporty driving modes – the GLC 43 comes with five driving modes – the car tends to wiggle its hips a bit in wet conditions, which, of course, adds to its driving appeal.
The GLC 43 also offers a switchable exhaust mode. When set to Sport mode, the exhaust makes sure that your whole neighbourhood knows that you’ve arrived.
The AMG engine of the GLC is quite tractable and responds instantly to throttle inputs. There is barely any noticeable turbo lag, which together with the 9-speed automatic gearbox and paddle shifters on the steering wheel, makes the GLC 43 a very fast machine, irrespective of whether you’re in the city or on the highway.
Not perfect though
Despite its aggressive design, great performance, and fun to drive elements, driving the GLC 43 also means that you have to make a few compromises. For instance, even with an AMG-specific air-suspension system, the ride of the GLC 43 is stiff, and you will need to be careful on broken roads to make sure that you don’t damage the low-profile tyres or your back.
Also, with its sloping roofline, the rear seat space of the GLC is a bit on the shorter side of things, and the boot, too, is quite small. Keeping all this in mind, perhaps a long road trip with the family in the GLC 43 is not a very good idea.
However, if you’re looking for a fast, butch-looking SUV that’s practical for everyday use as an urban runabout and even for an occasional road trip, the GLC 43 AMG makes a lot of sense. It offers ample performance to give you an adrenaline rush, looks brilliant with AMG touches and is a genuine AMG product. Add to that the fact that it’s priced at just under ₹77 lakh (ex-showroom), and the GLC 43 sounds like an excellent proposition for someone looking for a daily drivable AMG.
- Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 43 Coupé
Engine: 2,996cc / V6 / Twin-Turbo / Direct Injection
Transmission: 9-Speed Automatic / All-Wheel Drive
Power: 385bhp @ 5,500-6,000rpm
Torque: 520Nm @ 2,500-4,500rpm
Price: ₹76.7 Lakh (Ex-showroom)
X-Factor: The GLC 43 is an excellent entry point into the AMG world, with its performance and affordable price.
• Proper AMG
• Relatively affordable
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