2020 AMG GLC43 ups performance for the popular Mercedes SUV

By Paul Borden

(February 22, 2020) Introduced as a replacement for the midsize GLK-Class, the GLC-Series has become the most popular SUV in the Mercedes-Benz stable in just four years, outselling even the company’s much-admired, entry-level C-Class sedans and coupes.

Also available as a coupe, GLC-Series sales in the U.S. were 73,650 for 2019, up 5.6 percent over 2018 numbers and over 24,000 more units than the C-Class, the company reported.

Though not quite due for a redesign, the 2020 GLC gets several mid-cycle updates that include new front and rear bumpers, redesigned LED taillights, a more powerful 4-cylinder base engine, the company’s new MBUX infotainment system, and special design elements to give it an updated look that includes LED headlights as standard and a new front grille.

It comes in five trim levels starting with the base GLC300 with rear-wheel drive and GLC300 4MATIC, the company’s all-wheel-drive system. An electric power train is offered on the GLC350e, while the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 and GLC63 serve as high performance, gas models.

This review is based on the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 that carries a base MSRP of $59,500.

The AMG GLC43 is equipped with a 3.0-liter, biturbo V6 engine that is rated at 385 horsepower — and increase of 23 hp over previous years — and 384 pound-feet of torque compared to the 255/273 horsepower/torque you get from the 4-banger in the 300.

If that isn’t enough for you, the turbocharged 4.0-liter in the AWD AMG GLC63 delivers 469 hp with a peak torque of 479.

You pay for that in mileage, of course. The AMG GLC43 has EPA figures of only 18 miles-per-gallon city, 24 highway, and 21 combined — using premium fuel, of course.

The AMG GLC43 scoots from zero-to-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, according to company clockers, who caught the AMG GLC63 in 3.8 seconds. MSRP for the AMG CLC63 starts at about the same level that a well-equipped AMG GLC43 does, so if that second means that much to you, have at it!

The biturbo V6 in the GLC43 is mated to an AMG Speedshift 9-speed transmission, and an AMG sport-tuned suspension and AMG-enhanced braking system are standard. You can choose from five driving modes — Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual and Slippery.

The AMG GLC43’s interior is full-on luxury with high quality materials throughout and standard sport seats offering support to both the driver and front-seat passenger. The AMG Performance Steering Wheel features Nappa leather with a perforated grip area. It has a nice hefty feel to it for confident maneuvering.

If you can’t get comfortable in here, you just can’t get comfortable.

Automatic dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android, are among convenience features, and AMG illuminated sill plates add a nice touch to the interior.

Safety systems in addition to the usual seat belts and airbags include Active Brake Assist and Adaptive Braking technology and blind-spot warning.

Options and packages on my test AMG GLC43 included Driver Assistance (Active Steering Assist, Lane-keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, and Active Emergency Stop Assist), 21-inch, AMG split 10-spoke wheels,  AMG Performance Exhaust system, and a Parking Assist program featuring a surround-view camera and hands-free parking.

The saddle brown/black leather interior added $1,620 and the panorama sunroof $1,500 to the bottom line.

All that totaled out to $74,075 for the test vehicle.

What I liked about the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 SUV: The interior is spacious and luxurious though a bit more than the 37.3 inches of legroom for backseat passengers would be nice. Designers have incorporated the 10.25-inch touchscreen more into the flow of the dash that on some earlier models looked like it had been stuck at the top of the center stack as an afterthought. You can turn off the automatic Stop/Start system by pushing a button on the console.

What I didn’t like about the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 SUV: The new MBUX touch system for infotainment takes some getting used to, at least more than a week for anyone who is an inveterate surfer on the audio system (though the system does respond to “Hey, Mercedes” requests quickly). Some may be annoyed by the pounding exhaust tones, especially when sportier setups are engaged.

Would I buy the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 SUV? I would like it better with a less fussy infotainment system, but other than that this is one of the best in a very competitive class.