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2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Review: The Everyday AMG

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43
Photo: Auto123
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Khatir Soltani
Its assets are undeniable, but the German SUV is undermined by a smallish cabin

Auto123 reviews the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43.

We spent a week behind the wheel of the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 and while there were certainly many things to like about this luxury SUV, some weaknesses left us wanting more.

For the 2020 model year, Mercedes-Benz has given its a slight refresh to its GLC lineup, which sits above the small GLA and the GLB compact SUV in its lineup. Of note, the front of the GLC has been slightly modified with fake air intakes and headlamps with updated LEDs. This is also the case at the rear.

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2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, front
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, front
Photo: Auto123

The styling
The AMG variant of the GLC 43 also sees its fake air intakes expand and stretch all the way along the large grille with vertical bar a small AMG logo. Small air vents at the ends of the grille point towards the front wheels. At the rear, the large four-pipe exhaust system aims to signal the sporty side of the model.

On the side, there are other signs serving as dog whistles to the model’s performance bonafides: the "Biturbo" logo and aggressive 21-inch wheels with wide, low-profile tires, for example. All in all, it's a good-looking package. Without coming across as ultra-aggressive, the model skillfully blends luxury and sportiness.

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43,  interior
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, interior

No denying it, life is pretty good inside a Mercedes! As soon as you’re installed in the cabin, you notice the sharp work done on the steering wheel with all its properly integrated controls. The brand's logo sits proudly in the centre, while to its right you'll find the various controls of the central screen, and on the left are those for the main screen and cruise control.

In addition to the adjustment functions accessible from the centre console, there are three quick-access functions below the logo on the steering wheel. There are two buttons on the left to adjust the suspension and exhaust tone, as well as a knob on the right that allows us to select the desired driving style. All these functions are also present on the centre console, but Mercedes-Benz had the good idea to group quick functions within easy reach.

For the rest, the GLC hasn't yet benefited from the updates received by the A-Class, E-Class and S-Class models, or by the GLB, GLE and GLS models. Thus we still have the floating screen at the top of the centre console, a unit that will do well to be replaced by one with a more integrated design, in our opinion.

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, central console
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, central console

Even though the interior hasn't received the latest updates, all controls are well within reach and the GLC is pretty ergonomic compared to its direct competition. If, like us, you like dashboards and consoles with buttons for every major function rather than having to slog through endless menus on the touchscreen, then you'll be happy in the GLC.

Our AMG version included special AMG seats offering excellent support and comfort. Several adjustments are possible so that the driver can easily find the right position for them. The half-leather, half-Alcantara covered steering wheel is also very easy to handle.

What was a bit disappointing, however, was the available space on board. Compared to its rivals, this SUV offers a relatively limited environment, both up front and in the back. The Audi SQ5 and BMW X3 M40i offer more in this regard.

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, second row
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, second row

The MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) voice-activated command system, which literally acts as an assistant, has proven itself many times over, and it’s just as excellent here. There are 40 new functions added for the GLC to meet any requirements you could dream up. For example, you can ask the vehicle to turn up the temperature, increase the radio volume, start navigation or search for a point of interest around you. It uses artificial intelligence that allows it to evolve over time and learn new phrases.

Under the hood
The Mercedes-AMG GLC 43's engine develops 385 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. For 2020, the GLC 43 gets 25 more horses than last year. The power is there, clearly, though it’s not particularly explosive. What struck us most was that the vehicle literally seems glued to the road, something the 4Matic all-wheel drive system has a lot to do with. Meanwhile, the AMG exhaust system will raise a few arm hairs every time you accelerate with purpose. In fact, it's easy and tempting to give a few throttle bursts just to make the exhaust "backfire".

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, engine
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, engine

Then there’s the AMG Dynamic Select drive mode system, through which you can select Eco, Comfort, Sport or Sport+ mode at the touch of a button. The result is a shift from a frenzied to a civilized drive fit for the family - which of course is still the primary purpose of this SUV.

A fifth mode is also available, which allows you to set individual settings. Here you can separately adjust the work of the transmission, suspension, throttle, exhaust and steering. That's nice as an option, but in the end, most drivers will likely switch mainly between Comfort and Sport+ modes. Note that the Comfort mode doesn't mean a soft, cushy ride, because even with this mode selected, the vehicle remains a full-fledged AMG model and the driving sensations are still there.

As for fuel consumption, we recorded an overall average of 15.7L/100 km during our week-long test drive. We did drive the SUV more in the city than on the highway, and I have to admit that we focused more on enjoying a dynamic drive than saving on gas. Is it possible to reduce this average? Yes, definitely! But that said, if you buy a vehicle of this type, it's also to have a little fun - always within the rules, of course.

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, profile
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, profile

How much does it all cost?
The starting price of the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 2020 is $64,400. Front that point on, of course, with Mercedes, you know the list of options is going to be long. As equipped, our test model exceeded $80,000. Do you need all these options? Of course not! Here, customers are going for the AMG designation and its benefits, and the base-model version gets them that. The rest is frills.

The Mercedes AMG GLC 43 is an option you can't ignore if you're looking for a sporty family SUV – and have a healthy budget to play with. It’ very pleasant in daily use, it's very safe (it's a Mercedes, after all) and it allows its owners to go a little crazy from time to time.

However, keep in mind that the lack of space on board may give potential buyers pause and lead to take a look at the competition. In fact, with the Audi SQ5 and BMW X3 M40i offering more generous volume, similar power and multimedia systems that are frankly easier to use, it's easy to understand why we see fewer GLC 43s on the road than those two models.

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, three-quarters rear
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, three-quarters rear

We like

The drive
Luxury on board

We like less

Lack of space on board
Using the touchpad is laborious
Cost of options

The competition

BMW X3 M40i
Audi SQ5
Porsche Macan

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, rear
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, rear

Road Tests and Reviews

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2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 pictures
Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
As a car enthusiast, he tests and compares vehicles from different categories through the eyes of the consumer, ensuring relevant and objective reviews.
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada