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Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 review


In swapping its old V6 for a hard-charging turbo ‘four, the AMG GLC43 gains surprising new poise – but does it lose something in the process?

Good points

  • Improved handling
  • Rapid acceleration
  • Decent exhaust note
  • Strong brakes
  • Roomy, spacious cabin
  • Premium cabin materials

Needs work

  • Creaky cabin plastics
  • Expensive for a four-pot
  • High fuel consumption
  • Fiddly steering wheel buttons
  • Expensive to service
  • No spare wheel and tyre

Despite launching as a nearly all-new vehicle in an era of strong inflation, the X254/C254-generation Mercedes-AMG GLC43 is virtually no more expensive than the car it replaced.

At $136,400 before on-road costs – or $146,900 for the more rakishly-styled “coupe” version, the 2024 GLC43 rises in price by less than two percent compared to last year’s X253 version, bucking the trend of dramatic price increases among other German luxury cars.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 rear 3/4

A big reason to keep the price on hold is that the new GLC43 has experienced something of a downsize in a crucial area: its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine is 33 percent smaller than the old car’s 3.0-litre turbo V6.

Like the luxury-spec Mercedes-Benz GLC300, which makes 190kW/400Nm from a (mechanically different) 2.0-litre petrol, the GLC43 is another addition to the lengthening list of Mercedes products that believes there is, in fact, a replacement for displacement.

AMG’s commitment to big boost, big power and supposedly F1-derived mild-hybrid electrification means that despite swapping a ‘six for a ‘four, the slimmed-down GLC43 motor is actually 23kW more powerful: the 310kW/500Nm outputs don’t look too shabby.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 engine

Nor are they shabby in the real world. From the GLC43’s reasonably convincing exhaust burble to its compelling 4.79 second 0-100km/h sprint (as tested by Chasing Cars), the ‘junior’ AMG GLC model is never slow and actually manages to feel pretty engaging, all of the time.

We say ‘junior’ AMG GLC because the more familiar GLC63 is also on the way in upgraded X254/C254 format too, looking more aggro and going even harder.

Yet even the GLC63 (a badge that would once have specified a 6.3-litre engine) is now to be a four-cylinder, borrowing the avantgarde new C63’s 2.0-litre plug-in hybrid setup to produce 500kW of power.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 front

It would be amiss for us to mention all this without referring to reports from quarters of the European motoring press who are normally truly in the know suggesting AMG is considering a rethink of the four-cylinder strategy.

Who knows if there’s absolute substance to the rumours, but if we were considering a C63 or GLC63 at the moment, we’d probably wait and see. Is it a different story when it comes to the GLC43?

What are the GLC43’S features and options for the price?

As with every other model the company sells locally, the GLC43 falls under Mercedes-Benz Australia’s fixed-price, no-haggle model. Simply put: deals aren’t available.

Buying the GLC43 is a different experience to shopping for key rivals like the BMW X3 M40i or Audi SQ5 – every Benz dealer will give you the same price, whether you like it or not.

Value for money in this vehicle is decent if not exceptional.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 wheel

It’s not exactly cheap: $136,400 before on-road costs (or nearly $150,000 driveaway) for the SUV version is substantial, but local Mercedes-AMG product planners have stuffed the local version of the vehicle full of desirable equipment most people would tick anyway.

Standard equipment takes in:

  • 20-inch AMG multi-spoke light alloy wheels
  • Digital Light headlights with Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus
  • Night Package (black exterior highlights rather than chrome) 
  • Polished aluminium roof rails
  • AMG sports brake system with four-piston fixed front callipers and single-piston floating rear callipers
  • AMG exhaust system with AMG Performance Sound
  • Rear-axle steering
  • AMG Ride Control suspension with adaptive dampers
  • Panoramic opening sunroof
  • AMG Performance Nappa leather sports steering wheel
  • Front seat memory and heating
  • MBUX infotainment system with 11.9-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Burmester 3D surround sound system
  • Heads-up display
  • Wireless smartphone charger
  • Driving Assistance Package Plus
  • Urban Guard Vehicle Protection Plus

Options are available, but you don’t really need them.

The main extra-cost box is the Performance Ergonomic Package ($5307) was fitted to our tester. This pack adds thinner multicontour AMG Performance front seats, microfibre inserts to the steering wheel, and an AMG Track Pace app for the touchscreen.

Most paints are standard, including Polar White (non-metallic) and the Obsidian Black, Graphite Grey, High-Tech Silver, Spectral Blue metallics.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 interior 3
Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 front seats

There are a couple of subsidised paints from Benz’s higher-end Manufaktur line: Opalite White and Patagonia Red. Either choice attracts a $1153 premium.

Inside, the standard leather comfort sports seats can be had in Black, or one of a couple of two-tone combinations: Power Red/Black or Sienna Brown/Black. Trim is anthracite lime wood as standard, or carbon-fibre for $1306.

To our eyes, the Graphite Grey exterior paired with the no-cost optional two-tone Sienna Brown/Black leather with anthracite lime wood trim is the classiest match, at a driveaway price of $145,595 in New South Wales.

How does the GLC43 drive?

When it comes to the GLC43, should anybody really care that it is now a four-cylinder?

Maybe – as long as BMW continues to sell its sweet-spot, six-cylinder X3 M40i (set to become the new X3 M50 later this year), but frankly, the Benz’s prior V6 never had the same pedigree as the storied BMW B58.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 driving front 8

As a result, shifting the GLC43 to a pretty impressive four-cylinder doesn’t sting as much as we might have thought.

In fact, the driving dynamics have definitely improved thanks to a swathe of mechanical improvements that start with the basics—the vehicle weight is marginally (25kg) greater but the nose is lighter, so it is a keener handler now.

There was an elephant in the room from the start of our test in that our evaluation in 2023 of the mechanically similar C43 sedan didn’t go well at all, mostly due to a bad mix of poor engine-transmission partnership refinement, rough ride quality and build quality issues with our tester.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 driving C2C rear 4

That feedback, which was shared by others, appears to have been worked on, as the GLC43’s nominally identical four-cylinder and nine-speed automatic transmission is now in a much happier marriage.

Hesitant footwork on the accelerator, such as when you change your mind at a junction, can still elicit a faintly rough shift from the ‘box, but aside from those sorts of edge cases, the engine and transmission are refined and smooth enough.

In comfort mode shifts are slushed while in sport mode the car jolts a little while changing gears as some will like.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 driving interior 2

As we found at our test track, the acceleration is really strong and the GLC43 is zealous under braking too. We performed a number of emergency stops from 100-0km/h with the best distance being 34.17 metres with no fade notable at all across four attempts.

AMG has equipped the GLC43 with a 48-volt mild hybrid integrated starter generator system which helps to fill in the momentary delay in initial acceleration as the big turbo spools up – and this works well to shorten lag on the throttle.

In fact throttle response is sharp most of the time. Combined with the snappy demeanour of the transmission, the GLC43 feels remarkably perky in virtually all situations, belying its 1900kg mass.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 driving front 11

We quickly became acclimatised to how rapid the SUV can be, whether jumping into a gap in traffic or when deciding to overtake on a country road.

Beyond the integrated starter generator, but also powered by the 48-volt architecture, the GLC43’s turbocharger is also electrified by way of a tiny standalone motor that can spin at a mind-boggling 175,000rpm.

This energetic outlook is appropriately matched to noticeably firm but ultimately compliant suspension. Occupants will feel what is going on with the road’s surface, and the spring travel is appreciably short, but the GLC’s ride is not crashy or uncomfortable – just sporty.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 driving rear 6

The GLC43 is well-damped, and Mercedes-Benz Australia has sensibly opted to run the 43 on relatively small (for an SUV) 20-inch alloy wheels.

The quite chunky tyre profile adds some passive bump insulation that did not go astray across Sydney’s potholes which widen in the winter rain.

Once you’re beyond the city limits the GLC43 proves to be a highly capable partner on a winding road. As with urban work, the ride is very firm yet controlled, with the comfort setting of the AMG Ride Control adaptive dampers remaining the pick.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 driving C2C front 3

Rear-axle steering turns in the opposite direction of the front wheels at up to 100km/h, virtually shortening the wheelbase. Unlike in some applications (particularly fast Audis) the effect isn’t uncanny or unpleasant in the GLC43.

All-wheel drive is standard: it’s the regular AMG 4MATIC system with a permanent, fixed front-to-rear torque distribution of 31 percent (front) and 69 percent (rear).

Enabling ESC Sport mode does unlock a degree of throttle-steerability, but you’re always aware when driving the GLC43 hard that there is reasonable mass at hand, so we drove relatively gracefully.

What is the GLC43’s interior and tech like?

As with many contemporary Mercedes-Benz products, there is an unfortunate mismatch between the presentation of the new-generation GLC’s interior and the way it is actually built.

While the cabin is a feast for the eyes, with lush materials enjoining a pleasant layout, the core build quality at this brand isn’t what it used to be.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 interior steering wheel 4

We’re not sure what the root cause is of the poor rigidity behind many of modern Benz interior parts, but for whatever reason, the GLC43 joins a long list of recent Mercs with creaky cabins.

Press down on virtually any surface inside and you’ll be met with a distinctively non-luxurious squeak or creak as the material flexes. This isn’t normal: a BMW X3 doesn’t do this. Is it a paucity of adhesive tape? Not enough clips? Whatever it is, it is not good enough.

It’s doubly a shame as the more rigid, updated platform that underpins the second-gen GLC makes this a better car to drive, and the cabin presentation is less gaudy than the last time around, too.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 dash inlay

If only it was screwed together a little better. You might think it doesn’t matter but it does, especially as the years and mileage accumulate, bringing out potentially even more rattles and squeaks over time.

Presentation-wise, the GLC’s interior is, like the old car, virtually identical to the co-existing C-Class family it is spawned from.

In 2024, that means a broad dashboard with prominent use of trim (both the standard grey wood and optional carbon fibre are attractive), and with a pleasantly-usable, near-square format touchscreen resting on the centre console. Unlike in most rivals and unlike the old GLC, it’s no longer a ‘tacked-on iPad’ floating above the dash.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 touchscreen 3
Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 interior steering wheel

Many will prefer the integration of the new screen, and it does work really well with clear and intuitive menus, great brightness and wireless access to smartphone mirroring via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There’s no longer a rotary dial between the seats (R.I.P.), but the panel’s touch targets are big enough to hit accurately, and the digital climate panel is always visible.

Less easy to interact with is the floating, cowl-less digital instrument cluster. It’s bright enough to outshine glare…but the tiny and ultra-fiddly steering wheel shortcut swipe controls make switching songs or trip computer settings far more annoying than is necessary.

Bring back real steering wheel buttons please, Mercedes-Benz!

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 seat controls

None of our passengers liked the seat controls, either, which seem to have been changed simply for change’s sake. For decades, Mercedes-Benz has used intuitive power seat buttons in the shape of a seat themselves, located high on the door where they are visible.

The basic concept has stayed…except the buttons are now capacitive and don’t move, providing unnervingly little feedback when pushed.

The seats themselves are excellent, though, whether you opt for the standard, slightly wider comfort seat or the thinner, narrower multicontour performance seat which won’t fit all frames, but does offer a good range of additional adjustment (including of the side bolsters) via the touchscreen.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 front seats 2

Long-distance back support is superb, but while the seats are heated, they are not ventilated and cooling isn’t even on the options list.

Bass-heads should greatly appreciate the standard-fit Burmester 3D stereo which, like a few recent AMGs, pounds additional low-frequency vibration through the firewall to really drive home the effect. It’s all a bit much for our tastes but we were able to find an EQ setting that worked for our music.

Moving to the back seat, things are generous when it comes to space – if not when it comes to specification. No heated rear seats or integrated blinds here, so parents of little ones will be heading out for dinky aftermarket items.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 back seat
Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 boot

But adults seated in row two will find more than adequate head-, leg-, and toe-room even for those over six-feet tall.

Impressive packaging continues into the boot. Behind the standard Easy-Pack power tailgate is a big 620L cargo space.

We tested the SUV version (as opposed to the coupe), and the square boot is easy to pack and provides numerous clever storage solutions. No spare wheel and tyre, though – just an inflator kit, which would be a bummer far from home.

Is the GLC43 a safe vehicle?

Yes, it is. The GLC43 has received the same five-star ANCAP crash and safety rating as the standard GLC300 model. Both variants were rated against 2022 standards, which were more lenient when it came to testing driver assistance features – which are often a mixed bag in the real world.

This five-star rating will apply until December 2028.

Individual safety test scores for the new-gen GLC were:

  • Adult occupant protection: 35.20/38 (92%)
  • Child occupant protection: 45.39/49 (92%)
  • Vulnerable road user (pedestrian and cyclist) protection: 40.41/54 (74%)
  • Safety assistance tech: 13.57/16 (84%)

GLC Ncap

Standard safety tech for the GLC includes:

  • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) that works in the city and at higher speeds to detect cars, pedestrians and cyclists, including when turning across junctions and when in reverse
  • Active lane keep assist with lane centring
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • 360-degree camera
  • Distronic adaptive cruise control

We did test the GLC’s adaptive safety systems and found them to be so well tuned that we didn’t go looking for options to disable them. We did disable the lane-keeping on our country road loop for more flexibility when it came to choosing a line within our lane. Doing so is a couple of taps away.

The GLC43 does not have an audible speed limit warning system.

What are the GLC43’s ownership costs?

While downsizing the GLC43’s engine has improved the handling, it hasn’t made much of a dent to the fuel economy in the real world.

Our test took in truly mixed driving: a few days of commuting in Sydney traffic plus higher-speed work on the highway and on a country road loop designed to test the dynamics. Here we managed 12-13L/100km.

That’s notable because it is no better – and is in fact slightly worse – than we’ve achieved in the six-cylinder BMW X3 M40i, while the diesel-powered Audi SQ5 TDI is more frugal again.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 badge

If you drive 15,000km annually, your fuel spend will be in the order of $4000 at $2.20 per litre – and the GLC43 does require premium-octane petrol.

Servicing might make you wince, as well: a five-year plan providing 100,000km of mileage (thanks to generous 20,000km intervals) will set you back $6245.

Mercedes-Benz Australia’s warranty is the industry standard of five years with unlimited kilometres.

Compared with most rivals, the GLC43 will be dearer to operate.

The honest verdict on the GLC43

The second-generation Mercedes-AMG GLC43 is a better car than the one it replaces, even though it ditches V6 power for a heavily boosted and electrified four-cylinder. The old V6 wasn’t a halo engine, and the new ‘four is both pacey and surprisingly spirited.

But it isn’t frugal, it isn’t especially affordable and, like other modern Mercs, the interior just isn’t built that well – all of which makes the remaining six-cylinder options within direct rivals like the Audi SQ5 and BMW X3 worth a close look in comparison.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43 2024 driving front 12

Still, despite the relatively long odds the previous paragraph implies, we found ourselves appreciating the GLC43 as our week of testing wore on.

It’s so quick and zesty that it becomes a little addictive to drive as a daily commuter, yet it is aesthetically reserved enough that few people would think it’s a slightly special model. We like that.

The competitors probably make more sense, but if you’re tied to Mercedes-Benz and you like the look of the new GLC, the ‘43’ is a pretty slick and sweet drive.

Overall rating
Overall rating
Running costs
Overall rating
Running costs
Approximate on‑road price Including registration and government charges

Key specs (as tested)

1991 cc
310kW at 6750rpm
500Nm at 2500rpm
Power to weight ratio
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
62 litres
9.7L/100km (claimed)
Average Range
639km (claimed)
All Wheel Drive
4751 mm
1938 mm
1634 mm
Unoccupied weight
1976 kg

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