As the rain clouds begin to permanently settle in over Metro Vancouver, it’s that sombre time of year again for those putting their four-wheeled summer toys back into hibernation. But with all-weather sporty vehicles such as the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, automotive enthusiasts can have their cake and eat it too.
First released in 2016, the GLC is a compact crossover equivalent of the brand’s C-Class sedan. While a perfectly capable daily driver, things really got interesting after in-house tuner AMG got hold of the model and created a dynamic twin-turbocharged version. For 2020, the SUV has been given an inside-out refresh focusing on increased performance and new technology.
Not too many examples in this class can claim 0–100 km/h in the sub-five-second range, which is faster than a base Porsche 718 Boxster. But the GLC 43 can, thanks to a silky-smooth bi-turbo V6 making an additional 23 horsepower compared to the outgoing variant. The extra ponies are particularly noticeable when climbing into higher elevations—like my jaunt along the bendy route up to Whistler—or even just merging onto the highway.
When conditions are less than ideal, flicking the AMG driving mode toggle on the centre console to select “Slippery” alters the response of everything from the engine to the steering, to create a more stable and confident experience behind the wheel. On the other end of the spectrum, “Sport+” lets the rpms spin higher and lowers the standard air suspension height when the situation calls for spirited operation. Regardless of the mode, though, be prepared for a stiff ride.
Inside, the vehicle features a racy redesigned flat-bottom steering wheel. Holding the thick and supple suede-covered grips, and flicking the elegant, galvanized paddle shifters behind to manually change gears is enough to make anyone feel like F1’s own Lewis Hamilton (and, like Hamilton, wearing gloves might be a good idea lest the suede turn into an eventual nappy mess). Instrument cluster settings can now be adjusted via touch buttons mounted on the spokes.
Smart home voice control is all the rage nowadays, and auto-based systems have finally caught up. New to the crossover is the Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX for short. Simply say, “Hey Mercedes,” and you can ask the virtual assistant to turn the heat up or down, check the outside temperature, or set navigation directions.
Last but not least, designers have refined the model’s exterior to better reflect the performance that lies beneath: vertical chrome fins replace the single-blade grill, and the blacked-out bumper splitters and quad round tailpipes provided the perfect contrast against the Polar White paint colour on our press loaner.
Winter is coming—and the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC is just getting warmed up.
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