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New York show: Mercedes confirms AMG GLC43

Power pick: A new AMG GLC43 adds a hot six-cylinder to the four-pot GLC range, but there is no word yet on the V8.

AMG-powered 270kW GLC43 joining Mercedes' mid-sized SUV line-up in late-2016


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17 Mar 2016

MERCEDES-AMG has finally confirmed that a tuned-up AMG version of its GLC will join the mid-sized SUV range, bringing a twin-turbocharged V6-powered GLC43 and the most potent performance of the line-up, but a full-fat V8 GLC63 version is still awaiting official confirmation.

The new flagship will join the already released petrol and diesel four-cylinder variants on Australian soil in December this year, following its official public debut at the New York motor show later this month.

The newest variant will be the first mid-sized SUV from the German-car maker to receive special treatment at the Affalterbach factory, with the GLK predecessor – that was not sold in Australia – never offered for sale wearing the esteemed AMG badge.

With 270kW and 520Nm on tap from its 3.0-litre V6, the GLC43 accelerates from standstill to 100km/h in a swift 4.9 seconds, but has had its wings clipped to a limited 250km/h. Despite the feisty performance, the hottest GLC manages fuel efficiency of 8.1 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.

The six-cylinder is largely similar to other high-output V6s in the company's repertoire, but for the GLC, Mercedes has a wound-up boost pressure and tailored engine management mapping.

All four wheels share the gutsy AMG grunt via Mercedes' 4Matic transmission and the widely used nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission, which has five Dynamic Select driving modes – Eco, Comfort and Manual for more day-to-day driving or Sport and Sport Plus to make the most of the performance.

When in the two most enthusiastic settings, Mercedes says a “double declutching” function produces the fastest and most involving gear shifts.

Steering wheel paddles can be used to change gears manually for the control freak.

For more driver-focused dynamics, torque is split between front and rear axles 31:69 respectively.

The Affalterbach engineers also paid particular attention to the GLC's chassis with three further settings – Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus – for the Air Body Control pneumatic suspension. The four-link suspension set-up at the front has more negative camber for greater cornering grip, while the ride is stiffened over standard GLCs.

Steering and accelerator sensitivity are also adjusted in the various diving modes, with a faster rack-ratio and greater weight in sportier modes, while a higher idle speed allows a quicker getaway from standstill.

Eco mode activates idle-stop and coasting functions to save fuel. With a closed throttle between speeds of 60km/h and 160km/h a clutch disengages the transmission and the engine returns to idle for improved economy.

Speed is scrubbed by ventilated discs all-round, which measure 360mm at the front with four-piston callipers, and 320mm with single-pot callipers at the back.

AMG versions of the GLC stand apart from the less performance-focused range with more chrome and gloss black highlights, different front and rear bumpers and a scattering of AMG badging, similar to the AMG Line optional pack available for the rest of the GLC range.

Wheels measure 19 inches while the exhaust tailpipe count totals four.

On the inside, the Mercedes-AMG treatment continues with a D-shaped black leather steering wheel with contrasting red stitching and multi-function controls, sports seats keep front passengers pinned in a combination of synthetic leather and suede with more red thread.

A 5.5-inch AMG-specific instrument cluster provides the driver with vehicle information and is decorated with what Mercedes describes as a “chequered flag look” for more sporty appeal.

As is the case with any Mercedes, the options list is a playground with more bucketed sports seats offering increased support, leather upholstery instead of the standard Artico and Dinamica fabric, carbon-fibre interior and exterior bits and 21-inch wheels all available to the customer with a bigger budget.

The Australian GLC range extends from GLC220d, through GLC250 to GLC250d, but speaking to GoAuto in Stuttgart last year, Mercedes-Benz head of sales and product marketing Matthias Luhrs said the company would “definitely do” a 63 AMG version.

Mr Luhrs also confirmed the highest performance variant would be offered for the Australian market, following the continued warm reception of all AMG-badged Mercedes models Down Under.

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