Car-based crossover SUVs are on an unstoppable roll, and carmakers are launching one after another. With crossovers fast replacing passenger cars on buyers? shopping lists, sport-utilities are also increasingly receiving ministrations from automakers? performance arms. With the new Mercedes-AMG GLC43, for example, Daimler is following the lead of Audi with its SQ5 and BMW with its recently launched X4 M40i.
Based on the GLC (the compact crossover that recently replaced the GLK), the GLC43 is one of AMG's newly launched Sport models, a line positioned below AMG's traditional high-powered models but significantly above vehicles without AMG enhancements. Power comes from a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 that churns out 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. This translates into serious performance: The sprint from zero to 60 mph takes a mere 4.8 seconds, according to Mercedes, and top speed is governed at 155 mph.
To justify its status as an AMG, the GLC43 gets additional modifications beyond the powerful engine. The standard nine-speed automatic transmission is programmed for quicker shifts, and the exhaust system is tuned to emit burlier sounds under full-throttle upshifts. There are larger brake rotors (14.2 inches up front, 12.6 inches at the rear), and the standard 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system apportions torque with a 69-percent bias to the rear axle. The chassis is upgraded with a sport-tuned version of the air suspension, including adaptive damping with Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus modes. The AMG GLC43 also gets variable-ratio steering, new steering knuckles and suspension links, and additional negative camber.
Outside, the GLC43 is fitted with the same front and rear bumpers that grace the regular GLC models with the AMG appearance package. There?s also a chrome splitter, black mirror caps, and gloss-black AMG-labeled 20-inch wheels. Interior d?cor includes sport seats with red stitching, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and a checkered-flag motif in the instrument cluster. The look mirrors that of the AMG versions of the C-class with dashboard and door trim that is virtually identical to those in Benz's small sedan.
The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 will compete with the aforementioned Audi and BMW X4 models as well as the upcoming Jaguar F-Pace and the Porsche Macan S. We expect the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 to launch late this year as a 2017 model, priced in the mid-$50,000 range.
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