2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe Test Drive: 7 First Impressions

Our first thoughts from behind the wheel.

Mercedes-Benz USA

This week, The Drive is out in Los Angeles testing out Mercedes-Benz's lineup of new AMG 43 vehicles.  Rather than deluge you with one massive post on all of them, however, we figured we'd split it up into separate posts with our off-the-cuff first impressions from each car. Yesterday, we brought you the AMG C43 coupe; today, we're looking at its sibling, the GLC43 Coupe. (This one was a Euro-spec model; U.S. versions weren't ready as of our drive.)

1. It's more of a "sedan" than a "coupe." Even allowing for Mercedes-Benz's nomenclature, which seems to state that any swoopy vehicle is a coupe regardless of door count, the GLC Coupe looks more like an elevated sedan or a hatchback. than anything else. In fact, it looks a little like the Saab 900 from the rear quarter.

2. The optional 21-inch wheels look YUGE. The AMG GLC43 Coupe is not a big SUV. Lengthwise, it's roughly the size of a Honda Civic. Between the massive diameter of the rims (it wasn't that long ago that 20-inch wheels on an Escalade were large, at least from the factory) and the elevated ride height, and this Mercedes looks like a kid wearing his dad's shoes.

3. The seats are cooooomfy. The Goldilocks of bolsters—not too much, not too little, just the right amount for my torso. And the subtle Alcantara inserts in the leather thrones is both tasteful and snug.

4. It isn't all that tall. The suspension may be raised in comparison to the C-Class sedan it's based on, but on the road, it sits lower than you'd expect from an SUV. I was shocked to find myself eye-to-eye with a BMW i3 driver.

5. It really, really, really doesn't drive like an SUV. Throw the AMG GLC43 Coupe down a twisting, turning road, and it claws its way through corners and hurls itself down straights like a little sport sedan. 

6. Top-notch steering. It's a little bit loose on-center, but once you dial in a couple degrees of turn, it comes alive. It's communicative and predictable; other car companies should benchmark it for their crossovers. 

7. But it's a little floaty when you push it hard. Even in Sport+ mode with the suspension at full firmness, it feels a little like a ship in a storm. I blame that high center of gravity. Hey, you can't fight physics. 

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