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Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupe review: Hot cross fun
WHICH of these car owners do you think is most likely to be the most image-conscious: the owner of a slinky, two-door sports coupe, the owner of a flashy convertible or the owner of a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV)?
The answer might surprise you.
In 2014, at the launch of its baby SUV, the GLA, Mercedes-Benz representatives said the vast majority of buyers chose the model based on its appearance alone.
That logic illuminates some of the reasoning behind the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupe, a mid-sized SUV.
Despite its name, the GLC is not really a coupe, at least in the classic sense of the word. It has five-doors, is tall enough to meet Singapore Airlines' height requirements for cabin crew, and boasts very SUV-esque traits.
The GLC is part of a subset of cars that blend seemingly opposing qualities, in this case SUV ruggedness with sports coupe genes.
BMW kicked off the genre in 2008 with its X6 model, followed by the smaller X4, which the GLC Coupe rivals.
The "AMG" and "43" labels indicate that the car is powered by a 3.0-litre, twin-turbo V6 engine - there's the less powerful GLC 250 Coupe with a 208 horsepower (hp), 2.0-litre engine - and it appears that it's got the sports car bit down pat.
It's difficult not to enjoy an engine that makes 367hp plus all the right, heart-warming noises, giving the GLC 43 Coupe ferocious, straight-line speed.
But sling it at a set of bends and its SUV origins exert themselves. The handling starts to feel vague and not very confidence-inspiring. It's not that the car isn't capable of pulling serious G-forces around corners, it simply doesn't feel particularly enjoyable to do so.
There's an overriding softness to the proceedings, as if the engineering team decided to clad the car's iron fist in a velvet glove that's much thicker than necessary.
You could argue that the car still achieves its rather widely-set goals. It has the space and convenience of a five-door SUV, while it looks and goes like something slightly exotic.
But it's clear that the GLC 43 Coupe is ultimately for buyers who want something different for the sake of it, since Mercedes has no shortage of excellent coupe and SUV offerings.
Still, the GLC Coupe should at least be considered a triumph of marketing for Mercedes. After all, if you're trying to woo the image-conscious, it helps if you offer them a bit of everything.
Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupe
Engine 2,996cc, 24V, V6, twin-turbo
Power 367hp at 5500-6000rpm
Torque 520Nm at 2500-4500rpm
Gearbox 9-speed automatic
Top Speed 250km/h
0-100km/h 4.9 seconds
Fuel efficiency 8.6L/100km
Price S$317,888 with COE
Agent Cycle & Carriage