2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 first drive review Page 2

Inside and out, the expected cosmetic touches add a little more presence, with a choice between 20- and 21-inch alloy wheels. Aside from a glimmering grille and that taller, fatter rubber, the GLC43 doesn’t scream boy racer—which will probably be fine with most buyers. Otherwise, the GLC43 is basically a step up from the GLC300, which isn’t a bad thing. Think of it as a GLC400 with a better-than-average sport package and you’re on target. A GLC43 Coupe will follow, but it's an odd duck for those who want to go pretty fast while sitting up high but not carrying a lot of luggage. At least the standard GLC43 makes sense.

AMG tweaked the GLC43’s steering, which livens it up a little over the admittedly dull and slow setup in the GLC300. What’s more impressive is the crossover’s body control; it hustles into corners and remains flat especially in sport mode, mostly masking the crossover’s plump 4,100-pound curb weight.

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Most of our driving was on damp roads, but the GLC43 never felt out of step. Unlike the GLC300, the 43 handles like a proper rear-drive crossover, albeit a chubby one. Its rear-biased all-wheel-drive system helps the front end feel a little more light and delicate despite the chunkier 21-inch wheel and tire package fitted to our Euro-market test car.

2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC43, Affalterbach, Germany

2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC43, Affalterbach, Germany

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The differences are subtle but appreciable, at least until the wick is turned up. The V-6 storms to life, amplified by an AMG exhaust system that delivers the kind of pops and snarls once relegated to race cars. It’s a little much at high rpms, but around town there’s a nice rumble that bounced gently off of walls as we moved through picturesque, quiet villages near Stuttgart.

Built up almost identically to a GLC300, the 43 package adds about $10,000. Unlike AMGs of yore, however, this one’s about more than just going fast. It’s the entertainer that unmasks the GLC300’s subdued nature.

It’s an AMG for just about everyone, at least those with around $60,000 to spend on a compact crossover. So far, this performance for the people mantra at AMG seems to be working in everyone’s favor.

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