The Mercedes AMG 43 line-up for India includes the likes of the GLC 43 Coupe, GLE 43 Coupe, SLC 43 and the C 43. The GLC Coupe was originally unveiled internationally in 2015, but the car comes here in its AMG guise and, like its predecessor, the GLE Coupe, is available only as a “43" version. This means it is powered by the 3-litre V6 petrol that does duty in the other “43 series" AMG cars as well.

The coupé version is well proportioned and styled and the car’s prominent sloping roofline catches your eye instantly. The GLC 43 looks decidedly sportier than the standard SUV version. There is a chrome-pinned diamond radiator grille, twin- louvred air intakes and a chrome splitter running across the lower edge of the front bumper. This version is longer by 80mm and lower by 40mm than its tamer SUV counterpart. The car also has twin five-spoke alloys and what is now Mercedes’ signature coupé rear—narrow, horizontally oriented, split tail lights, a centrally positioned three-pointed star, a sharp spoiler lip and a four-pipe chrome-tipped exhaust.

The interiors are typically Mercedes—the electric seat adjustment control buttons are designed in the shape of the seat itself, and the controller dial is semi-encased by the trackpad. There is also a flat-bottomed steering wheel with paddle shifters, and black and grey chequered dials for a sporty look. The infotainment system display, however, looks like an afterthought, and the steering stalk gear selector is a bit awkward. The sporty interiors follow a black theme and feature red stitching and red seat belts.

In the front, the seats are quite comfortable, but they didn’t hold me in place as snugly as I would have liked, especially when I was driving quickly through turns. Space at the back isn’t great (two people can sit comfortably but three might be a squeeze) but despite the sloping roofline, headroom is sufficient. Width and legroom give you nothing to complain about, but the narrow rear windows make it feel a bit claustrophobic when you’re seated at the back. The sloping roofline also eats into the boot, plus there’s a space-saver spare wheel that sits on the high floor, which means you will have to choose between your bags or a spare wheel.

Under the hood is an AMG 43 series V6 petrol engine that puts out 367hp. All that power propels the car to 100 kmph in a claimed 4.9 seconds, about a second quicker than the GLE’s 5.7 seconds. The car feels and sounds quick. Even in the Comfort mode, there is a hint of a rumble and a murmur, and Sport and Sport+ modes throw life properly into this engine. The Sport is best for some spirited driving, and while the Sport+ mode may be the most dramatic, it’s safest to use this on an empty road.

The steering feels nice but even in the Comfort mode, it does feel a bit on the heavier side, especially when you’re in traffic. Since it’s an AMG, the suspension is firmer, and you can feel the rough surfaces. Thanks to the stiffer suspension, however, the car has a very stable body. The air springs allow you to raise the ride height when you need extra ground clearance.

The Mercedes is decently sized and powered by the same engine, putting out identical power figures as the GLE. The steering could have been better tuned and it could have done with a reasonable boot. The GLC Coupe doesn’t exactly have any rivals in India, given the absence of the BMW X4, but with a price of Rs74.8 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), it falls into the same price bracket as Porsche’s Macan 2.0.

Overall, there is little to fault. The GLC 43 is fast, sounds good and handling is sharp. This is a car that appeals to both heart and head.

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