BEHIND THE WHEEL: Mercedes Benz GLC43

MONDAY DECEMBER 24, 2018

Roads aren’t getting better by the day, especially here, which is no surprise SUVs sales have reached an all-time high despite being more fuel hungry and worse to drive by nature. As human beings, we do what we do best, adapt and evolve. So what do you get for a hundred thousand more over a GLC 250? A bigger engine, larger wheels and that’s about it. LED headlamps? (250’s got it) Panoramic sunroof? (that too) Choice of colour? The same as a 250. For costing three VW Tiguans, it is not something accountants would be nodding to.

PRO

Entertaining exhaust

Muscular soundtrack

Looks, back end

CON

Gear shifts

Hyperactive suspension

SPECIFICATION

3-litre V6

367hp 520Nm

9-speed G-Tronic

0-100 km/h: 4.9s

Top speed: 250 km/h

RM 470,000

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I am glad to find that the similarities end there or else I’ve just gotten myself a lemon. Ignite the 43 and you’ll instantly notice the first difference. It’s exhaust although not the performance system (an option available in most parts of the world but here) breathe into life with enthusiasm. Even more when put in Sport+.

Making it to the century mark will take you about five seconds. Stopping will take half the time and you can do it all day given how large the size of these brakes are. Steering feel I heard you ask? Right up there by being the most informative electrically powered rack on a sport utility.

On the inside, there are red stitching to go with friendly seat belts in red that tightens when buckled and a dashboard lifted from the C class that we all love or at least, loved. Flat-bottom steering wheel with needles that sweep. Speaker grills that look and sound good. Both kick plates and pedals in aluminium too are nice touches. 

If those are the things you look for in a car then it’s perfect but there are a few things to look out for. No leather is to be found, even in this spiced up Mercedes Benz which is good if you are a member of PETA. If you’ve experienced VW, Audi or Porsche’s gearbox, the nine-speed in the 43 can be frustrating especially when weaving in traffic, which is most of time.

 

The panoramic sunroof that comes as standard, lets in too much noise. Pre-crash warning’s neurotic, at least that can be turned off. This is probably the only car in the world where passengers would not believe that it is actually riding on air suspensions. Even on comfort mode, the over reacting ride cannot be turned off.

Should you wish to give hot hatches a run for its existence on mountainous roads, the GLC43 will do exactly that despite weighing nearly two tonnes. Granted it is not entirely on home ground doing the fast bit in mid corners, lean on its electronic wizardry, you’ll come out of it looking like Braveheart. And when stability control is turned off completely, some tail out action is possible.

As a whole, the GLC 43 surprises more often than disappoint. In this part of the world, it offers a lot more for a whole less than a Macan.

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