2018 Mercedes GLC43 AMG Coupe - 1st 5,000 Miles

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8,975
Location
Houston, TX
This may be a bit of a longer read for some, so apologies, and skip if of no interest (ratings are my opinion based upon other cars I have owned and not against any particular system). A bit of back history – I accepted a new job where my Powerstroke would not fit into the parking garage, so back in January, I started cross-shopping for a new car. I did not want a full SUV nor did I want a sedan or car, but I did want something that was “sporty” to the extent possible that sat between the traditional roles. Finding a vehicle that fit that niche proved to be somewhat of a challenge. To that end, I cross-shopped quite a few models: --Audi (Q3, Q5, & SQ5) --BMW (X2, X3, X4, & X5) --Infiniti (QX30 & QX50) --Jaguar (E-Pace; which was not available in the US at the time & F-Pace) --Land Rover (Discovery Sport & Evoque) --Lexus (NX & RX) --Mercedes Benz (GLA250, GLC300, GLC43, & GLE350) --Porsche (Macan) --Volvo (XC40; which was not available in the US at the time & XC60) I always kept coming back to the Mercedes GLC300 platform due to its overall safety features, engineering, options, and style. I opted for the AMG version (GLC43) with 3.0L Twin Turbo V6 (362HP/384 LB-FT) in 4Matic form with 9G-Tronic Transmission. It has the following options: 799 (Designo Diamond White Metallic Paint); this is the only thing I really “settled” for (I wanted black), but after seeing the metallic paint in person (I assumed it was a flatter tone), I really like it, so I did not have to settle in the end. 241 (Black Leather w/Red Stitching) 739 (Aluminum Door Trim) R02 (All-Season Run Flat Tires) 401 (Heated and Ventilated Front Seats) 443 (Heated Steering Wheel) 810 (Burmester Surround Sound System) 93R (20” AMG Multi-Spoke Wheels w/Black Accents and includes the “Night” accent package for the whole car) 319 (Advanced Lighting Package—Active LED headlamps adaptive high beam assist, 3 color ambient lighting, illuminated door sills) 320 (Multimedia Package—Command navigation, voice control, 8.4” high resolution color display, touchpad) 996 (Advanced Parking Package—Parktronic w/active parking assist, surround view system, hands free access) 997 (Driver Assistance Package—Active blind spot assist, Distronic plus w/steering assist and stop & go pilot, active lane keeping assist, pre-safe plus, BAS plus w/ cross-traffic assist, Pre-safe brake w/active pedestrian recognition, speed limit assist) I also bought the extended warranty simply due to the amount of electronics and performance related items on the car. It was a very reasonable $1400 for 5Y/100K duration. There are a few options which are missing, preventing it from being "fully loaded" such as: --AMG Head-Up Display ($990); Not enough information displayed to make it worth it. --AMG Performance Exhaust System ($1,250); I actually hated the sound of this, so no loss there. --Air Balance Package ($350); I would have liked to have had this but is not a dealer option (factory installed only), so I missed out. --Brushed aluminum running boards ($670); the back of my legs would hit this every time I stepped out of the car (I test drove a GLC300 with them), the car is not high enough to need them, and I did not want to have to worry about mud/dirt on the back of my suit pants legs during drives in inclement weather. --Carbon Fiber Look Mirror Housing ($250); I did not like the looks of them anyway. --Rear-side window sunshades ($380); I may see if these can be added, though I typically park in a covered garage so they may not be of too much value. --Wheel locks ($150); I picked up an OEM set on eBay for $40. All in all, the car came exactly the way I wanted it. With that said, finding a car that had the options I wanted was a serious challenge and the reason that I flew to Salt Lake City (from Houston), to purchase it and drive it back. Note that Mercedes dealers will frequently hold onto cars which are in high demand and will not transfer them. I now have a little over 5,000 miles on it and can provide some feedback on ownership thus far. Overall Style/Exterior (8.8/10); I find the esthetics of the car from every angle to be classic, sexy, and appealing. The front is not overbearing nor does it have a single component that draws undue attention or is distracting (think Lexus grill here). The eyebrows on the lights are nice enhancements and serve as the turn signals. The silhouette has a swooping style from front to back that is very sporty and the flip of the rear spoiler is a nice bookend matching its twin at the front. The rear of the car is not fat as many new models are and the taillights are bright and well positioned. The hatchback can be opened via 4 different controls—foot kick under the rear bumper, pushbutton on the driver’s door, medallion on the hatchback that also houses the rear-view camera, and the traditional button on the keyfob (a bit more on limitation later in the read). Door access can be gained via keyfob or proximity via Bluetooth as well as a slide of the hand either front or back on the door handles. The doors close very solidly with zero rattles unlike its American or Japanese competitors. As a testament to the strength of the door panels, one of the salesmen pushed HARD with open hands against the door panel of an E400 and a GLC300 and the panels never moved or threatened to make a “beer can” noise. His fingers were very white on the ends so I know that he was not faking. One last area of note are the headlights—these are the best headlights I have ever seen and they are amazingly white and bright at night—even when on low. They are adaptive so they position independently of the car illuminating the surrounding side areas during a turn—something all vehicles should have. The automatic high/low setting was a great aid to night driving on the trip back from SLC as they reduced brightness when oncoming cars were detected. Interior (8.9/10); Everything is well laid out in a very ergonomic fashion. All controls are well positioned, functional, and engineered. Nearly everything can either be controlled from the steering wheel or the joystick. Speaking of the joystick, there is a combination mouse and a touchpad. Inevitably, my large hands caused me to hit the touchpad more often than not, even when I did not intend to do so. Thankfully, there a way to turn it off in the controls and I have done that. The 8.4” LED is not touch-enabled and I had to retrain myself not to touch the screen. While it displays enough information, the border is nearly 1” thick on the perimeter causing me to feel cheated of usable real estate. Cloth covered A-pillars seem out of place and less than durable against the full leather dashboard and door panels causing to me raise an eyebrow. The main console has a “bomb-bay” door giving easy access to the compartment, though its size could be doubled to be more versatile. The hideaway cupholder area is equally small and instead of the ashtray (which I have subsequently removed to gain more space) a cordless phone charging station could have been deployed. The main dash bezel and cup holder cover is gloss lacquer and I test drove a GLC300 with black ash wood instead and I will likely change mine to that at some point to eliminate the zillion fingerprints and dust collection points. The instrument panel has every instrument known to man save for an oil pressure gauge, though all fluids are temperature monitored as is the boost of the twin turbos. Extensive work was done on the propulsion control systems with 5 modes available—Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual. All have their own unique personalities and fit a wide range of driving desires/ranges. The Burmester surround sound system was indeed music to my ears due to the length of my commute and it comes complete with 14 speakers (including some in the headrests) and a 640-watt 10-channel digital amplifier. One can definitely hear the difference between surround sound engaged versus not and the cleanest notes are replicated for any genre of music. Classical music is simply symphonic in the cabin. Creature comforts abound with synchronized main ventilation, heated seats and steering wheel as well as additional ventilation in the seat bases and backs. Voice commands can be used to control the system as well as all of the other multimedia functions. The Mercedes Me phone app allows me to start the car from anywhere and have the car cooled or warmed waiting for me to climb in. Last, but not least, I added the Mercedes Benz Coat Hanger to my seat and it attaches to the head rest support. My suit coat arrives unscathed and because it is behind my seat instead of hanging against the side window, there are no created blind spots. Performance (9.5/10); The short version is the car can go from 0-60 in 4.8 seconds which is more than fast enough for me within the restraints of my commute. Sport and Sport+ have widely varied behaviors with Sport+ holding each of the 9 gears to a much higher shift point as well as stiffening the suspension even more than Sport mode. The stiffer suspension is not punishing and is a welcome change during higher speed turns, and though Eco and Comfort have a softer suspension, I did not find it to be overly squishy. I have read the engine tends to sound like a huge swarm of angry bees as it winds up and I suppose that is true to a point, though it is free revving and has a unique sound that is not a turn-off. The 9G Tronic transmission does not “hunt” for gears and even in Eco mode it shifts precisely and crisply. I have averaged 24-25MPG in Eco mode without much effort and when actually trying to be a gas miser, the 3.0L twin turbo has managed a high of 29MPG on the highway. The system defaults to comfort mode which 9 times out of 10 I switch to Eco mode for my commute. When in Sport+ mode the auto engine stop is disabled and though it took a bit for me to accept it, I have grown to like it as the management system will tell me at a glance how many more miles I can go based upon the MPG savings. The brakes on the car are practically “fade-proof” and it certainly seems that way within the confines of normal operation. Th extra safety features such as lane keeping, distance minder, and the like allow the car to drive itself for short distances and I allowed it to do so a few times driving from SLC back to Houston. For the most part, the car is not erratic and remains between the lines even making long sweeping turns by itself. At intervals between 30 and 45 seconds or so, a pair of hands will illuminate on the dashboard prompting you to put your hands on the wheel in a “are you still there” nag mode. One can adjust the sensitivity of the radar and the car will slow itself and apply the brakes all the way to full stop if it detects something in the drive path. For “close calls” such as a car darting in front of you an alarm will sound followed by braking which can become aggressive to the point of stopping. The system will also mind your speed showing you the legal speed and indicating with red bars on each side of the speedometer needle if you are above or below that limit. The 360° surround camera system (with top down view) is nothing short of fantastic removing all blind spots around the perimeter of the car. You can turn this on during car motion making it more than slightly useful. The parking areas in the garage at work can have distracted mothers and children in it, so I am very pleased I opted to have this system in the car. Small Things I Would Change; The hatchback release on the driver door or keyfob does not work if you are close to the car and the intent is that you will use the kick release or rear button to open the hatch. I would have them operable to all methods. Likewise, for the door locks, one cannot press the lock button when stepping out of the car because the car still “sees” the keyfob. Once the door is closed, the keyfob can be used or once a sufficient distance from the car, it will lock itself (though I am not sure that I completely trust this). The A-pillars would be in matching leather with the remainder of the dash and door panels as this would likely be more durable—in fact, either through a vehicle prepping accident or a factory defect, I will have to have the passenger side A-pillar replaced due to a small cut in the fabric (fully covered under warranty). Having both front and rear tires the same size would facilitate tire rotations, but the aggressive stance of the larger rear tires simply adds to the overall appeal of the car, so I can accept that. All in all, I am very happy with my new “commuter” car and if I had to do it over (at least at this point), I would choose the same car. Time will tell how it fares in the long run, and it does seems to be a “oil shredder” (I have changed it twice thus far with M1 0W-40 Euro and performed UOAs), but it is an incredibly fun car to drive—did I mention it has Sport+?
 
Messages
251
Location
Port Aransas, TX
Thanks so much for the complete review of that amazing vehicle. The Diamond White Metallic Paint is an expensive upgrade but I feel it is striking. I can't imagine how good that Burmester surround sound system is. My Slk has the Harman Kardon stereo and 13 speakers for a 2 seater sports car! Love it, I can cruise at 90mph with the top down and have great sound. My last two cars very been Mercedes and you can just feel the quality of the car as you drive them. The solid planted safe feeling and the comfort yet sporting feeling that is hard to describe. My last SLK was run over by a huge commercial truck. The car was totaled and the doors would still open. That car saved my life. I would also be interested in your thoughts on your MB C300 2.0L which I feel is a very sweet ride for the price point.
 

CarbonSteel

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8,975
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted By: Stevie
Thanks so much for the complete review of that amazing vehicle. The Diamond White Metallic Paint is an expensive upgrade but I feel it is striking. I can't imagine how good that Burmester surround sound system is. My Slk has the Harman Kardon stereo and 13 speakers for a 2 seater sports car! Love it, I can cruise at 90mph with the top down and have great sound. My last two cars very been Mercedes and you can just feel the quality of the car as you drive them. The solid planted safe feeling and the comfort yet sporting feeling that is hard to describe. My last SLK was run over by a huge commercial truck. The car was totaled and the doors would still open. That car saved my life. I would also be interested in your thoughts on your MB C300 2.0L which I feel is a very sweet ride for the price point.
Many thanks. As we put more miles on the C300, I will put something together like the GLC43 review, but so far, it is a great vehicle. I fully agree with your thoughts on the quality and engineering. I meant to add a few things and one of them was the engineering that has gone into the overall structure. When I removed the underbody pan for the first time to dump the oil, I was seriously impressed at the underpinnings, quality of design, and strength of the hardware. MB cars are built like tanks, but they certainly do not handle like one. I am certain there are those who will "poo-poo" the MB brand (and I may have done so in the past), but seeing (and owning) is believing.
 

CarbonSteel

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8,975
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted By: Y_K
Landcruiser is not sporty enough?
No; it is box on wheels and I did not want an SUV. I could have simply started driving the Explorer if I wanted that.
 

CarbonSteel

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8,975
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
Solid review!
Thank you sir! I forgot to mention the engineering in detail (I did in a post above), but the other two things are the "seat extenders" which extend from the front of the seat to support more of your legs. This is a fantastic piece of engineering and I very much appreciated them on the 1,600 mile cruise from SLC back to Houston. My legs have never felt better on a long drive. The other thing is the "brake hold" where after you stop, you simply press harder on the brake pedal and the car "holds" in place until you press the accelerator. It will hold the car even if the engine is on "autostop". Another nice piece of engineering to combat the Houston rush hour traffic. My feet and ankles do not feel as tired as they once did.
 

CarbonSteel

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8,975
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted By: DaRider34
How much you pay for the car since your were willing to salt lake to get it?
More than $1 and less than $100K.
 
Originally Posted By: 2015_PSD
Originally Posted By: DaRider34
How much you pay for the car since your were willing to salt lake to get it?
More than $1 and less than $100K.
thumbsup Good answer. Not being familiar with the higher end of the market I had to look it up expecting a raised 2 door, interesting use of "coupe" to denote the fastback version. Nice.
 
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3,556
Location
Massachusetts
I love MB's because in my opinion they tend to use the best materials for the interior even more so than Audi but what I hate about them is how fast they lose their value and they are very rattle prone. That is a nice little car PSD. Hope you get many, many trouble free miles and hope it brings a smile to your face everyday that you drive it!
 
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19,685
Location
Sunny Florida
Great review, and I am always glad to hear a new owner's enthusiasm for their choice! Your car should always move you in some way IMO, and I feel sad for those who haven't had a car that does that. I, too, would like to hear more as the miles pile up. Thanks for the details...
 
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3,120
Location
Tennessee
I don't understand the happiness about what mpg it gets given the amount of money in that stable. laugh No Tesla Model S on the list? Electric motor power is quite something.
 

CarbonSteel

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8,975
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted By: goodtimes
I don't understand the happiness about what mpg it gets given the amount of money in that stable. laugh No Tesla Model S on the list? Electric motor power is quite something.
You will note that I placed commuter car in quotes and while I acknowledge that 24-25PMG is not the top of the MPG curve these days, the fact that my commute in the evening is 2:20 @ 12-14 MPH average over the full length, I would question what gasoline powered (diesel either) would perform drastically higher than that. A hybrid? Maybe, but I am not looking to drive a Prius. As for Tesla (or any electric car), I have my own set of misgivings towards Tesla, but I can easily place those aside and say, which electric car can drive non-stop from SLC to Houston or have the freedom to go anywhere? Answer? None. Until the infrastructure surrounding electric cars is substantially beefed up, e-cars are non-starters for me. I like to travel too much to wait on a battery to charge--IF I can find a charging station at all.
 
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