Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 launched in NZ: how it achieves electrifying performance

David Linklater
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New Mercedes-AMG GLC models use a four-cylinder engine with electric turbocharger.

New Mercedes-AMG GLC models use a four-cylinder engine with electric turbocharger.

The Formula 1-inspired four-cylinder hybrid powertrain launched in the Mercedes-AMG C43 last year is now available in the Kiwi-market GLC 43 SUV.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 43.
The one with the sleeker back is a 'coupe' says Mercedes-AMG.

In the GLC 43 SUV and coupe models, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is enhanced with an electrically powered exhaust-gas turbocharger - unique among production cars, says Mercedes-AMG - "directly derived from technology used by the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team".

This is achieved via an electric motor just 4cm thick, powered by a 48-volt onboard electrical system. Integrated directly on the turbocharger shaft, it operates at up to 175,000rpm, directly driving the shaft.

Electrification of the turbocharger allows improved response and higher torque at low revs, says the company. The result is 310kW/500Nm and 0-100km/h in as little as 4.8 seconds.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 43.
Electric exhaust-gas turbo is unique among production cars, says Mercedes-AMG.

The system can also briefly provide an additional boost of 10kW by the belt-driven starter generator (BSG) when acting as a mild hybrid, also providing functions such as gliding and recuperation for maximum efficiency.

However, despite the impressive power output, the GLC 43 remains a "mild hybrid": the electric power assists but there's no electric motor to drive the wheels, so the petrol engine is always in use.

AMG chassis tricks for new GLC 43

A suite of performance-focused features is standard including rear axle steering, AMG Performance all-wheel drive with rear-biased torque distribution and an AMG Speedshift 9-speed transmission with wet start-off clutch. Both models roll on AMG Ride Control suspension with Adaptive Damping.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 43.
AMG version of GLC gets a thorough suspension revamp.

The front axle has specially developed steering knuckles and suspension joints on the spring control arm, while the rear axle features "elastokinematics" designed to enhance driving dynamics.

The inclusive Adaptive Damping System continuously adapts the damping at each individual wheel to the current demand, based on the preselected suspension level, driving style, and condition of the road surface.

Active rear-axle steering operates with a maximum steering angle of 2.5deg. At speeds of up to 100km/h, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels to create a virtual shortening of the wheelbase, resulting in significantly more agile turn-in, less steering effort and improved manoeuvrability, especially in turning or parking operations.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 43.
Four-wheel steering is standard across the range.

Above 100km/h, the rear wheels turn in parallel to the front wheels, up to a maximum of 0.7deg.

An AMG sports brake system features 4-piston fixed callipers fitted to the front axle and 1-piston floating callipers to the rear. An AMG exhaust system and AMG Performance Sound package contribute to the soundtrack.

GLC 43 prices and equipment

Over and above the standard GLC, 43 SUV adds full leather upholstery, augmented reality display for navigation, Burmester 3D surround sound system, Digital Light package including Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus, Driving Assistance Package Plus, an AMG exterior styling package, Night Package enhancements with black highlights, 20-inch AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels, and the Urban Guard Vehicle Protection Plus package.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 43.
AMG influence extends to the GLC cabin, with special trim and instrumentation.

The GLC 43 SUV is $151,900, while the coupe version is $157,900 (the standard GLC 300 opens at $113,900).

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