The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC made its debut in Europe with six available versions, all powered by a 2.0-litre engine. They include two petrol: GLC 200 4Matic, GLC 300 4Matic, two PHEVs: GLC 300e 4Matic, GLC 400e 4Matic, and two diesels: GLC 220d 4MATIC and GLC 300de 4MATIC. Work on the AMG-branded versions continues and after spying the flagship GLC 63, we have also caught a prototype of the smaller and more affordable GLC 43 model.

The vehicle you see in the attached gallery below was recently snapped in Germany with full body camouflage. Once it goes into production, it will be positioned below the GLC 63 coming later this year or early in 2023. 

Gallery: Mercedes-Benz GLC 43 spy photos

As you can see, the trial vehicle doesn’t look as aggressive as the 63-branded prototypes we’ve seen, though the beefier tyres and more prominent front fascia should differentiate it from the standard model. Those large brake discs behind the wheels with red front brake calipers are also a giveaway we are dealing with a hotter GLC. Large sections of the rear bumper are covered in black tape not allowing us to take a look at the diffuser arrangement, though.

Mercedes fans and enthusiasts are probably not going to be happy to learn this hotter SUV will lose its six-cylinder engine for the new generation. Instead, a version of the company’s M139l 2.0-litre engine is likely to be under the bonnet, receiving some sort of electrification. In the recently unveiled Mercedes-AMG C43, it generates 402 bhp (296 kW) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque and we expect similar numbers for the crossover.

If you want a six-cylinder mill in the new GLC, Mercedes will reportedly add an inline-six diesel unit later during the model’s lifecycle. The upcoming GLC 400d will be the only variant of the SUV with six cylinders under the bonnet. Even the flagship GLC 63 will lose half of its cylinders and switch to a four-cylinder 2.0-litre electrified powertrain.