WHILE it might have been little tardy in entering the mid-size SUV market, Mercedes Benz’ latest offering will certainly make the buying public sit up and pay attention as its first contender in this segment is quite some beast.

This is the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4MATIC, which is well into the ‘sporting’ bracket with 367 bhp available from its 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbo engine. All that power is filtered down to the road surface via Merc’s acclaimed automatic transmission, the 9G-TRONIC and the 4MATIC all-wheel drive set-up.

Configured with a rear bias, this also benefits from a specially tuned sports suspension with adaptive damping adjustment underline the affiliation to the Mercedes-AMG world of driving performance. It is expected to be a Merc’s answer to the recently announced ‘S’ version of the Q5 and BMW’s X3 xDrive35i, both of which it seriously outmuscles and it is faster too.

The 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbo engine is used in numerous AMG performance models and is the only six-cylinder variant available in the GLC. It can sprint from rest to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds and top speed is electronically governed at 155 mph. Itsautomatic box has model-specific software application, with reduced shift times of the nine-speed transmission.

Its ability to multiple downshift allows faster short bursts of speed, while the double-declutching function in the beefed up ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport Plus’ transmission modes gives some pretty startling performance. Drivers have five modes to choose from though ­ in addition to those two, there’s also ‘Eco’, ‘Comfort’ and ‘Individual’ modes ­ and then there is also the option of pressing the ‘M’ button which gives the driver full control over gear-changes via the flappy paddles on the steering wheel.

Mated to the 4MATIC system, the transmission has a rear-biased torque distribution of 31% at the front to 69% at the rear under normal conditions.

All that power needs some stopping and Merc’s answer is to furnish the GLC with large and interior-ventilated compound brake discs.

On the outside the GLC will stand out because of its singular design and the fact that it is pretty much limited to silver chrome coloured and high-gloss black features, including black-painted, high-sheen 19-inch AMG five twin-spoke alloy wheels and there are also high-gloss black door mirror caps and silver-coloured lettering on the front wings.

The market launch in the UK will be June of this year, with prices confirmed nearer launch, but expect to pay in the region of £48k.