Mercedes-AMG decided to pair its glorious hand-built 4.0-liter V-8 engine with the mid-size GLC SUV and its GLC coupe sibling, tested here. The result is called Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S 4Matic+ Coupe, a long name for what is a probably one the most enticing sports-crossovers on the market today, a burly, thundering and muscular 510 hp high-riding missile. FIRST TEST.
Half a year has passed since Mercedes unveiled the most powerful variant of the GLC Coupe at the Auto Show in New York: the AMG 63. Now finally the GLC 63 Coupe makes its debut on the road – and announces this from afar with a deliciously loud exhaust note. If you want to hear this yourself, though, you should call a bank consultant beforehand: for below 86.335 euros (in Germany), this pleasure is not available – for the GLC 63 S version you should add up 8.000 euros more at 94.605 euro.
Sound and power source is the well-known, bi-turbo four-liter eight-cylinder engine lifted from the E 63 and available in two power levels: 476 hp for the “63” variant and 510 hp for the “63 S” – plus impressive 650 or 700 Newton meters of torque. So, now the main question: is the 8,000 euros more expensive S version worth the difference compared to the regular GLC 63? If it is, it certainly does so not for reasons of dynamics or logic, but for the sheer wish of world domination. And this is entirely justified: the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 and 63 S become the only compact SUVs on the market with a V8 engine, since the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio (510 hp) and Porsche Macan Turbo Performance Pack (440 hp) are all limited to six cylinders.
The normal GLC 63 jumps in four seconds flat to 100 km/h, only two tenths slower than the absolutely bezerk GLC 63 S which manages an almost unbelievable 0-100km/h time of 3.8 seconds – quicker than any SUV competitor and only third in the entire AMG range to the GT and E 63. Top speed, however, is the same for both GLC 63 and GLC 63 variants, and of course it is also electronically limited to 250 km / h – the optional AMG driver package takes Vmax up to 280 km/h. Fuel consumption is the same with an official average of 10.7 liters for both versions – in practice here this not really feasible, as we even glimpsed at 30.0 l/100 km during our test.
The 4Matic+ all-wheel drive is of course delivered as standard and is coupled to a nine-speed AMG Speedshift MCT automatic transmission. Four driving modes are available via the Dynamic Select program: “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport Plus” and “Individual” – plus “Race” for S models only. For the sake of efficiency, the “Comfort” mode has a freewheel sailing function that can be used between 60 and 160 km / h, which disconnects the engine from the transmission and reduces friction to the benefit of fuel consumption. The suspension uses the four-link arrangement from the C 63 at the front with the multi-link set-up from the E 63 at the rear. There’s also an AMG-tuned version of Mercedes-Benz’s three-chamber Air Body Control system, offering three levels of damping stiffness: Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus.
Driving the GLC 63 is easier than you might think. Unlike some power monsters from other manufacturers, AMG models are hardcore athletes on the one hand, but still comfortable everyday companions on the other. Without hesitation, you can use the new GLC 63 to go to the opera or drive your grandmother to the doctor, without having to treat your neck or resort to a hearing aid afterwards. At the same time, however, this is a car which in sports mode, running at full speed, is masterfully completing the oft-cited transformation of Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Still, gentle wafting (even in Comfort mode) can not be talked about in spite of standard air suspension; cross joints, tram rails and small potholes are clearly felt in the cabin.
Steering and throttle response are noticeably sharper even in Comfort mode than in the normal GLC models – all the more surprising that all this can be dialed up even more in three levels: there are Sport, Sport + and in the S-model even a race mode to choose from, and with each press of the driving program button, the GLC becomes a tad harder, faster and (!) louder. The latter is especially true in connection with the optional AMG performance exhaust system, with two additional flaps which rise in the sports modes or at the touch of a button to significantly intensify the sound with a bit more growl as you downshift through the gears and lots of crack and pop.
The 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system uses an electro-mechanically controlled clutch to connect the permanently driven rear axle with the front axle and sees the GLC able to send torque to the wheel or axle which needs it the most, and together with a rear-axle limited slip differential (mechanical on the normal GLC 63 model, electronic on the GLC 63 S) ensures that (even during heavy rain) all the power is effectively put on the slippery wet road. Despite the overall weight (2.010 kg) and the big V8 engine up front, the GLC63 S behaves impeccably, turns in nicely and accelerates out ferociously – with 700Nm, it pulls hard in every one of its nine gears. There is tremendous grip and none of the oversteer characteristics of older AMG cars, while the variable steering is accurate, but not as direct as that of a Macan Turbo’s.
A small last note on interior accommodation: in addition to the comfortable but supportive standard sports seats, the GLC 63 also comes with additional AMG insignia, a nappa leather-covered steering wheel, a special performance view for the head-up display and, above all, plenty of carbon-fiber trim for a sporty look. The floating instrument screen is powered by Mercedes’ COMAND interface, which is fast and relatively easy to use but it lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto yet. In the back there is enough room to carry two adults in comfort or two bulky child seats.
From the outside, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S captures your imagination with the generously dimensioned air intakes in the front apron, the wide fenders and the Panamericana grille, which is not only a splendid eye-catcher with its longitudinal struts, but also builds the bridge to AMG’s super sports car, the GT. That’s where the engine comes from, after all.
AMG gives the GLC Coupe a stunning performance makeover, creating a 4×4 leviathan with continent-crushing power and pace. Long name aside, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 4Matic+ Coupe is the fastest, most brawny SUV in its segment. And the fact that AMG is relying on old-school V8 power simply puts the GLC 63 above everyone else, in a league of its own.
Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 (Coupé) Specifications: Length: 4.74 meters, Width: 2.10 meters, Height: 1.58 meters, Wheelbase: 2.87 meters, Boot volume: 500-1,400 liters, Engine: 4.0-liter eight-cylinder twin turbo, 375 kW / 510 hp, maximum torque: 700 Nm at 1,750-4,500 rpm, Transmission: 9-speed automatic, 0-100 km / h: 3.8 s, Vmax : 250/280 km / h, Average fuel consumption: 10.7 liters / 100 kilometers, CO2 emissions: 244 g / km, Price: 94,605 Euro.