While other businesses have dabbled in sticking large V-8s in their compact sports sedans, Mercedes-AMG was doing it years before–and it is the only brand that has hung on to the bent-eight in that section. We should not be surprised, seeing as AMG made its bones putting eights to engine bays constructed for sixes and, even more lately, V-12s in place of eights. As the rest of the sector has fully embraced downsizing, Mercedes-Benz’s in-house hot-rod shop is bucking trends by stuffing a V-8 to its second-from-smallest SUV family, which includes the GLC and the GLC coupe. Do what you understand, right?
In the case of this GLC63 and its coupe variant, AMG brought powertrain components from two other 63s into the body styles du jour. The twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 is a direct transplant from the C63 household of sedan, coupe, and convertible. From the standard GLC63, it churns up 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, the latter at a friendly plateau from 1750 rpm to 4500 rpm. Measure up to the S model and output climbs to 503 horsepower and 516 lb-ft, a setup limited on our shores into the coupe body style. We are not certain why German producers insist on tagging such four-door hatchback vehicles as coupes–SUVs like those (also see: BMW X4) look to us more like turtles compared to glossy two-door conveyances.
Another organ donor is your E63 S supersedan, which contributes its nine-speed automatic transmission along with 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system. A multiplate clutch pack takes the position and function of a torque converter to minimize change times and powertrain losses, while the clutch-pack front-axle coupler can provide as much as 60 percent of available torque forward. In most situations, though, the GLC63 is strongly biased toward rear-wheel drive, and we definitely believed that on our rain-soaked push through southern Germany–particularly in the GLC63 S coupe, with its back wheels breaking loose at even modest speed through a switchback, a slide further exaggerated by the country’s legal requirement mandating summer tires come October (such tires are famously bad in the rainy). GLC63 S buyers get an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, while non-S versions contend with a normal LSD. Dynamic engine mounts also are standard fare.
The 1 thing which does not take over in the E63 is ramble mode. If you can’t find a flavor you like among the Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual preferences, then maybe you’d like the Race mode located just in the coupe, which pegs calibrations in maximum aggression to your motor, transmission, suspension, stability control, and all-wheel drive. Comfort style seemed perfectly suited for the conditions throughout our drive. As we have found with the other GLC versions, especially the twin-turbo V-6–powered GLC43 in both its coupe and conventional configurations, there is more DNA in the C-class cars than the G-class utility. The GLC63 pushes and acts much like a car–and is basically the closest we will ever get in this country to a C63 wagon–and it must prove quite popular for this reason alone.
Suspending the ute’s roughly 4500 lbs (the S model is a bit heavier) are multilink setups front and back fitted with air springs and elastic dampers. Germany’s near-perfect streets did not give us insight into the compliance of the suspension, but we can tell that the chassis is firm and the body rigid. Even the multichamber air springs enable drive modes to correct not only damping but also spring prices, which ought to keep roll in check.
This new 63 has got the vertical-bar Panamericana grille that surfaced on the AMG GT show this past year, and it is every bit as striking here. It imbues this model using a purposeful presence that, despite the massive rubber underfoot, is not obnoxiously loud. Small black fender flares affixed to the front wheel wells suggest contrasting French cuffs and combine similar ones at the rear borrowed in the GLC43. Coupe models have a wafer-thin spoiler jutting out at the edge of the decklid.
Inside, the GLC63 is pretty standard for AMG. Carbon-fiber trim is optional inside. There also is a carbon-fiber exterior package and an AMG Night package with high-gloss black trim pieces. AMG’s awesomely supportive performance chairs are available as part of their AMG Performance Studio option, which also brings a full-leather interior.
The exact final specification for U.S. models has not yet been established, but the GLC63 S coupe that we drove wore 265/45R-20 front rubber with 295/40R-20s in the rear. Non-S models may come regular on 235/55R-19s in front and 255/50R-19s at the trunk, or else they may be upsized to 20s to get started. Black wheel finishes in addition to forged 21-inch wheels are available.
What’s apparent is that the GLC63 S coupe will be megaquick. Mercedes acknowledges that the Porsche Macan Turbo is the only true competitor right now. The Audi SQ5 along with the Jaguar F-Pace are outgunned–almost comically so–by more than 100 horses, even though we don’t doubt both of these will soon visit the armory for an update. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio ought to keep pace and may be on sale by the time we get the GLC63. AMG claims the GLC63 S coupe can hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, that’s the exact same time we wrung from the Macan Turbo with the Performance package. We often outperform Mercedes’s estimates by a few tenths, so we’re expecting the foundation GLC63 models to match the Porsche as well as the S coupe to burst to 60 in 3.6 seconds and gallop through a quarter-mile in less than 12 minutes. All of this is aided by launching control, obviously.
Those itching for a little, V-8–motivated SUV will need to wait a couple of months. The 3 GLC63 models do not go on sale before the second quarter of 2018. Official pricing, too, must wait patiently, but we guess that this 63’s cost will mimic other similar upcharges in the Mercedes portfolio. Expect $70,000 to begin, together with all the GLC63 S coupe topping the scope using a base cost of about $82,000.
In case you’re wondering, all the advanced safety technology you may throw in a car will probably be available here, too. We are going to keep charge of our cars as long as we could, thank you. Fortunately, the GLC63 is one for men and women who actually like to push.