What is it?
The Mercedes-AMG GLC S 63 is the three-pointed star’s most powerful mid-sized performance SUV yet. It joins the model line-up above the existing Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 and goes into battle against the Porsche Macan Turbo and BMW X3 M40i – with a raft of rivals from the likes of Jaguar and Alfa Romeo looming in 2018.
Available to order now with first right-hand-drive UK cars due for delivery next spring, the GLC 63 is available in a choice of two body styles and in two states of tune. There’s a coupé variant that carries with it a price premium of almost £2500 over the standard body shape. Meanwhile, the faster, more powerful S derivative of each body style costs £6750 more than the standard versions.
The GLC 43 is something of a halfway house between the standard GLC model range and a full performance model out of AMG’s Affalterbach headquarters, but there are no such qualms with the GLC 63, which derives a lot of its technology from AMG’s staple models.
All the GLC 63 derivatives are equipped with the nine-speed automatic transmission that originally appeared in the Mercedes-AMG E 63, plus the latter car’s version of the 4Matic four-wheel-drive system. The new set-up uses an electro-mechanically controlled clutch to connect the permanently driven rear axle with the front axle and provide a fully variable apportioning of drive dependent on grip and traction.
Another key element of the mechanical package is 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.
Providing additional configurability is Mercedes’ Dynamic Select system, which provides different driving modes that progressively stiffen the suspension, sharpen the steering, quicken the gearbox and turn up the noise. The modes are: Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport Plus and Race, the latter being exclusive to the GLC 63 S models. If the idea of an Eco mode in a V8 performance car seems somewhat outlandish, it at least offers a token nod to fuel saving by implementing a coasting function that kills the engine at speeds between 37mph and 100mph under light throttle loads, reigniting it when you call upon the power once again.
GLC 63 S versions are also equipped with 20in alloys in place of the standard 19in AMG ten-spoke items, upgraded AMG performance seats and an electronic rear-axle differential lock in place of the standard car’s mechanical diff.
Naturally, it’s possible to add further optional kit such as high-performance ceramic brakes (£4285) and an AMG performance exhaust (£1000). A £2755 Driver's Package, meanwhile, raises the restricted 155mph top speed of the GLC 63 Coupé to 167mph. The kit in question comes as standard on S variants, pushing the maximum to 174mph. On paper at least, that all sounds like enough to be getting on with…