AMG’s take on the GLC Coupé wants nothing for presence. It’s marginally more extensive of footprint but lower in stature than a Porsche Macan Turbo and adorned with matt black skirts, wheel-arch extensions and a deep rear splitter.
There’s also a particularly conspicuous duck-tail spoiler, and unlike the lesser of the AMG-fettled GLC models – the twin-turbocharged V6-engined 43 – the 63 features Mercedes’ open-worked Panamericana grille, which has until now been seen on only the Mercedes-AMG GT.
Through it, you get a view of the vast radiator needed to meet the cooling requirements of a 4.0-litre V8 that, as we’re now used to seeing, houses a brace of sequential turbochargers within its vee. In the GLC63 S 4Matic+ Coupé, it develops 503bhp and 516lb ft, the latter from just 1750rpm. The non-S version makes do with 469bhp and 479lb ft.
Much of the car’s mechanical construction is recognisable from the E63 saloon – encouraging, because that’s a machine we rate highly. The nine-speed Speedshift transmission is one such element and it is neither a torque-converter nor uses dual clutches, instead relying on an entire pack of clutches with a single input shaft.
In theory, such a set-up shifts faster than a traditional automatic but can cope with more torque than a dual-clutch gearbox, and there’s also a ‘sailing’ function that shuts down the engine while you’re coasting.
Through it, torque is delivered to the permanently driven rear axle and, if required, also to the front via an electronically controlled clutch in a fully variable fashion. The design of the widened, multi-link rear axle is also adapted from that of AMG’s hardest-hitting saloon, the E63, with the four-link arrangement from the smaller C63 charged with altering the trajectory of this 2020kg SUV.
The GLC63 does not, notably, benefit from an active anti-roll bar, although the volume of the AMG-tuned three-chamber air suspension can be altered to provide three levels of damping stiffness. Further parameters for the engine, gearbox and exhaust maps are altered through Mercedes’ Dynamic Select rotary controller and range from Eco to Race through Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus.