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Steering, suspension and comfort

Here there is hope because, in a GLC, your hip-point immediately feels more akin to that of a hot hatchback than a typical SUV.

It is, alas, a hope tempered in part by AMG’s modifications, which have yielded a chassis that about town feels about as forgiving as a hot hatch. The rear axle is particularly firmly sprung, unceremoniously dumping the trailing edge of the car from speed humps and contributing to a general shortage of finesse concerning the low-speed compression characteristics of the air suspension.

With the GLC’s taller centre of gravity, off-camber bends need to be approached with a degree of caution.

It’s a theme that persists even at speed, albeit in the form of a high-frequency jostle exposed further by the firm seats. They provide precious little blotting between road and backside for a car of the GLC’s type and thus motorway stints are never quite as calming as they should be. Rarely, if ever, will you find yourself moving the air suspension out of the Comfort setting.

That, by and large, is the bad bit done with. This particular GLC’s indisputable forte is point-to-point pace, where its grip, wheel articulation and, relative to the elevated centre of gravity, iron-cast body control allow it to dismantle almost any road you care to point it down.

Natural balance in the manner of, say, a Stelvio Quadrifoglio is conspicuously lacking. Adjustability? Not much in the way of that, either, and the speed-sensitive steering ratio can become alarmingly quick following a somewhat lethargic response just off-centre. However, the set-up rarely gets the better of this chassis, which bookends an admittedly wooden mid-corner routine with impressive precision on turn-in and, aided by the electronic rear differential, unbreakable, squatting traction on the way out.

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It quickly becomes apparent that the tight, winding corners of Millbrook’s Alpine Handling Circuit aren’t the natural stomping ground of a two-tonne SUV such as the GLC63 S Coupé. You need to lean hard on the optional ceramic-composite brakes before entering a corner, because an overenthusiastic entry speed will cause the front axle to fold over into understeer.

A restrained right foot is of paramount importance mid-corner too. Go anywhere near the throttle before you’ve properly exited a bend and the electronic stability control system will trigger. Still, the steering is quick and weights up nicely, and despite the GLC’s size, its air springs and adaptive dampers do a commendable job of keeping lateral roll in check.

The GLC63 S is not, then, a particularly effusive driver’s machine, and neither does it disguise its weight as persuasively as a Macan Turbo can. Its appeal is found in its outstanding technical competence – of which we’d happily trade that ultimate degree of B-road composure for a sliver more usability.