by Gerhard Horn
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 SUV's recipe is quite well-known by now, as it's the same one AMG has employed for years. You pick a model from the standard lineup and add some power. When you reach absurd levels of power, you add some more, just to be sure. Naturally, the engineers also include larger brakes, an aggressive body kit, and a suspension that can cope with the added muscle. Oddly, the GLC 63 is one of the few AMG's with a rather subtle exterior appearance. There are some clues, but only car nerds will be able to identify them until the V8 fires up and the exhaust note graces their ears. Once you start it up, there's no mistaking it for anything but an AMG thanks to the sound of that 469-horsepower twin-turbo V8. This SUV is all about balance, mixing brutal AMG power with Mercedes luxury. Is that good enough to fight off the likes of the BMW X3 M and the Porsche Macan Turbo?
The GLC 63 received a substantial facelift in 2020, which means this year's updates are minimal. It now has parking sensors front and rear that are linked to an active parking assistant, as well as the added convenience of a surround-view camera system as standard. One final addition is keyless-go. One new color option called Cirrus Silver is now part of the color palette, replacing Iridium Silver.
See trim levels and configurations:
|AMG GLC 63 4MATIC SUV||
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
Last year, the GLC was updated with slimmer headlights and a wider AMG grille. The taillights were upgraded as well, giving this SUV a sleeker design. The only design feature that might be considered OTT is the slatted grille, but to our eyes, it works perfectly. The standard 20-inch five-spoke wheels work nicely with the rest of the package. At the rear, the set of dual exhausts are nicely concealed within the black lower bumper. There are 21-inch alloys available, but they do compromise the ride quality. On the flip side, this SUV looks sensational with a set of 21-inch black multi-spoke wheels.
In terms of dimensions, the GLC 63 is a small model SUV that has an overall length of 184.3 inches and a wheelbase that's 113.1 inches long. The overall width without the side mirrors is 76 inches, and it's just 64 inches tall. It is a hefty beast, with a curb weight of 4,546 pounds. It's a smidgen bigger than the X3 M, which has a wheelbase of 112.8 inches and a width of 74.7 inches, but the BMW is longer. Strangely enough, the BMW weighs more, even though it's down two cylinders compared to the GLC.
The GLC is available in 12 colors, but only two are a no-cost option: Black and Polar White. The Iridium Silver metallic has been dropped from the list, replaced with the new Cirrus Silver metallic. This color costs $720, as do all the other metallic options like Obsidian Black, Mojave Silver, Graphite Grey, Lunar Blue, Brilliant Blue, and Selenite Grey. The three designo premium color options include Cardinal Red ($1,080), Diamond White ($1,515), and Selenite Grey Magno ($2,020).
Back in 2003, Mercedes-Benz and McLaren teamed up to build the glorious SLR. Both companies made a big fuss about its 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds. At the time, it was the fastest accelerating car with an automatic transmission. A mere eight years after SLR production ended, Mercedes-AMG introduced the GLC 63 with a 0-60 mph sprint time of… yup, you guessed it - 3.8 seconds. That's a stellar accomplishment. The reason for this rapid forward momentum is the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine producing 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. It's mated to a nine-speed automatic, also tuned by AMG. It sends the power to all four wheels via Merc's 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.
The GLC 63 is not just about impressive sprint times. It does an equally excellent job on the highway. The in-gear acceleration might just be even more impressive, as it's something you'll use more often. This SUV's ability to pass slower-moving traffic is exceptional. In regions with regular rainfall, the GLC might even be a better proposition than its sedan sibling. The all-wheel-drive helps the AMG GLC 63 track straight and true, while the rear-wheel-drive C63 can be quite a handful in the wet.
The 4.0-liter V8 is urged on by two turbochargers in a hot V configuration. In other words, Mercedes-AMG uses eight cylinders when most of its rivals employ just six. The result of boosting the 4.0L V8 is 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. That's not as much as this same engine produces in other Mercedes-AMG products, but plenty for a small SUV. The BMW X3 M is slightly more powerful with 473 horses, while the Porsche Macan S 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 (434 hp) has less.
The engine is mated to a nine-speed Speedshift AMG automatic transmission. With so many gears at its disposal, the GLC 63 never feels flummoxed. There's virtually no turbo lag, and the torque feels endless. Most of its power is available from low down, the gearbox shifts faster than any human possibly could, and the AWD system ensures that the power results in actual forward momentum, and not just a cloud of tire smoke.
It may have SUV styling, but the GLC sure doesn't feel like one. AMG knew that there was little chance of this car ever seeing any sort of off-road trail, so the focus is purely road-biased. Some may think a performance SUV is a heresy, but there appears to be a market for it. You wouldn't, for example, feel cheated if you had to sell your performance coupe because you needed the extra space for a new baby.
In comfort mode, the GLC 63 is quite sedate. Apart from the firm ride and the soft burble of the V8 engine, you'd never guess that it also can be ridiculously aggressive. In the Sport and Sport+ modes, you can lean on the car. The stiff suspension setup keeps the body from leaning, while the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system ensures maximum contact with the road. The result is a blistering and engaging SUV that even the most ham-fisted driver can enjoy.
The steering is nicely weighted, direct, and responsive, but it's worth mentioning that the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio set the new benchmark when it comes to steering. The brakes are more than up to the task of slowing this 4,546-pound beast down from insane speeds. Our absolute favorite part of the driving experience is the noise, though. This V8 makes a rude, yet deeply intoxicating sound that turns even the most respectable of people into juvenile delinquents. We wouldn't be surprised to see a priest hollering obscenities while hooning one of these. The brutal mix of Gatling gun and Spitfire engine while accelerating, and the pops and bangs while shifting down is bewitching. You could make a case for the noise being worth the price of the whole car by itself.
Yup, the GLC 63 uses gas, and that's about the only positive thing we can say in this particular segment. Having said that, heavy fuel consumption is standard across the board in this class. The GLC's EPA-estimated mileage figures are 15/22/17 mpg city/highway/combined. Oddly, the six-cylinder BMW X3 M is even thirstier, with EPA estimates of 14/19/16 mpg. For what it's worth, the Macan Turbo is the most frugal among these SUV brutes with EPA estimates of 17/21/19 mpg. When the 17.4-gallon tank is full, the GLC 63 can do around 295 miles.
The GLC's interior is a marvelous place to spend time. The interior is a mix of new and old, with Dinamica seats upholstered in Merc's MB-TEX leading the charge for old school luxury, while the MBUX infotainment system adds a helping of modern technology. The 10.25-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster do a much better job than the previous infotainment systems. The AMG Performance steering wheel is not just a lovely thing to hold, but beautiful to behold with its Nappa leather wrapping. Overall, it's a wonderful space, reminiscent of Mercedes' glory days, but crammed with the latest creature comforts like power front seats, 64-color LED ambient lighting and a rocking Burmester sound system.
The GLC is a five-seater, offering plenty of space for the occupants in the front. In the rear, things are a little less rosy. Front passengers get 40.8 inches of legroom and 37.8 inches of headroom, while rear passengers have to make do with 37.3 inches of legroom. The rear headroom is slightly more, measuring in at 38.5 inches. Five grown adults can fit, but four would be more comfortable.
The standard seat offering is sublime. In front, there is power-adjustment in various directions, including contour-control, lumbar support, and a memory function. They're both comfortable and supportive, even when driving enthusiastically. The front seats are also heated for those cold winter mornings.
Mercedes has had a tough few years when it comes to interior quality. Some of its more expensive models have a few cheap fittings, but we're happy to report that this is not the case in the GLC 63. Even the standard seat cladding, which is a combination of Black MB-Tex and Dinamica upholstery, looks and feels superb. There's nothing cheap about this interior, with every surface feeling as expensive as it is. As it's a German car, there are multiple optional extras to choose from. The Nappa leather option costs $2,590 and can be had in Black, Platinum White Pearl/Black, Red Pepper/Black, or Magma Grey/Black with yellow accents. The designo Platinum White Pearl/Black Nappa leather option is $3,100, but you have to include the AMG Carbon Fiber trim as well, adding another $975 on top of the price. The interior trimmings are all no-cost options, except for the previously mentioned carbon-fiber trim. You can choose from inlays like Dark Brown Linden wood and Natural Grain Black Ash wood with aluminum.
Practicality is an important factor, otherwise the SUV body would be a moot point. Fortunately, the new AMG GLC 63 SUV easily beats the sedan on which it's based but it's still not the best. The C63 offers just 12.6 cubic feet of space, while the GLC offers 17.6 cubes of space. Unfortunately, the GLC doesn't fare as well against its competitors. It matches the Porsche Macan's 17.6 cubic feet, but both SUVs fail to come close to BMW's figure of 28.7 cubic feet. At least the available space remains large enough for the usual tasks that would be performed in a car like this, whether it be grocery shopping, going away for the weekend, or playing a round of golf. The interior storage consists of a storage compartment between the front seats, a glovebox, and door pockets. All of them are a decent size.
As the halo model within the GLC range, the 63 is equipped with a long list of standard features. New specs for 2021 include parking sensors front and rear, as well as a surround-view camera system. Both are a welcome addition and should make parking as easy as pie. Other standard niceties include keyless entry and push-button start, a multi-function steering wheel with haptic feedback, heated power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, and an electric trunk liftgate. There are several optional extras available, but only one worth investing in. The Driver Assistance Package adds several advanced driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, and congestion emergency braking, all at a reasonable $1,700.
The C-Class sedan continues to soldier on with Merc's older COMAND system, but, rather wisely, the company chose to include the newer MBUX on the GLC. This newer system is a giant leap forward for many reasons, but mostly because it finally offers touchscreen functionality. The days of using a rotary dial are over and done. All of the infotainment features can be controlled via an iPad-like 10.25-inch screen mounted above the air vents, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The infotainment system incorporates absolutely everything you can think of, like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, HD radio, and SiriusXM. It even has two USB ports if you're feeling old school. A 13-speaker Burmester sound system is standard. Mercedes is also making a lot of noise about its voice control, which you activate by uttering, "Hey Mercedes." It's the safest way of interacting with the car, but we still prefer a button as talking to a car remains somewhat creepy. We've seen the movie Her. Talking to an inanimate object never ends well.
Mercedes recalled the AMG GLC 63 in the US several times over the last two years. The 2019 model was recalled numerous times. Faults included the starter power supply cable possibly being installed incorrectly, incorrect airbag labels on the sun visor, the car not recognizing that the seat belts are unlatched, the passenger airbag not deploying correctly, and the incorrect display of the passenger airbag status. The starter power supply cable issue returned for 2020, as did several other gremlins. The most worrying was the Active Brake Assist not functioning properly, and the possible loss of power steering due to a damaged wiring harness. There were also some problems with the ESP not functioning properly, which is not something you want in such a powerful car. The GLC is also part of a recall of Mercedes' entire lineup for incorrect GPS location data for emergency services. It's a long list of recalls for one vehicle, but Mercedes does offer a four-year/50,000-mile basic and drivetrain warranty.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has handed the 2021 AMG GLC 63 SUV a complete safety rating yet. As it's based on an existing product in the USA, it's safe to assume that it would offer the same levels of protection. The GLC range last received a review from the NHTSA in 2020, when it managed a five-star rating for the side crash and a four-star rating for the rollover test. From the IIHS's review of the GLC 63 SUV came only two ratings for the head restraints and seats, both of which scored top results of 'good'.
The GLC features all of the traditional safety features, but you may expect some of the optional equipment to be included in the high base price. As standard, it has seven airbags that includes a knee airbag for the driver. Added to this are ABS, traction and stability control, parking sensors front and rear, a surround-view camera system, active brake assist, blind-spot monitoring, pre-safe, crosswind assist, and attention assist. The additional safety tech can be equipped for $1,700 in a single package and includes adaptive cruise control, steering assist, speed limit assist, congestion emergency braking, and a lot more.
Yes. We should be thankful that vehicles like these still exist. The tried and tested AMG method of putting a massive V8 under the hood remains one of the tastiest automotive dishes out there. The current GLC is now more relevant than ever, with rumors circulating that the next-generation AMG-badged C-Class, and by association the GLC, will be powered by a four-cylinder. If we were allowed to use emojis in road tests, this would be the perfect opportunity for a frowny face.
The GLC 63 is blisteringly quick, getting to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. But it's not just about straight-line performance. The all-wheel-drive system adds a layer of safety, which means even novice drivers can enjoy it. It might even be better than its rear-wheel-drive sedan brother. It's supercar-like performance in a practical package. Once you drop the kids off at school, you can go on a proper canyon run. Just be careful, because it gets to the speed limit within the first three gears. That leaves six gears to decide how long your jail term will be.
There's only one GLC 63 SUV model for sale and it has an MSRP of $73,900, excluding the destination charge of $1,050. It's more expensive than the X3 M, which has an MSRP of $69,900, but less expensive than the Porsche Macan Turbo and the Alfa Romeo Q, both of which retail for more than $80,000.
The Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 SUV range consists of just one model. It comes as standard with a twin-turbo V8 engine mated to a nine-speed AMG Speedshift automatic transmission. The power is sent to the wheels via Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.
Standard exterior features include 20-inch alloy wheels and a power-operated trunk lid. Interior features include keyless entry with push-button start, power-adjustable and heated front seats, a multi-function steering wheel with haptic feedback, and a 64-color ambient lighting system.
The infotainment system consists of a 10.25-inch central touchscreen interface and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. It comes standard with MBUX voice activation, Bluetooth, HD radio, SiriusXM, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Safety-wise, the 2021 GLC 63 now includes parking sensors front and rear and a surround-view camera. It also has active brake assist, blind-spot monitoring, and attention assist.
There are various packages, as well as standalone features, available for the GLC 63. The Exterior Lighting Package ($800) includes intelligent headlamps and adaptive high beam assist. The standalone options for the exterior also include an illuminated star on the grille ($500) and AMG logo projectors for $275. The interior can also be elevated by several standalone features, like the AMG Head-Up display for $1,100 and wireless charging for $200. We do recommend going for the only interior package, called the Driver Assistance Package. It's just $1,700 but includes active steering assist, active lane-keep assist, and active brake assist with rear cross-traffic alert. All in, it includes an additional 13 driver assistance features.
We'd opt for the designo Diamond White Metallic paint ($1,515) and the 21-inch black multispoke wheels ($1,500) because the contrast is lovely. On the inside, we'd keep it relatively simple. The sports seats are no longer an option, and the car is better for it as they robbed rear passengers of legroom. We'd have the seats in Red Pepper/Black Exclusive Nappa Leather ($2,590). Finally, we'd add the Driver Assistance Package, adding another $1,700 to the AMG GLC 63's base price. This results in a total of $81,205 excluding the destination charge.
One of the most famous automotive battles has spilled over to the SUVs based on those models. The GLC 63 is $4,000 more expensive than the standard X3 M. We say standard X3 M because BMW also offers a more hardcore version called the Competition Package. It adds $7,000 to the price, but in return, you get the ultimate hardcore X3. The X3 has more power, sharing the same powertrain as used in the new M3/M4. The handling is also sharper, and BMW's interior game has improved in a big way. Don't forget about the much larger trunk.
We only have two problems with the X3 M, specifically in Competition guise. The initial turbo lag is quite prominent, and the ride is rock solid. Sure, the result is great handling, but we're not convinced the payoff is worth living with a suspension that shudders when it goes over anything slightly larger than a penny. The GLC 63 is a more balanced SUV. Given the choice between these two cars, we'd have the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q. Wait, we have to decide only between these two? Guess it has to be the GLC, then.
The all-new GLE 63 S 4Matic has a far higher MSRP of $113,950. The price gap between the two models is now a hefty $40,050. If money isn't an issue, it's worth going for the GLE. It uses the same twin-turbo V8 as the GLC but is tuned to provide 603 hp. It can sprint to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, which isn't half bad for a large SUV. The new GLE is equipped with the latest Mercedes has to offer, including a massive instrument cluster/infotainment display. You also won't have any problems with space, as the GLE is bigger in every direction. Between these two, we'd stretch for the GLE if we could.
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