by Jared Rosenholtz
With the GLC 63 S AMG already proving itself as the fastest SUV in the world, thanks to a sensational Nurburgring lap time of well under eight minutes, the mechanically identical GLC 63 Coupe adds even more aggressive styling to the mix. The sloping roofline and chopped rear-end are in the same vein as the pioneering BMW X6, but the GLC Coupe instead goes up against the smaller X4 M and M Competition. Mercedes has thrown the full gamut of AMG artillery at the 63 and 63 S twins, with a bi-turbo V8 producing either 469 or 503 horsepower, a grippy rear-biased 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system, and a nine-speed AMG automatic transmission. Along with tweaks to the in-your-face design and Mercedes' latest MBUX infotainment system, the GLC Coupe is a class-leading performance SUV that shrugs off its heft to provide loads of fun from behind the wheel.
The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system now finally finds its way into the GLC Coupe. Using a 10.25-inch central display screen, the system is much easier to use than what came before, and also incorporates standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other new features include updated headlamps and tail lamps, 3.5-inch twin tailpipes, a new Graphite Gray metallic color, and optional 21-inch light alloy wheels. There's a new AMG steering wheel with Touch Control buttons and an additional upholstery option. Performance enhancements include a new "Slippery" drive program, a standard electronically-controlled locking differential, and extra agility handling modes for the S model. All in all, Mercedes has done plenty to keep the GLC Coupe fresh.
Mercedes has given the GLC 63's exterior a nip and tuck for the 2020 model year. The LED headlamps have been restyled and surround a widened grille with chromed bars. The LED tail lamps have also received an update, with the light signature arranged in unique blocks. On the S model, rear bumper diffuser fins and a diffuser strip are finished in Iridium Silver. As before, 20-inch AMG wheels and quad exhaust outlets complete the confident look.
While a tad smaller than the BMW X4, the GLC Coupe is still big enough to necessitate some caution in tighter spaces. There's a 113.1-inch wheelbase, while other key dimensions are a length of 186.9 inches, a height of 62.4 inches, and a width (without the mirrors) of 76 inches. While the 63 weighs in at 4,521lbs, the more powerful 63 S is marginally heavier at 4,548 lbs.
Besides the GLC 63's 4.0-liter V8 delivering mighty power outputs, it's unique in this segment, with rivals from Porsche and BMW employing smaller capacity six-pots. The 63's key outputs are 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, with the bonkers 63 S putting out 503 hp / 516 lb-ft. Both variants use a nine-speed AMG speedshift MCT (multi-clutch transmission) with a wet start-off clutch replacing the torque converter, both saving weight and improving throttle response.
Whichever 63 you opt for, there's a vast amount of power at your disposal, the GLC Coupe launching itself forward with an intensity usually reserved for low-slung sports cars. 0-60 mph is seen off in under four seconds. Along with a delicious V8 rumble, the GLC encourages you to blast pass slower traffic whenever an opportunity to do so arises - it's that addictive. In manual mode, you can get even more involved by using the effective paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. In any mode, the transmission is always ready and smooth, providing ideal access to the huge reserves of power.
For 2020, both the GLC 63 and 63 S are fitted with an electronically controlled locking differential as standard. The system reduces slip on the inside rear wheel when tackling a challenging corner, while also enhancing traction from a standing start. It's coupled with the AMG performance 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system, which seamlessly transitions from rear- to all-wheel-drive depending on changing conditions.
Clearly, AMG has put lots of effort into ensuring that not only are the GLC 63 twins secure, but that they contribute to a genuinely more enjoyable drive. It works, because the GLC Coupe can be hustled confidently at eye-popping speeds, with enough feedback from the helm to keep the driver informed. Sport and Sport+ modes markedly improve responses, and the coupe remains flat and neutral much of the time.
In Comfort mode, you'll also unlock a thoroughly decent highway cruiser. While it doesn't come close to matching an E-Class, the GLC 63 Coupe is pleasingly quiet and smooth on longer drives, the V8's engine note being muffled enough not to intrude. This is a fine effort from AMG's engineers.
At the time of writing, official EPA figures hadn't yet been announced for the 2020 GLC 63 Coupe, but we don't anticipate much of a change from the 2019 model. It returned 16/22/18 mpg city/highway/combined, equating to a combined cruising range of 313 miles from a 17.4-gallon tankful of premium unleaded gas. While this is by no means miserly consumption, it's better than BMW's quoted 14/16/19 mpg for the X4 M.
A full five-seater, the GLC Coupe gives up only minimal cabin volume to the regular GLC. So, while you may notice less rear headroom, passengers of average height won't be too concerned. What they will enjoy are the comfortable, sporty seats upholstered in appealing MB-Tex and Dinamica microfiber, while the 63 S gets leather seats. Head and legroom are plentiful in front, and the driver gets a power-adjustable steering wheel, while both front seats also have power adjustment. The coupe shape does, however, mean that the rear window is rather tiny, which does affect rearward visibility to an extent.
With 17.7 cubic feet of trunk space, the GLC Coupe gives up nothing to the regular GLC for space behind the back seats. This is good news for buyers who prefer the coupe's shape, but may be concerned about a loss of space. The cargo area also has a useful lockable storage area under the floor, although a higher than average load lip makes loading heavier items more difficult. You can, however, automatically lower the rear suspension by 1.6-inches to improve this. Fold down the 60/40-split rear seats, and there's 49.4 cubes of total cargo space - this is down on the standard GLC's 56.5.
Well-sized door pockets, a center console storage compartment, rear-seat cup holders in the armrest, and magazine pockets on the front seatbacks all help with small-item storage.
There's no shortage of toys to play with inside the GLC 63 Coupe. The front seats feature power adjustment, heating, and memory settings, while the driver's memory settings extends to the steering wheel. Both models also ship with dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless go/entry, a power liftgate, power-folding exterior mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, and a rearview camera. An illuminated entry system, automatic suspension lowering for easy cargo loading, keyless start, and remote start via the Mercedes me Mobile App are also standard. Go wild with the extensive options list, and you can add ventilated seats and AMG performance seats to the already long list of features.
Besides the dynamic upgrades, the addition of Mercedes' MBUX infotainment system is the 2020 GLC's most significant upgrade, along with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. To the driver's right is the new 10.25-inch touchscreen display, a notably more impressive screen than the seven-inch one used previously. Voice control, allied to artificial intelligence, is as advanced as it gets, although the system doesn't always work perfectly, a common issue with rival systems too. Three AMG-specific display styles encompass Classic, Sport, and Supersport.
The system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, while there's also dual USB ports, HD radio, SiriusXM, Bluetooth audio streaming, and an SD card reader. A 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system is standard on GLC 63 Coupes.
The 2020 AMG GLC 63 Coupe hasn't yet received a J.D. Power rating, but last year's model was rated a promising 84/100. Unfortunately, the model range has had to contend with a couple of recalls since 2018. These mostly involved the airbags, with a passenger airbag that may not deploy correctly in one case, and another recall for a passenger airbag that is detected as "on" when, in fact, it is deactivated.
Warranty coverage is for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. There's also four-year/50,000-mile coverage for corrosion and the drivetrain, along with roadside assistance for four years or 50,000 miles.
The major crash-testing authorities tend not to enjoy destroying premium SUVs that cost upwards of $75k, so the GLC 63 Coupe doesn't have an official safety rating from either the NHTSA or the IIHS. Of course, this doesn't mean you should avoid buying one, as the regular 2018 GLC SUV achieved five stars for overall safety from the NHTSA, and was named a Top Safety Pick + by the IIHS in 2019. The GLC 63 AMG employs much of the latest safety gear, not forgetting the expected seven airbags, rain-sensing windshield wipers, brake assist, LED lighting, and rearview camera. Driver-assist features include blind-spot detection, crosswind assist and attention assist to warn of drowsiness. Mercedes' Pre-Safe system is also standard. Active lane-keeping assist warns of drifting outside of lane markings, but is an added-cost option.
Should you buy the GLC 63 Coupe? It's a bit like questioning whether you should go base-jumping off the Burj Khalifa mega skyscraper in Dubai, the world's tallest building - you know it's utterly ridiculous, expensive, and over the top, but you also know you're in for one heck of a thrill. Because that's what the GLC 63 Coupe is all about: thrilling the driver and anyone else occupying one of the four other seats. It looks fantastic, sounds boisterous, has a sky-high feel-good factor, and actually delivers when taken by the scruff of the neck. For 2020, it's also smarter than ever, thanks to the inclusion of Mercedes' MBUX infotainment system, and there are no great compromises to be made space-wise to accommodate those coupe-like proportions. Of course, BMW's X4 M and the Porsche Macan Turbo may have something to say about all of this, but the 63's enigmatic and unique-to-the-class V8 has an uncanny ability to silence all critics. Take the leap, we say.
The GLC 63 Coupe starts at an MSRP of $76,500, the price excluding tax, licensing, registration, and a destination charge of $995. The more powerful GLC 63 S Coupe costs $84,100.
The only problem with Mercedes having introduced the S variants of their AMG models is that it renders the non-S AMGs as less desirable. You'll always be aware that there's a more powerful and dynamic version just one notch above. With this in mind, we'd go for the GLC 63 S Coupe. With more power, additional agility driving modes, more premium trim, and distinctive exterior detailing to set it apart, it's the ultimate GLC Coupe with the numbers to back it up.
Boasting the most powerful six-cylinder engine ever in a BMW, the X4 M40i makes its 503 horsepower (in Competition spec) felt at every opportunity. Coincidentally, this power output is identical to that of the GLC 63 S Coupe. xDrive all-wheel-drive and a rear active M differential ensure that the X4's hardware is up to the task of managing all that power, and the end result is an SUV that feels even sharper than the already impressive GLC. Both have reasonably spacious cabins slathered in rich, soft-touch materials with sporty accents, but the GLC Coupe edges the X4 for a sense of occasion. Both have some of the best infotainment systems available, although the BMW lacks Android Auto functionality. On paper, these two are near impossible to separate, but the AMG feels like the more emotive machine, and isn't that precisely what these vehicles are about?
While the Macan has proved that Porsche can successfully instill its special brand of sports car DNA into the less aerodynamic body shell of an SUV, the range has lacked a range-topping model to really compete with the GLC 63. That's set to change with the upcoming 2020 Macan Turbo. Despite a lower power output of 434 hp, the twin-turbo V6 ensures that performance is barely slower than the GLC. It's in the corners where the Macan will really show its prowess, ripping from point to point with an agility that sets the standard in this segment. You also get a beautifully constructed, tech-rich, and sensible interior, too, and the Macan is a refined cruiser when the mood calls for it. However, the GLC 63 Coupe feels more entertaining at lower speeds, with the Macan only really revealing its dynamic superiority when pushing on. As attractive as the Macan is, it also lacks the drama of the AMG's shape. You can't go wrong with either of these, but we'll take the Mercedes.