by Deiondre van der Merwe
The Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 packs brutal power into a crossover body, and it's a main player in the ever-growing game of performance SUVs. It's one of few in the class that still sticks with a vicious V8 to get the job done, and we're particularly fond of the 469-hp twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter. With that kind of raw power under its snout, you'd expect the GLC 63 to be overly aggressive with its exterior appearance. That isn't the case; the SUV subtly alludes to its prowess and the result is truly stunning. It isn't skin-deep either, because the inside of the SUV is the epitome of luxury. Modern tech and Alcantara greet you as you enter the cabin and the GLC 63 comes with nearly every standard-fitted indulgence you can think of. Still, with competition like the BMW X3 M and the Porsche Macan Turbo, it goes without saying that the GLC 63 has its work cut out for it.
The GLC 63 returns fresh-faced for 2020 with restyled headlamps and taillights along with a new grille, and the inside has been given a revamp too. Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) is now enabled through a 10.25-inch infotainment screen and a new haptic AMG Performance steering wheel is now standard. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is newly standard and the SUV gets a bunch of added driver-assist features, including active lane change assist and route-based speed adaptation. In terms of performance, the GLC 63 gets a newly standard electronic locking differential.
See trim levels and configurations:
|AMG GLC 63 4MATIC SUV||
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
Seduction and brawn come together to make the GLC 63, and the blend is enticing indeed. Slimmer headlights flank a wider AMG-style grille and the result is a face loved by many, us included. LED taillights have a new shape, too, and at the bottom of a wide rear bumper, a sporty diffuser hosts two geometrical twin-tailpipes. The standard set of 20-inch wheels is nice enough, but we'd opt for the optional 21-inch set for some extra sass. A panoramic sunroof is also optionally available.
In terms of size, the GLC 63 is on par with the BMW X3 and the Porsche Macan with a length of 184.3 inches and a 113.1-inch wheelbase. Meaty haunches mean that it measures 76 inches from side to side without mirrors, wider than the X3 M. From the ground up, it stands 64 inches tall and allows for a maximum ground clearance of just 6.4 inches, so if you were considering taking the road less traveled, think again. The performance SUV has an estimated curb weight of 4,546 pounds, slightly lighter than the X3 M.
A rather extensive 12-color palette is available for the GLC 63, and two of these are no-cost options. They are Black and Polar White, and if you fancy a metallic hue or something more adventurous, you'll have to pay a little extra. Seven metallic hues are available for $720 and the understated choices include Obsidian Black, Iridium Silver, Mojave Silver, Graphite Grey and Selenite Grey. Lunar Blue and Brilliant Blue tie up this range. The boldest of the bunch is the designo Cardinal Red metallic, and it'll set you back by $1,080. The last two hues are the most expensive, with the designo Diamond White metallic coming in at $1,515. The most premium option is the $2,020 designo Selenite Grey Magno that swathes the SUV in a velvety matte grey.
The fire-breathing GLC 63's launch from 0-60 mph is the equivalent of a punch in the gut, achieving the feat in a ridiculous 3.8 seconds. This makes it more determined than both the BMW X3 M and the Porsche Macan Turbo. Mercedes' need to throw an AMG badge onto SUV recipients results in a product that's almost always worse than its sedan-based relatives, but the GLC 63 manages to blend performance and luxury in a near-perfect recipe. Trips around the city are as effortless as one would expect, thanks to the ample power lying in wait, and depressing the pedal brings immediate power to your fingertips, making short trips a breeze. The GLC 63 is particularly skilled at eating the tar up on the highways, and the SUV never runs out of breath. Overtaking slower cars is a breeze, and all that power we've been talking about means that even in the higher rev range, the SUV will eagerly obey the command to go faster. As is common amongst performance SUVs, the GLC 63 comes standard with an all-wheel-drive system that allows it to maintain its composure on wetter roads and is partly responsible for the manic launch times.
The handbuilt 4.0-liter V8 is powered by not one, but two, turbochargers and is responsible for the brute force of the GLC 63. The SUV is one of the very few in the segment that still opt for a V8, and the results of the bigger engine are particularly grin- or fear-inducing, depending on who the driver is. The hotshot forces out 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, just about on par with the BMW X3 M's 473 horses and well ahead of the Porsche Macan's 2.9-liter twin-turbo that produces 434 hp. The powerhouse beneath the snout of the GLC 63 is demonic, and the fact that the same V8 from the AMG GT (albeit in a slightly different state of tune) was dropped into a seemingly unassuming crossover, is just outrageous. Coupled with the V8 is a nine-speed AMG Speedshift automatic transmission, which performs at warp speed - it's devoid of any hesitation and is the perfect match for the stonking V8. Sport and Sport Plus modes increase its already impressive abilities. If you close your eyes and listen, the violent exhaust system sounds like anything but an SUV as it tears down the road.
We fondly refer to the GLC 63 as a fake SUV, because when you're in the driver's seat, it feels more like a taller C63 AMG. This is the one to get when your other half demands that you sell the race car and replace it with one that's more appropriate for the family: everyone wins here. Every component on the inside of the GLC 63 works in perfect harmony, and its aggressive handling makes it one of the most engaging performance SUVs out there. Seriously, the GLC 63 begs to be hurled into corners and when you give in, it eats them for breakfast with no roll or instability in sight. Sure, for this to be possible, Mercedes-AMG had to chuck in a stiff suspension that can be a little too harsh at times, but the sacrifice of pure comfort is well worth it for the agility and track-like prowess. A beautifully direct and weighted steering wheel improves things even further, and when switched into Sport modes, we couldn't find a single fault. However, in Comfort and Slippery modes, it's a little less eager, which is to be expected and you don't need much more on the daily commute. Unless you're like us. Being the performance-loving delinquents we are, one of our favorite things about this SUV is the naughty pops and bangs that accompany downshifts - but the whole experience behind the wheel is a joy.
Decent fuel economy figures are a distant and fuzzy dream for this segment and while the GLC 63 isn't the best in terms of fuel efficiency, it's certainly not the worst. The burly V8 doesn't show much restraint when it comes to gas, returning EPA estimates of 16/22/18 mpg city/highway/combined. The Porsche Macan Turbo manages to beat those marginally with figures of 17/22/19 mpg, but the BMW X3 M falls significantly behind with EPA estimates of 14/19/16 mpg. When the tank is full, the GLC 63 will allow for around 315 miles of range before a stop at the gas station will be necessary.
Plush and premium, the GLC 63's cabin is luxurious down to the last stitch. Alcantara and leather come together to create one of the finest-looking interiors in the segment, and if that isn't enough, Mercedes-AMG bestowed a barrage of standard-fitted indulgences onto the SUV. The cabin is a delightful place to be, thanks to clean design and deluxe tech. The newly standard MBUX system is a welcome improvement for infotainment and the combination of the 10.25-inch touchscreen with the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster modernizes the cabin enough for it to stick with esteemed German rivals. Our favorite addition for this year is the new AMG Performance steering wheel, it rounds off a near-flawless interior perfectly.
The five-seater GLC 63 offers plenty of space up front for even the tallest of adults, but the rear isn't as roomy as one would expect from an SUV. Visibility and comfort are part and parcel with multi-way power-adjustable front seats that boast contour-control via buttons on the door, along with four-way power lumbar support and memory. The combination of this and the four-way power-adjustable steering wheel allows for an optimal driving position. Seating is wonderfully comfortable in the front and the rear, but more so for the former. For the latter, you'll have to overlook the struggle for space if you're a six-footer to enjoy the plush and supportive seats. For colder days, heated front seats are standard. We'd opt for the AMG Performance seats for $2,500, but if you aren't particularly interested in sportier seats, the regular ones are perfect.
You won't find even a small hint at a discount in the cabin of the GLC 63. Each interior component is either swathed in velvety Alcantara or soft-touch leather. The SUV comes standard with a combination of Black MB-Tex and Dinamica upholstery, but five pricey additional options are available. Four of them will cost $2,590, including Black Nappa leather upholstery and a combination of that and Platinum White Pearl. The Red Pepper and Black Nappa leather combination may well be our favorite, and the Magma Grey and Black Nappa leather with yellow stitching rounds off this range. The most premium option is the designo Platinum White Pearl and Black Nappa leather with quilted stitching, and this upholstery requires the Black Ash wood and aluminum trim to be accessible. Dark Brown Linden wood trim, Walnut Wood and Grey Oak wood are no-cost trim options, but AMG Carbon Fiber trim will cost an additional $975.
An important area to excel in when you're trying to get the best out of performance and practicality is trunk space. The X3 M takes the cake by far with 28.7 cubic feet behind the second row, leaving the GLC 63 to trail behind with 17.6 cubes to offer from its trunk. The Merc manages to stay on par with the Porsche Macan Turbo's 17.6 cubic feet, and it has enough space in the rear for a full luggage set or the monthly grocery shopping trip. You won't struggle to get a set of expensive golf clubs in there, either.
In-cabin storage is particularly decent, thanks to a sizable storage compartment in the middle console and a large glovebox. The door pockets aren't badly sized, either.
As expected, the GLC 63 comes admirably laden with standard convenience and luxury features. Remote start, keyless entry and push-button start negate the need to touch a set of keys aside from putting them in your pocket when you get dressed in the morning. A multi-function haptic steering wheel and heated multi-way power-adjustable front seats are included along with dual-zone climate control. 64-color ambient lighting and a power liftgate round off the standard features. AMG Performance seats are optionally available, along with three-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a hands-free liftgate. The appropriate amount of safety features come standard, but you'll need to fork out some extra cash if you want a truly comprehensive safety suite. A rearview camera, driver attention assist, crosswind assist and brake assist are standard along with blind-spot monitoring and exit warning. Adaptive braking technology and traction control round off the list.
The GLC 63 is at its peak in terms of modern and intuitive tech. The cabin of the SUV is a digital mecca that has been vastly improved with the addition of the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and the 10.25-inch touchscreen. The latter serves as the main hub for infotainment and is home to the newly standard MBUX system. Voice control can be accessed by a simple "Hey Mercedes" and the screen can also be controlled via the haptic pads on the steering wheel. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow for full smartphone integration and Bluetooth streaming, and HD Radio and SiriusXM are standard. Two USB ports are installed along with a navigation system. The premium 13-speaker Burmester sound system busts out The Black Keys' "Howlin' For You" with crystal clear clarity. An AMG head-up display is additionally available along with a Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless charging.
For 2020, the GLC 63 has been on the receiving end of one recall so far for sending an inaccurate location to emergency services. To ease the minds of potential customers, Mercedes-AMG offers a four-year or 50,000-mile basic warranty and the corrosion and drivetrain warranties are standard for the same time period and mileage limit. Roadside assistance is also standard for four years or 50,000 miles.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has rated the GLC 63 for safety as yet.
Quite a few traditional and modern safety features are offered as standard on the GLC 63, but we'd recommend opting for some additional options if you want a full suite of safety features. For starters, a seven-airbag system is inclusive of dual front, combined thorax, driver's knee and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera, active brake assist, blind-spot monitoring with exit warning assist, attention assist, and crosswind assist are standard features, along with adaptive braking technology, electronic stability control, traction control, and an electric parking brake. A host of additionally available safety features include active distance assist, steering assist, congestion braking, speed limit assist, and lane change assist. High beam assist and active parking assist are available along with rear cross-traffic alert.
Mercedes-AMG has put luxury, performance and practicality in a dish, and put the oven on high. The result is a delectably powerful SUV, the GLC 63. It may have a striking appearance, but the GLC 63 is far more than just a pretty face. Beneath the aggressively cinched metal lies one of the strongest engines in the segment, thanks to Merc sticking to its guns with the burly V8 engine.
The handbuilt twin-turbo gets from 0-60 mph in a stonking 3.8 seconds, making it one of the fastest luxury SUVs in the segment. The inside is equally enticing thanks to a deluxe blend of soft and velvety surfaces and all the modern technology you could possibly need. We only have two niggly bits to contend with in the GLC 63, and that's the ride quality that can be a little harsh at times, and we'd like a little more standard safety features at this price point. Other than that, it's an undeniable winner if you're looking for a fire-breathing SUV that takes your breath away and takes the kids to school simultaneously.
With just one model in the lineup, pricing for the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 is a simple affair. The SUV has a starting MSRP of $73,750 which is more expensive than the BMW X3 M's $69,900 sticker. It does manage to be considerably more affordable than the Porsche Macan Turbo that will set you back to the tune of at least $83,600. The MSRP excludes the $995 destination fee.
The Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 range is made up of just one model. The one-trim show is home to a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission and it comes standard with an all-wheel-drive system.
As standard, it rests on 20-inch wheels and comes with a power liftgate. Standard-fitted convenience features include remote start, keyless entry, push-button start, and multi-way power-adjustable front seats with heating. A haptic multifunction steering wheel joins the list along with dual-zone climate control and 64-color ambient lighting. For infotainment, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch that enables the MBUX system along with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth streaming, HD Radio and SiriusXM. Voice control is standard along with navigation and a 13-speaker Burmester sound system. Standard safety features are inclusive of a rearview camera, active brake assist, blind-spot monitoring with exit warning assist, attention assist and crosswind assist are standard features along with adaptive braking technology, electronic stability control, traction control, and an electric parking brake.
A host of additional packages are available to improve the GLC 63 even further and these include the AMG Performance Seat Package for $2500 and ventilated front seats for $450. The Driver Assistance Package costs $1,700 and adds active distance assist, steering and evasive steering assistance, congestion emergency braking and active emergency stop assist. Lane keep assist, lane change assist and blind-spot monitoring are also added with this package. The Parking Assistance Package includes active parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, a surround view system, and a hands-free liftgate - it costs $1,290. For added convenience, an AMG head-up display costs $1,100 and three-zone climate control will set you back by $760. Wireless charging can also be added for $200.
If we were to choose the best GLC 63 model, we'd start with opting for the Black exterior paint and the optional 21-inch multispoke AMG wheels. This creates a mean black-on-black look that brings out the aggressive styling. For the inside, we'd go for the AMG Performance seats and add the AMG head-up display. Lastly, we recommend adding the Driver Assistance Package that includes an extra 13 safety features. Adding all of these brings the final asking price up to $79,050.
In the land of coveted performance SUVs, the X3 M and the GLC 63 are at the forefront. Given that the starting price of the latter is around $4,000 more expensive, it has to work that much harder to leave a lasting impression. The $76,900 X3 M Competition may be worth considering if you're after true performance from the X3 lineup. The Merc may have a bigger engine, but the BMW produces more power from its smaller capacity in-line six. In terms of interiors, it's a tough one because BMW has been stepping up its game when it comes to luxurious and up-to-the-minute cabins. Still, Mercedes-AMG is known for its immaculate interior offerings. While the GLC 63 takes the cake for the best looking interior, it falls slightly behind with its smaller trunk. The cavernous trunk in the X3 M pushes it ahead when we consider practicality. Truthfully, you can't go wrong with either one.
Around $30,000 separates the two relatives, and it's almost immediately obvious why. The GLE 63 is the larger sibling in terms of size and comes with a bigger and more powerful engine to match. The burly GLE 63 is home to a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 that smacks out 550 horsepower in comparison to the GLC 63's 469 hp. That being said, the power comes with the sacrifice of modern tech and even modern exterior styling. The inside of the more expensive SUV is considerably more outdated than its more affordable and smaller stablemate. We don't think that the GLE 63 is worth the extra cash at this point, so for now, we'd recommend sticking with the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 SUV.
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