Another AMG V8 bites the dust.
Now that we've had time to get to know the latest Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV - we got to drive the GLC 300 earlier this year - the sexier AMG GLC Coupe version has been officially revealed. Featuring the sloping roofline that has always defined the GLC Coupe, it has also arrived in two sporty flavors: the GLC 43 Coupe and GLC 63 S E Performance Coupe. Although the new AMGs don't look radically different, they represent a controversial departure from the models they'll replace, as both now have four-cylinder engines. This means the previous V6 and V8 mills have been retired, as with the latest C43 and C63 sedans. This may see the GLC Coupe lose some ground to the BMW X4 M40i and X4 M - both with six-cylinder power - in the minds of enthusiasts, but there is much more to the latest performance SUVs than their powertrains.
Mercedes has tweaked the details, but the overall look is very much what we expected. In front, there is the AMG-specific grille and an AMG front fascia with larger air inlets and vertical fins. The LED headlights now flow directly into the grille. Prominent wheel arches evoke a sense of aggression, and they frame wheels measuring between 19 and 21 inches. At the back, there are two-piece taillights that create an impression of width. A diffuser-look rear fascia on the GLC 43 makes way for an extra diffuser board on the 63 variant. The latter also has trapezoidal exhaust outlets, which are rounded on the 43.
Several packages can further customize the appearance, including the AMG Night and AMG Night Package Plus packages with various black exterior elements. There will also be an AMG Exterior Carbon Package and, for the GLC 43, the AMG Performance Studio Package with further high-gloss black trimmings.
The M139l 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine (with an electrically assisted exhaust gas turbocharger) makes 416 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque in the GLC 43. The previous V6 was torquier (384 lb-ft) but less powerful (385 hp). Thanks to the belt-driven starter generator, there is a brief 13-hp boost at lower speeds. The 0-60 mph time is exactly the same at 4.7 seconds, while the top speed is limited to 155 mph, so no surprises there.
The AMG Performance 4Matic all-wheel-drive system with rear-biased torque distribution is standard, as is an AMG Speedshift MCT 9G nine-speed automatic transmission.
The performance and extent of electrification are dialed up significantly for the GLC 63 S E Performance Coupe. Thanks to a much larger turbocharger that delivers a higher air flow rate, as well as a permanently excited synchronous electric motor, this model produces combined outputs of 671 hp and 752 lb-ft. Even without the electric motor, the M139l in this tune has 469 hp/402 lb-ft, making it the most powerful series-production four-cylinder in the world. The old V8 made 503 hp and 516 lb-ft, so it is comfortably outgunned by the new one.
It all translates to a 0-60 mph time of 3.4 seconds, and the top speed is limited to 171 mph. While the 63 also has a nine-speed automatic with a wet start-off clutch, the 201-hp rear-mounted electric motor has its own electrically shifted two-speed transmission. Completing this P3 hybrid layout is an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, while the high-performance battery is also placed above the rear axle. The electric motor acts directly on the rear axle, making for an urgent boost when accelerating from standstill or overtaking. If rear wheel slip occurs, the electric motor's power can be transferred to the front wheels for better traction. The 63 model comes with the AMG Performance 4Matic+ fully variable AWD system.
The AMG High Performance battery was inspired by technologies used by the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team's Formula 1 hybrid race cars. Rapid energy draw and high power density are just two advantages of this setup. The battery in the 63 has a capacity of 6.1 kWh, delivering 107 hp of continuous power and up to 201 hp for ten seconds.
Charging via recuperation is possible, but it can also be charged with the 3.7-kW on-board AC charger at a wallbox, household socket, or charging station.
Both models have the AMG Ride Control suspension with an adaptive damping system. Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ damper maps are available, while the 63 is available with active roll stabilization. Both versions have active rear-axle steering to improve agility by virtually shortening the wheelbase. To further tailor the driving experience, there are five AMG Dynamic Select programs for the 43 and eight for the 63. For closed courses and racetracks - despite hardly being the ideal environment associated with heavy SUVs - the AMG GLCs' electronic nannies can be switched off entirely.
On the GLC 43, there are four-piston fixed calipers in front, while the 63 comes with the high-performance composite brake system with six-piston front calipers.
Besides the ride height and different sightlines due to the SUV body style, it isn't easy to tell this cabin apart from the one in the C43/C63 sedans. It's all very familiar, from the trio of center air vents to the new-style steering wheel and tilted center touchscreen.
Being AMG models, the cabin materials and textures are sportier than in lesser GLCs, however. The seats are upholstered in a mix of MB-Tex and microfiber, but leather and Nappa leather with embossed AMG crests on the front headrests will be available, as are AMG Performance seats. The 43's steering wheel has a Nappa leather finish, whereas the 63 has a Nappa leather/microfiber finish. Rounded AMG Drive Unit buttons make it easy to switch between various drive settings.
AMG-specific graphics are used for the digital displays, including the digital gauge cluster. Unique to the AMGs is a Supersport style with driver information displayed vertically.
In terms of practicality, the 43 has 19.2 cubic feet behind its second row, not far behind the base GLC 300. However, the rear electric motor of the 63 has had a significant impact on trunk space - it only has 13.8 cubes behind its second row. That's very little for a compact crossover, even one with a sloping roofline.
Pricing is yet to be announced but we do know that both models will arrive in the USA next year. As a 2024 model, the AMG GLC 43 Coupe will arrive first, followed by the 2025 AMG GLC 63 S E Performance Coupe.