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Picture it – a mid-sized family SUV, in sexy coupe guise and fitted with a mind-blowing engine! This vehicle measured a lap time on the North Loop of Nürburgring that ranks it as one of the fastest SUVs in the world. So, it is safe to say this is unashamedly a supercar which also happens to be a practical SUV.
The well-respected GLC range from Mercedes-Benz has had almost 5 years on the market. 2020 saw a refresh to both the GLC and GLC Coupe models. I was fortunate enough to drive the flagship Mercedes-AMG GLC Coupe 63 S model, which features these design updates: new headlamp and tail lamp design, updated optional 21-inch light-alloy wheels, new 90 mm twin tailpipe trims in a trapezoidal design, MBUX infotainment system with AMG-specific functions and displays, touchscreen display, accelerated voice control and optional gesture control, new AMG steering wheel with Touch Control buttons and steering wheel buttons (standard on the S model).
The heart and emotion of the AMG is its 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine that generates 375 kW/700 Nm. Acceleration from zero to 100 km/h is completed in 3.8 seconds. The top speed is 280 km/h which is electronically governed. The engine is mated to an AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G transmission which makes rapid work of splicing through the gears.
The special part of owning an AMG means that one mechanic assembles each engine in the engine shop in Affalterbach according to the "one man,‑ one engine" principle.
The impressive driving dynamics are based, among other things, on the AMG RIDE CONTROL+ air suspension with adaptive damping adjustment, the electronically controlled differential lock, which is now also standard on all variants, and the dynamic engine mounts, which are part of the standard equipment on the S models.
Additionally, the intelligent AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive combines the advantages of various drive configurations in one: the fully variable torque distribution to the front and rear axles ensures optimal traction right up to the physical limit. The driver is also able to rely on high handling stability and a high level of safety under all conditions, in the dry, in the wet or in snow. The transition from rear-wheel to all-wheel drive and vice versa is seamless because the intelligent control is integrated into the overall vehicle system architecture.
It is safe to assume –and after experiencing the drive, to confirm – that the handling characteristics of the car are outstanding. It is also worth noting that because the vehicle is geared towards high performance motoring the ride is firm. Luckily, the cabin is a nuance of sporting aesthetics and beautifully made luxury. The interior underscores the leadership ambition of the new mid-size Performance SUVs in terms of driving dynamics. Driver and front passenger are enclosed as standard in sports seats in ARTICO man-made leather, combined with DINAMICA microfibre, which unite excellent lateral support with functional ergonomics tailored to the job of driving.
Up to date in terms of digital display – the driver receives visual information via the 12.3-inch instrument cluster on the left and the 10.25-inch touchscreen display on the right. It is a harmonious synergy of technology and functionality.
A playful highlight of the vehicle is the typical V8 engine sound, which comes courtesy of an exhaust system with flap technology. Optionally available is the Performance exhaust system, which allows the sound to be modulated at the press of a button. A ridiculous symphony of snap, crack and pop bellows as you blast past everything in sight.
I believe the AMG GLC 63 S is a pioneer vehicle – a way forward for the supercar as we knew it, offering a concoction of proposition that make for a very desirable product. It is expensive by SUV standards of a similar size, but fairly priced in terms of the supercar class. This is a highly desirable niche product for which I believe more will follow.
The Porsche GTS Macan and BMW M X3/X4
Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4Matic Coupe R 1 436 000
Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 4Matic Coupe R 2 119 000
Service and warranty
The Mercedes-AMG GLC range is sold with a 5 year/100 000-km maintenance plan.
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