The New GLC 63 S : A real car or just a market gap filler?
Keeping track of Mercedes models has become a challenge as of late. It seems as though the execs are trying to plug every little hole in the market with a car, a strategy adopted by many tech companies. It’s probably not a bad idea. They are essentially taking parts from various existing models, piecing them together and draping them in a new costume for that one guy who wants a GLA instead of an A-Class, but doesn’t like the GLC.
Nonetheless, I find it pretty ridiculous. Take, for example, the standard C-Class sedan and its AMG versions the 43, 63 and 63 S. Then add to that the CLA and the CLA 45, the CLS and the CLS 53 and, finally, the AMG GT 4-door 53, 63 and 63 S. That’s ten four-door Mercedes sedans! Surely half would do just fine.
For a long time, AMG have been dropping big engines in cars intended for smaller ones. So we shouldn’t be at all surprised by their decision to take the 510 horsepower 4L twin-turbo V8 and put it into a small crossover. Having spent a lot of time with this engine as it sits in my GTS with exactly the same configuration, I can say with assuredness that it is sublime. So, while I do like to poke fun at Mercedes for having as wide a product range as a supermarket has for yogurt, I was excited to drive this car.
Before getting on with it, I have to take a moment to consider the name. Mercedes AMG GLC 63 4-matic +. That’s a mouthful. It gets even worse if you chose to go for the coupe. (because CUV and SUV coupes are a thing now)
Enough dilly-dallying, onto the car. Getting in felt very familiar. Almost everything was lifted straight out of the C-Class and I was very upset seeing the American-style gear shifter that Mercedes still insists on using. For the regular GLC I suppose it is acceptable. But this is a 510-horsepower machine and I really want it down where it should be. The saving grace for the interior was the AMG steering wheel and a carbon fibre centre console. However, it still was not quite enough to make me happy considering the steep price of this car – it varies from country to country, but in general it sits around 100’000 € and you can easily throw in 10’000 more worth of options. That’s a lot of money.
Another issue, which is not specific to this car, is the exhaust tips. I’m really sick of seeing a dinky little single exhaust tip behind the four square pipes at the back. I am pretty sure that Mercedes could find a way to create an exhaust which integrates the tips with the rest of the system.
After driving for a little bit feeling disappointed I got to some winding mountain roads, put the car in sport + and went for it. I immediately forgot all about the stupid interior. The car was a real pleasure. It was completely planted in the turns and delivered its massive power quick and smoothly thanks to what Mercedes calls a “rear-wheel-drive focused 4-wheel-drive system”. I know that makes no sense, but it doesn’t matter because it totally works. In a big empty parking lot I was also easily able to get the car sideways, which was a proper good time. I also put the 4-wheel-drive and lift system to the test on some challenging slopes and hills. As far as I’m concerned, the GLC passed that test as well.
This car really surprised me. I had a seriously good time in it. I don’t understand crossovers. There are plenty of options if you want a 4-wheel drive car with a “large” boot but not an SUV. Nonetheless, as far as crossovers go this thing is a really good time. I haven’t driven a Macan Turbo or the Alfa Stelvio Quadrifoglio yet, but I would assume that those are the GLC 63’s main competitors. Either way, Mercedes AMG gave me a really good first impression of a fast crossover, so thanks for that.