2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Coupe
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Coupe
Here’s a number for Mercedes-Benz fans steeped in the company’s automotive legends such as the 300 SL, the huge 600 Grosser Mercedes, the SLR McLaren and the current AMG GT: 54. What’s that? The percentage of Mercedes US annual sales that come from SUVs.
It isn’t just Mercedes. Some estimates have SUVs comprising more than 50 percent of light vehicles sold in the US by 2020. Yes, next year.
SUVs prompt visions of carting kids off to school, packing the back with your Costco provisions, loading up skis, backpacks or hunting gear for a weekend excursion, going to Nordstrom’s…
Or, pushing the right pedal to the floor to an instantaneous spool-up of twin turbos that takes you to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 174 mph. If you were talented enough, it could rush you around Germany’s 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7 minutes, 49.37 seconds. The record SUV time.
Just think how fast you could get to Costco.
Obviously this is not your typical SUV, but an AMG GLC 63 S Coupe.
Stepping back for a moment, Mercedes has five SUV sizes: GLA, GLC, GLE, GLS and G Class. Both the GLC and GLE come in two body styles, the extended SUV roof profile we’re used to and the fastback Coupe.
Our focus here is the GLC. Its two body formats come with a variety of engines, including a 255-horsepower 2.0-inline turbo 4, a 315-horsepower hybrid (SUV only), a twin-turbo V-6 at 362 horsepower and then our test car, the biturbo 4.0-liter AMG V-8.
Both GLC bodies have that 32-valve twin-cam 4.0 V-8 and a pair of turbochargers. It comes in two forms. One is rated at 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque that plateaus from 1750-4500 rpm. This is the only version available in the SUV, the model labeled GLC 63.
The Coupe can be had with that V-8 or the alternative form — for the GLC 63 S — boasting 503 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque on the same level plain. Now you get a sense of the details that underline the complexity of Mercedes’ total vehicle offerings, which contains some 100 models. To honor the likes of the 300 SL and the AMG GT sports cars, we feature the AMG GLC 63 S Coupe.
The 469-horsepower engine option gets the SUV to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, topping at 155 mph. But go with the 503-horsepower Coupe and you can get to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and continue on to 174 mph (top speeds are electronically limited). All this through a 9-speed, paddle-shift automatic transmission to the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ 4-wheel drive with variable torque distribution.
Forget the days of turbo lag, all that horsepower is instantaneous. Helping control it on the road are independent multi-link suspension front and rear, with air springs and continuously adjustable damping shocks. Twenty-inch wheels and tires are standard.
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In fact, you could lightly trundle the kids gently to school in an AMG GLC 63 S Coupe, stopping for groceries on the way home. Better yet, travel the often-twisty, rarely level roads we did in rural New York and Connecticut and get a sense of the solidness and security you feel clipping along. Yes, your view is from higher up than in a sedan, but in this SUV that’s an even trade-off. Same for the tire noise, which can be a bit much, though a similarly worthwhile trade for the handling and security.
All this while you’re quite comfortable and secure in the leather-upholstered AMG seats. Ahead, the “performance” steering wheel has six groupings of controls, including a round switch that varies the car’s mechanics — engine, suspension, exhaust sound etc. — through levels like Comfort, Sport and such. In front is a 12.3-inch instrument cluster in which you can vary the information you want to see. To the right is a very impressive horizontal 10.25-inch infotainment screen that is nicely placed for use with minimal distraction from the road. Plus, the navigational system switches to a forward-looking camera as you approach an intersection where you must turn, and prompts you which way to go with blue arrows. Below that are heating and AC controls, another row of controls and then finally the central touchpad with even more controls.
That’s a lot of controls. If you were to buy this Mercedes (and others) you would want to start ownership by just sitting there for a half-hour with the owner’s manual (or the salesperson?) to learn. There’s some confusion, but also redundancy, so you can basically adapt to use the systems as you like them. Plus, there’s the option of just saying “Mercedes” and voice control will ask how it can help. Just be careful how often you say “Mercedes.”
Both the SUV and Coupe body shapes in the AMG model have the brand’s distinct grille with vertical bars, large lower front intakes and rocker panel accents. The pair ride on the same 113.1-inch wheelbase chassis, though the SUV is 2.5 inches shorter front-to-rear and 1.4 inches taller. There are space advantages with the SUV’s interior, particularly in the back seat, but then some would prefer the sportier image of the Coupe.
The AMG GLC 63 S Coupe is about double the price of the base GLC 300 SUV to start at a base price of $81,800. Of course, there are a host of extra options that can take the price up from there.
You about double the price of the base GLC 300 SUV ($42,500) before you get to the starting point for the AMG GLC 63 S Coupe ($81,800) and, of course, there is a host of extra cost options.
Your choice, the Costco version or the Nordschleif edition.
John Lamm worked for Road & Track for 37 years and is equally happy behind a keyboard or a camera. He has written ten automotive books and has been honored with the International Motor Press Association’s Ken Purdy award and the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor award for writing. He is on the organizing committee for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and has been a judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for two decades.