What is it: The Mercedes-AMG GLC63 is a small SUV whose as-tested price tag would also buy an S-Class; granted, it does come with 107 more hp than the base S-Class. The 63 is the top trim you can buy in the GLC lineup, above the 300, 350e (plug-in hybrid) and 43, each one denoting a different engine. Every level includes a healthy batch of options, the 63 being no exception.
Key Competitors: Porsche Macan Turbo, Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Base Price: $70,895 As-Tested Price: $91,150
Full review: 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC63 first drive
Highlights: New for the 2018 model year, the GLC 63 takes AMG’s ubiquitous 4.0-liter twin-turbo motor, used everywhere from the C-Class to the Aston Martin DB11, and plops it between the fenders of its small SUV. Peak horsepower is a very healthy 469 and torque plateaus even higher, 479 lb-ft between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm. Coupled with a nine-speed transmission, ample pull is never far away. This particular model came with performance exhaust for even more audio goodness, as well as 21-inch wheels, which has somehow become normal.
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Our Opinion: When I was a kid, my friend’s dad was an engineer at GM and had access to a Corvette one weekend. I jumped at the chance to get a ride. I loved the clamshell hood and couldn’t believe the endless power of the LT1 engine. This was in 1995, when 300 hp felt special. And, darn it, it was. I know I’m aging myself, but these memories come up when you sit in a fundamentally utilitarian-shaped vehicle with near 500 hp wedged in.
Even when sitting high in an SUV, the Mercedes brings back those fond memories and helps carry them forward. The punch of the turbo V8 never gets boring, nor does the growl. Mighty and mighty good. And, if fate places a curvy back road between you and your destination, all is well because the GLC keeps body roll to a minimum, and chassis balance is surprisingly decent. The seats are supportive and do a good job to hold you in place too. The C-Class is better, mind you, but not all the fun is sapped away by raising the ride height a bit.
Over 20 grand in options added fuel to the boy racer mentality of the GLC, like the AMG Track Pace app which takes data from the car while lapping (yes, lapping your SUV at a racetrack, that super-common thing that happens) and sends it to your iPhone for analysis. Lap times, of course, but also speed, gear, steering angle and placement on-track. The same app is available on several AMG models. The cool potential is there, if a little out of place here. Also adorning this SUV is lots of carbon fiber and black paint via the AMG Night and Carbon Fiber packages, in case you feel the AMG GLC is too subtle.
Mercifully, other options calm things down, like heated seats for rear passengers and a panoramic sunroof to let in plenty of light. And, if you keep the drive mode in comfort, the 63 will cruise in ninth gear quietly. Meanwhile, the adjustable shocks absorbed all that Detroit roads threw at it. Aside from the price tag, the GLC 63 attempts, and largely succeeds in, being the jack of all trades. It’s certainly a calmer daily driver than the Stelvio Quadrifoglio and sounds meaner than the Porsche Macan Turbo. If you have a big budget but only room for one car, the 63 is a good get.
—Robin Warner, managing editor
Options: Black nappa leather ($2,590), driver assistance package including active blind spot assist, DISTRONIC plus w/steering assist and stop & go pilot, lane keeping assist, pre-safe plus, BAS plus w/ cross-traffic assist, pre-safe brake w/pedestrian recognition and speed limit assist ($2,250), multimedia package including command navigation including map updates for three years, five years traffic and weather services, voice control, 8.4” high resolution color display and touchpad ($2,200), exterior carbon fiber package including AMG exterior mirror housings and AMG spoiler lip in carbon fiber ($1,750), 21” AMG twin five-spoke wheels, black ($1,500), panorama roof ($1,500), advanced parking assist package including PARKTRONIC w/active parking assist, surround view system and hands-free access ($1,290), AMG performance exhaust system ($1,250), cardinal red metallic ($1,080), advanced lighting package including active LED headlamps, adaptive high beam assist, ambient lighting and AMG illuminated door sills ($1,050), head-up display ($990), AMG carbon fiber trim ($975), AMG night package including high gloss black front splitter, side sill inserts, exterior housings and window frame, roof rails in matte black and black chrome plated exhaust tailpipes ($750), heated rear seats ($580), air balance cabin filtration system and fragrance system ($350) and AMG track pace app ($150)
On Sale: Now
Base Price: $70,895
As Tested Price: $91,150
Powertrain: 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, nine-speed automatic, AWD
Output: 469 hp @ 5,500-6,250 rpm, 479 lb-ft @ 1,750-4,500rpm
Fuel Economy: 16/22/18 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)
Cons: Even with a nine-speed transmission, the best you can do is 22 mpg on the freeway