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Watch out, Macan: it's Mercedes-AMG's 503bhp GLC

Meet the GLC 63, the smallest Mercedes SUV to get a stonking V8 engine

Mercedes has never knowingly left a niche unplugged, which is why it’s given us this, the GLC 63 AMG. In both SUV and Coupe versions…

Looks like a serious piece of kit, no? More so than the GLC 43, certainly. In principle it’s a scaled-up version of the C63 on which it’s based. It uses the same 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 with 469bhp and 479lb ft, or 503bhp and 516lb ft in the GLC 63 AMG S, but adds rear-biased all-wheel drive (though Merc says the torque distribution is “fully variable”) and the nine-speed wet-clutch automatic gearbox from the E63.

The top speed is limited to 155mph, but the 0-62mph time hasn’t been released. Special three-chamber air suspension promises to “combine exemplary driving dynamics with excellent road-roar and tyre vibration characteristics”. 

Opt for the more powerful S and you also get five drive modes (over the standard car’s four), namely Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual and Race. These govern the throttle response, steering, gearbox and so on. The damping is continuously variable and has three settings, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. These you can switch between regardless of the drive mode you’re in, so in theory you can have, say, the sharper throttle response of Sport+ but the softer, more UK-friendly damping of Comfort. Good. 

You may at this point be wondering what the hell they’ve done to the front of it. That’s the Panamerica grille from the Mercedes AMG GT R and its derivatives. Said to symbolise the “consistently dynamic design” of the SUV and Coupe, the vertical slats, massive three-pointed star and lower air intake make for a striking thing. Out back there’s a diffuser and quad pipes – from which much noise will emanate (Performance Exhaust gives a button for on-demand burble). 

As well as extra power, torque and different trim, S cars get bigger wheels with wider tyres, 30mm bigger front brakes and an electronically controlled LSD instead of the regular GLC 63’s purely mechanical one. Both the Coupe and SUV can be had as an S, should you wish. 

It debuts at the New York motor show, with cars reaching customers in September. Prices are TBC, but bank on £65k, or thereabouts. Much more for the Edition 1, yellow flashes and all. Rivals? The Porsche Macan Turbo and identically powerful Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio spring to mind. As does the Jaguar F-Pace SVR, should Jaguar decide the prototypes it looks to be running around the Nürburgring are worthy. We sense a group test in the near future…

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