Mercedes-Benz GLC 63 AMG Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Saturday 25th March
Car Review

Mercedes-Benz GLC 63 AMG review

Published: 07 Jun 2019


What is it like to drive?

What an engine. And more to the point, what the heck is a twin-turbo V8 doing in the nose of a mid-sized school run crossover? It’s outrageous. Downright alarming, in fact, when you blip the throttle in neutral and the whole car rocks on its springs like some Yankee drag race weapon.

This is a family SUV with launch control, that can get you from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds if you go for the GLC 63 S, and has to be limited to 174mph. If you need a car – any car – to be faster than that, you’re braver than us. Or you know the local constabulary chief on first name terms.

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The 4.0-litre V8 has terrific initial response and it revs out gamely. Turbo lag is non-existent. The noise is spectacular – this is probably the best-sounding European V8 currently in production, and it’s all the more hilarious when emanating from the rear of a GLC. The nine-speed gearbox does its best to keep up but its redline upshifts hang back just a tad. It’s pretty good, but not utterly seamless. Downchanges are crisp mind you, with a perfect blip as the paddle is pulled.

Powertrain-wise, we’ve got few complaints. As per usual for a modern AMG, however, the ride does bug us. It’s just too firm. The C63 and E63 suffer from the same disease, and we’d hoped AMG would learn its lesson and soften off the SUVs for their more everyday tool bent, but nope, the GLC 63 SUV is still too firm and the Coupe feels even stiffer, and worse for it. On German rides, it’s tolerable but try before you buy if you’re in the UK and have to use anything other than a recently-resurfaced motorway.

Admittedly, the GLC 63 is unusually fun in the corners for an SUV, but that’s precisely the point – it’s good for a tall-riding two-tonne behemoth. It’s hardly a hot hatchback, even though it does its best to indulge the driver when you lift off the throttle mid-corner to tighten the line. Get leaden with the throttle and yep, it’ll actually power-oversteer. It’s among the least relevant abilities for an SUV to possess, but you just know the engineers have had a blast setting this thing up. It drips with a naughty sense of occasion.

Again, little has been done for the facelift dynamically, but electrically, the GLC 63 has been tweaked to be more fun. You now have selectable ‘AMG Dynamics’, in addition to the Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, Race and Individual settings for the engine, gearbox, suspension and so on.

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What this means is the stability control and engine response can now be set to behave in four moods: Basic, Advanced, Pro and Master, each with less interference and a bigger ego trip. Frankly, if you’re turning off the driver assists on the road you’re a bit anti-social and had better know what you’re doing. It feels like an inclusion that makes sense in the wieldier C63 but has been added here so the SUV set don’t feel hard-done by. Fact is, the AMG GLC is so gregarious and entertaining with all of its nannies on duty that we’d rarely feel the need to up the digital stakes. Mainly, thanks to that engine. What an engine...

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