In the U.S., the only way to get the more powerful 4.0-liter V8 GLC 63 S model is as the so-called “four-door coupe.” The standard model makes 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, so it’s no slouch either. Our tester — the 503-horsepower S model — is loaded up with roughly $15,000 worth of options, the most expensive of which are the $2,250 21-inch wheels and $2,250 Driver Assistance Package. The latter includes some active and passive safety features. Other options include $1,515 for red and black leather, $1,250 for an AMG performance exhaust system and $990 for a heads-up display.
Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: I’m really coming around to this lifted hot hatch coupe segment (yep, I said it with a straight face). Add in huge AMG power and a brassy red and black interior, and sure, what’s not to like? The precise purpose? We’ll, that’s a little murky. You’re better off going with a C63 S sedan for driving engagement, and the GLC doesn’t really need 503 hp. But people like the crossover silhouette. So, sure. Why not?
Navel-gazing about market positioning aside, the GLC 63 S is a riot. It sounds great on a cold morning. It has plenty of power through the band. It has a hot-rod feel when you take off from lights. The suspension is taut, which feels odd considering the ride height. Love the huge spoked wheels and raked roofline. Driving around one cold night with three people in the car actually had an intimate feeling. That’s one benefit of the close quarters. With the satellite radio humming and the heat pumping out, it felt rather luxurious in an old-school way.
I like what AMG is doing. I like what it did to the GLC. It’s not the AMG I’d opt for, and the segment is getting confusing, as I opined above. But hey, why overthink this. Gimme a ‘roided-up Benz with a chopped roof. It’s fun as hell.
— Greg Migliore (@GregMigliore) October 18, 2018
Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: The GLC really falls short on roominess, and the GLC Coupe gets dinged even harder in that area. That said, who gives a heck? This thing is fun to drive, and just as nice to look at. I might be in the minority here, but I really enjoy the turtle-y proportions of so-called coupeovers, and they’re even cooler when decked out with carbon fiber and a burpy exhaust.
And while really sporty looking and attractive, the analog gauge cluster mostly drew my
attention because the past few Mercedes products I’ve been in have adopted the new dual-
screen layout for the instrument panel and infotainment. While the floating tablet look of this
Managing Editor Greg Rasa: You’ve heard of hot hatchbacks. This one falls in the category of hot humpbacks — crossovers with curvy “coupe” profiles, such as the BMW X4 m40i. But this GLC looks better than that BMW, not to mention the GLC with the more traditional SUV profile it was derived from. The look is easy to like, bulging but sleek, like a blue-ribbon bull slicked up for the state fair.
It’s bullish with power, too — 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of peak torque that comes on at 1,750 rpm. The GLC 63 S does not look big, but it weighs 4,511 pounds and can hustle that heft to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. Mashing the accelerator briefly on a straightaway made the bull roar and momentarily alarmed my passenger.
John’s right, the cabin’s kind of tight — like a sports car, which all the red leather and carbon fiber insists that it is. It’s a gorgeous cabin, so much so that my now-calm passenger made a great “Price Is Right” guess while digging in the glovebox for the Monroney — his $95,000 was close without going over. Expensive, snug, lifted and wildly powerful. All told, it’s hard to know exactly who this vehicle is for, but whoever they are, they’ll have fun with it.
Associate Editor Reese Counts: Migliore is wrong. Every GLC needs a meaty twin-turbo V8 with more than 500 horsepower and a 0 to 60 mph under 4 seconds. This thing is so silly, and I loved every minute I spent behind the wheel. I love the crack of the exhaust and the massaging seats and the fun but wholly unnecessary ambient lighting. I don’t even mind the design. Like Rasa said, it’s a hell of a lot better than BMW’s similar offerings. I’d rock the hell out of this thing. Just make mine Cardinal Red.
Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: I very much enjoyed the twin-turbo V8 of the GLC 63 S, as did my other colleagues. But that was about all I really enjoyed about this hot crossover. My real problem with it and many other high-performance luxury SUVs is that it’s trying far too hard to be a performance car. The suspension is stiff to help it handle like something it isn’t. While I’m certain it can turn in solid times on a track, it wasn’t fun getting bumped and thumped all over town. Plus, no level of suspension tuning can hide the fact this is still a huge, heavy machine. You have to use plenty of pedal pressure to bring it to a stop, and you can feel the heft heave over in corners.
I’d much rather it be a little softer so that it still has the comfort of an SUV and its prodigious suspension travel. Especially since all the GLC’s handling upgrades still won’t make it as quick as its equivalent car counterpart. But hey, that V8 is sweet, and even though my colleagues seem to be disappointed by the interior space (I actually found it fine), it’s a lovely interior to be in, like with all Mercedes.