The Mercedes AMG GLC 63 is $80,000 worth of mind-boggling German power and style
- The 2020 Mercedes AMG GLC 63 is a high-performance midsize SUV with a potent twin-turbo V8 engine under the hood.
- The Mercedes AMG GLC 63 offers 469 horsepower and a 0-60 mph time of four seconds or less.
- The SUV is also packed with Mercedes luxury.
- I thought the Mercedes AMG GLC 63 was a staggeringly good set of wheels.
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I've gone through a few phases with AC/DC. The Australian hard-rock band was among my beloveds when I was a youngster first dropping needles on vinyl. But progress happens fast when you're that age, and although AC/DC - this was between "Highway to Hell" and "Back in Black" - absolutely got it done, Elvis Costello, Marshall Crenshaw, X, Blondie, Talking Heads, the Clash, and the Replacements sent me on a different course.
And yet ... AC/DC still gets it done. The straightforward pleasures of that straightforward down-under rock are indisputable, to this day.
I was was reminded of this recently when I borrowed a 2020 Mercedes AMG GLC 63 SUV and put the pedal down for the umpteenth time in the week I tested the vehicle.
A 469-horsepower, twin-turbo V8 will do that to a body and spirit. I was ... thunderstruck. And I didn't even have the AMG GLC 63 S, which takes the oomph up to 503 horsepower.
Aufrecht-Melcher-Grossaspach on the sheet metal means that the workaday GLC, with its mere 300 horsepower, has been amplified. The 63 means that the V6 in the 43 trim has gained two cylinders. As with many German automobiles, these specs, these numbers, this data - it's all rather cerebral. You really don't know what to expect when you click your seat belt, grab hold of the steering wheel with both hands, toggle the SUV into Sport+ mode, and, to borrow a phrase from gladiator Maximus, "unleash hell."
After all, who really wants to meander to the legal speed limit in more than four seconds? Furthermore, who wants to hit 60 mph with no roaring Teutonic soundtrack in the ears, minus a kick in the lumbar vertebrae from a nine-speed transmission that from first to second to third gear feels like it has anger-management issues.
Whomp! Whomp! WHOMP! Check the speedometer and get off the gas. But goodness, do you taste the potential.
In an SUV! Not the snazzy AMG GLC coupé, with its rakish fastback. An elevated German hatchback, basically, for the 21st century. Many thanks, good folk of Breman, for bolting this beast together. Sorry about the groceries splattered on the rear window.
Some more good work from Mercedes
Mercedes is doing some very, very good work these days. We've tested a whole bunch of models over the past two years and have found nothing to complain about and many things to make into objects of admiration. But the AMG GLC 63 stands out.
The V8 is gobsmackingly brilliant. Note that 469 horsepower meets 479 pound-feet of torque, creating power delivery that's spectacularly linear and a sense that it might never run out. Like, never never. Even if it did have a limit, you wouldn't want to meet it, not on public roads, anyway. I mean, the beefier S trim lapped the Nürburgring in less than eight minutes. It has only about 35 more horsepower.
The AMG GLC 63 isn't even Porsche-like, in case you were waiting on the inevitable cross-German comparison. In fact, the Merc made me wonder whether I was still as captivated by the Porsche Macan Turbo, a $96,000 demon that I sampled with a track-ready "Performance Pack," as I once thought. OK, I think the Porsche drives better. But the AMG GLC 63 is badder, and faster, and has 19 more ponies. (Yeah, yeah, I know - 440hp from a Porsche V6, versus 469 from a "Biturbo" Mercedes AMG V8, indicates that Porsche can get some serious tuning on with a smaller motor. But that V6 is working. With the Merc, the power simply happens, a large thing moving in a void and filling it with its presence.)
The GLC AMG 63's all-wheel-drive system actually managed an early snowstorm in the Northeast quite effectively, but for my money, this drivetrain is more about surefootedness on relatively dry pavement. On that score, the limited-slip differential, the chunky brakes, the upgraded suspension, and the confidence-inspiring steering - all AMG-ified - made me forget that I was running on winter tires. I could do anything I wanted with any corner that came my way. My experience with AMG cars made this a not-unfamiliar frame of mind. But in an SUV? With enough cargo space for a long weekend's luggage or a week's worth of groceries?
A versatile, luxurious mashup of muscle car and family hauler
We could put a price on that, and it would be lower than what Mercedes has put on the AMG GLC 63, which in my tester was well-equipped but not insanely optioned above the $73,750 starting price. At nearly $80,000, I kid you not, this guy is a bargain.
And a versatile, luxurious mashup of muscle car and family hauler. My Merc came wearing a handsome "Obsidian Black Metallic" paint job and with a lovely all-black interior, detailed with natural-grain ash and aluminum trim. The instrument cluster and infotainment screen are a single, continuous pane of glass, making for an elegant interface that covers all the tech bases, from Bluetooth pairing to excellent GPS navigation to device pairing with wireless charging. OK, the touchpad backup interface isn't the world's most awesome, but I'm in a forgiving mood. You can always switch to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto if you get frustrated. In my case, the angelic Burmester audio system made me forget any problems I might have endured.
But although I had to forgive a bit, I didn't have much of anything to forget. The Mercedes AMG GLC 63 is that kind of SUV. It etches itself in memory. And those memories rock.