Hate it or love it, the SUV-Coupé genre is doing well. Buyers are flocking to the once-niche segment in larger numbers, attracted by the coupé-like lines as well as the high-riding, look-at-me SUV nature. Everyone is joining in the fun. Suffix the badge with some sort of sport symbol or letter and things get even more fun, with range lists all topped off by a powerful, fast and lower slung version. In this case, the GLC Coupé has been breathed upon by AMG and like it or not, it’s a menacing result.
The GLC63S Coupé presents a meaner cut of Merc’s smaller SUV-Coupé with the AMG signature grille and bumper treatment, 21-inch wheels, a high rear spoiler and quad trapezoidal black exhaust tips on either side of the diffuser element. You can’t describe it as anything other than mean or menacing especially in the AMG Night Package that was fitted on my test car. This adds dark 20-spoke alloy wheels, privacy glass at the rear and a few panels in high gloss black.
The GLC63S goes up against the BMW X4M Coupé in direct competition, but if you’re considering a powerful SUV of this size at this price point, then it opens a larger selection pool that must include more traditional SUVs too. Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio perhaps? Or you could consider pretty much any of the flagship sport products from all of the other German outfits.
AMG has done a song and dance about this GLC63S holding the Nürburgring lap record in this segment so we must evaluate its driving prowess of course, but first let’s step aboard.
Mercedes-AMG’s MBUX in this car is oriented to its performance. With Track & Pace timekeeping functions as well as the AMG Dynamic Select options, there are immediate signs of its lofty ambitions of performance. You can configure the type of driving experience you want adapting the engine mode, transmission, chassis and steering characteristics, all from the MBUX system.
The AMG Performance Steering is wrapped in Alcantara and apart from a plethora of system controls for the two 12,3-inch screens atop the dashboard, the steering also allows for fast drive mode selection, exhaust note control and start/stop functions.
AMG gives you the option of the sportier alternative bucket seats, but in all honesty should you choose the AMG Performance Seat option, you’d be perched in more sporty and perhaps aesthetically pleasing seats(and way more expensive) but you’d be far less comfortable. And this is important.
The Coupé option of the GLC compared to its square-backed SUV sibling does mean a slight compromise in space. 500-litres of load space in the boot is decent enough, more than your average family sedan and if you really need a bit more, you’ll find some space under the boot floor too.
As far as legroom in the rear is concerned, it’s quite comfortable but you sit quite high so taller passengers would be slightly compromised because of this and yes that sloping roofline doesn’t help either.
It’s typical modern Benz in here and that’s all a good thing.
There’s always a solid argument about the absolute relevance of high-powered SUVs but that’s certainly not an argument we partake in. Anything powerful is a good thing on our list, so let’s go with that. AMG makes fantastic engines. We know this, and we love them for it. The GLC is no exception, fitted with the same biturbo 4.0-litre V8 that is in all of the modern 63-designated cars. In this configuration it delivers 375kW of power and 700Nm of torque through a 9G-Tronic transmission. All of the above are excellent. 0 – 100km/h in 4,0-seconds is quite frankly astounding and it will run to a top end on the either side of 275km/h. It’s a driving experience that is typically AMG-raucous. Loud, exhilarating acceleration and sheer speed. You will have people ogling the car and suggesting robot-to-robot competition. I warned you.
The drivetrain is then coupled to the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system that thankfully, sends some 70% of the drive rearwards most of the time. This makes the Coupé entertaining at times and quite compliant when pushing on but you have to remember the power and weight that goes with it as you can approach bends at unexpectedly high speeds. Into the corners and despite the rear bias, the weight will cause immediate understeer and depending on what you’re doing at the pedals, the rear will step out thereafter but it can become quite a handful as the system tries to counter the slip and you try to do the same. The end result is lots of tyre screeching noises especially in chicane-like direction changes.
On the whole, the ride is hard made so to counter the large forces at play when you’re driving hard. It’s not as hard as its BMW equivalent but you know you’re driving a car built with performance in mind. And this is where that argument mentioned above may start to get some spark. Which is why I’d option the more comfortable standard seats – they’re bolstered enough for the sporty stuff but comfy enough for the more every day to and fro stuff.
AMG and South Africa are always a good combo. We love our cars and as this once-niche segment seems to increase, so too will this AMG attachment to that very niche. The GLC63S Coupé is a mostly full-house offering, its options centred more on the aesthetic packages and slightly more advanced tech, but it’s an excellently packaged offering. The options list will play to your tastes around trim, colour and comfort combination. Do you prefer carbon fibre or a dark wood option? Do you like a matte exterior paint or something a bit more mainstream?
You can get that price range way up into R2,3-Million territory but really you won’t need to unless you’re absolutely nit-picky.
I like the GLC63S AMG because its absurdly fast for what it is and as far as these swoopy SUV’s go, I quite like the look of this one too. I like its unapologetic design especially in this specification and I like its resounding growl. I’d say it’s the best sounding SUV in its competition pool without question – and sound is important in an age where emissions controls make it harder and harder to produce a beautiful engine noise.
It’s also loads of fun when not asking it to be the perfect and precise track toy – in that latter environment, you had better know what you are doing and I think it may actually become quite a handful but let’s be honest, this isn’t going to be the case for 99.9% of buyers.
As for the price, this is the motoring world we’re in now. Cars are pricey and we can’t blame Affalterbach for that.