Mercedes AMG GLC 63S

The Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Coupe may be the best hyper SUV.

How much is it? Asked a gearhead friend when I parked this month’s test subject after arriving for breakfast. Full retail MSRP is $89,630 I answered. That’s a steal he replied, then added “It’s half the price of the AMG GT S two-passenger coupe and far greater utility”. Only in our technology-rich neighborhood could a $90-grand vehicle be considered a “steal”.

Nearly Everyone Plays

Not that long ago, near-competition level performance was only available in sports cars and a few sports sedans. Today’s surge of utility vehicles has changed the market to the point that it’s easier to name the few who don’t (yet) offer a blazing-fast SUV. McLaren and Ferrari are (so far) notable holdouts, but even Lamborghini succumbed with its Urus offering and Aston Martin just introduced its DBX model.

Mercedes press materials position the AMG GLC 63 S as the only offering in its competitive space with twin-turbo V8 power. Its key rivals, Porsche’s Macan Turbo and BMW’s X4M are powered with six cylinders, although BMW manages to coax the same 503-horses (but less torque) as AMG out of its 3.0-liter stable. And while we’re dealing in numbers, the GLC 63 S posted a 7.49.369-minute lap time on the North Loop of the Nürburgring, making it the world’s fastest SUV according to Mercedes-AMG.

I know what you’re thinking. “A Tesla Model X Performance edition in Ludicrous Mode is nearly one second faster from zero-to-sixty while saving the planet.” Fair enough, but it’s 1,000-pounds heavier, so attacking Nürburgring with alacrity is not necessarily in the cards. And while the GLC 63 S has a wonderfully visceral growl in Sports+ mode, the 707 HP Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk still holds the gearhead raptor response meter record.

Bottom Line

The Mercedes marketing team not unreasonably picked Macan Turbo and X4M as head-to-head rivals for our coupe styled AMG GLC 63 S, but frankly its specifications compare with the $170,000 Maserati Levante Trofeo or the $200,000 Lamborghini Urus. No wonder my friend called it a steal!

THE FINE PRINT

2020 Mercedes AMG GLC 63 S Coupe

TYPE:  Front-engine, all-wheel-drive

ENGINE:  4.0-liter Twin Turbo V8

HORSEPOWER:  503 @ 5,500-6,250 RPM

TORQUE:  516 lb.ft. @ 1,750-4,500 RPM

BASE PRICE: $84,100

AS TESTED:  $89,630

FUEL CONSUMPTION:  16-city, 22-highway, 18-combined

Back to Civilization

Not every trip to soccer practice or church includes stoplight drag racing or corner carving, despite the possible encouragement of children in the second row. For those more frequent buttoned-down occasions, you’re cosseted in a Mercedes-Benz, with luxury attributes like the Burmester Surround Stereo included. The sporty, deep bolstered seats in our test vehicle were not only comfortable, the black Napa leather with contrasting red centers and stitching were just the right amount of flamboyance.

The GLC 63 S incorporates air suspension with all-wheel-drive and then AMG further tunes the system to offer four driving modes from Slippery to Race. The steering is nicely weighted for just the right amount of feedback from parking to Autobahn speeds. The result of this ambition is a utility vehicle with the assurance of a sports car.