Mercedes-Benz’s thinly sliced SUV pie is getting divvied up yet again, and the latest addition to the lineup could be one of the most delicious pieces yet. AMG’s latest creation, the V-8–powered GLC63 4MATIC, stuffs the glorious hand-built 4.0-liter V-8 engine into the engine bay of the compact GLC-class crossover and its GLC coupe sibling (covered separately). With muscular looks, comprehensive chassis upgrades, and what we expect to be a burly soundtrack from the thundering V-8, the GLC63 looks to be mighty enticing.
Leave it to AMG to pack so much power—469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque—into such a small vehicle. Among the GLC’s competitors, only the Porsche Macan Turbo tops 400 horsepower, and V-8 engines are unheard of in this class. And what a V-8 it is: The twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter unit is found in nearly all AMG 63 models as well as the monstrous AMG GT sports car. Although the GLC63 will be limited to one performance tune (the pictured Euro-sped GLC63 S won’t be offered in the U.S.), even more grunt will be available in the GLC63 S coupe variant, which will offer an upgraded version of the V-8 with 503 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes is quoting a 3.9-second zero-to-60-mph run for the GLC63—and given our 4.5-second result for the GLC43, which is 107 horsepower less powerful, that number might prove to be an understatement.
AMG’s familiar nine-speed automatic transmission, with a multiplate clutch that replaces a torque converter, comes standard, as does a performance-oriented 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system, which features a limited-slip rear differential that varies front-to-rear torque distribution on the fly. The GLC63’s suspension setup includes air springs and adaptive dampers, which, along with the steering tuning, transmission shift programming, and exhaust, are variable based on the selected drive mode: Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Race, and the customizable Individual. Performance options include a louder AMG exhaust and a wider 20-inch wheel-and-tire setup with 265-width front and 295-width rear tires (replacing the standard 19-inch wheels with 235/255 front/rear tires).
AMG’s styling treatment takes the GLC63 several steps further than the already strapping GLC43 in terms of aggression. The Panamericana grille, lifted from the AMG GT, makes a big statement up front, while flared fenders, a rear diffuser, and quad exhaust outlets add plenty of presence. The interior sees a heavy dose of faux-suede upholstery, aluminum dashboard trim, and a few AMG-specific controls such as the drive-mode selector.
Several customization options will be offered to AMG customers, including a blacked-out Night package, an Exterior Carbon Fiber package, and several interior leather options. Given the roughly $12,000 difference between 43 and 63 versions of the C-class sedan, coupe, and convertible, expect the GLC63 to start near $70,000 when it goes on sale early next year.