Mercedes-Benz has built upon its existing 48 model strong AMG performance car line-up with the unveiling of the new GLC63 4Matic+ and GLC63 4Matic+ Coupe.
Set to make their public debut at next week’s 2017 New York motor show, the powered up, four-wheel drive equipped duo take direct aim at the Porsche Macan Turbo and BMW X4 M40i, running a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine that, in a move mirroring that of the C63 4Matic and C63 4Matic Estate, offers customers the choice of either 350kW as standard or a gutsier 375kW in a pair of rapid range topping “S” models.
The performance leader among the AMG newcomers, the 375kW GLC63 4Matic+ S Coupe, is claimed to be Mercedes-Benz’s fastest accelerating SUV model yet with an official 0-100km/h time of just 3.8sec.
This makes it 0.4sec faster to the traditional performance benchmark than the more powerful 430kW twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 powered GLE63 4Matic S Coupe, up until now the fastest accelerating SUV from the German car maker with a claimed 0-100km/h time of 4.2sec. Significantly, it also betters the official 0-100km/h time of the C63 4Matic S, which is put at 4.0sec.
The new AMG models falls short of resting the fastest accelerating road going SUV crown, though. That distinction rests with the all-electric Telsa Model X P100D, whose dual electric motors develop over 500kW and are claimed to dispatch it from 0-to-97km/h (60mph) in an official 2.9sec.
Confirmed for Australian delivery in early 2018 following a start to sales later this year, the GLC63 4matic+ and GLC63 4Matic+ Coupe are the latest Mercedes-Benz models to sport AMG’s new Panamericana grille first introduced on the GT R as part of a series of exterior styling elements that help to visually differentiate them from lesser GLC and GLC Coupe models, including AMG’s own GLC43 and GLC43 Coupe.
The distinctive grille, housing vertical slats and Mercedes-Benz’s signature three-pointed star, is incorporated in a uniquely styled front bumper closely resembling that used by the recently introduced E63 4Matic+ and E63 4Matic+ Estate with large air ducts and a prominent splitter element that is used to direct cooling air to the engine bay and front brakes.
Further exterior styling changes over the standard GLC and GLC coupe include wider black plastic flares within the wheelarches, painted brake callipers, “V8 Turbo” badges along the flanks, wider sills underneath the doors, a subtle tailgate mounted lip spoiler on the GLC63 4Matic+ Coupe and a new rear bumper housing an integrated diffuser element and four trapezoidal shaped chromed exhaust pipes.
The upgrades brought to the interior of the new AMG models largely mirror those seen on the C63 4Matic and C63 4Matic Estate, alongside which the GLC63 4Matic+ and GLC63 4Matic+ Coupe will be produced at Mercedes-Benz’s plant in Bremen, Germany, with unique instrument graphics, a flat bottom steering wheel, AMG sport seats and various AMG specific controls within the centre console among other changes.
Power for AMG’s latest SUV models hails from the same version of the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine used by the C63 4Matic and C63 4Matic estate. In standard guise it is tuned to deliver 350kW and 650Nm of torque. With added turbocharger boost pressure, it provides an additional 25kW and 50Nm, boosting the output of the headlining GLC63 4Matic+ S and GLC63 4matic+ S Coupe to 375kW and 700Nm.
By comparison, the twin-turbocharged 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine used by the Porsche Macan Turbo develops 324kW and 600Nm when fitted with an optional Performance Package, while the turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol engine of the BMW X3 M40i kicks out a 265kW and 465Nm.
But while the C63 4Matic and C63 4Matic Estate run a seven-speed version of AMG’s Speedshift MCT gearbox, the new GLC63 4Matic+ and GLC63 4Matic+ Coupe come as standard with the newer nine-speed variant of the wet clutch equipped transmission, as launched on the E63 4matic+ and E63 4Matic+ Estate late last year.
The new AMG pairing also adopt the latest version of the Mercedes-Benz performance car division’s 4Matic four-wheel drive system. Launched on the E63 4Matic+ and E63 4Matic+ Estate, the new set-up, which remains exclusive to AMG models for now, uses an electromechanically controlled clutch to connect the permanently driven rear axle with the front axle and provide a fully variable apportioning of drive dependent on prevailing grip and traction levels.
Following the lead of other recent new AMG models, the GLC63 4Matic+ and GLC63 4Matic+ Coupe also receive a so-called Dynamic Select system that provides standard models with the four different driving modes: Comfort, Eco, Sport and Sport Plus. The top-of-the-line “S” models also receive a fifth mode: Race. As well as providing variable properties for the throttle and gearbox mapping, the Dynamic Select system also provides the new AMG models with a coasting function on a trailing throttle at speeds between 60km/h and 160km/h in Eco mode for added fuel savings.
The new range topping GLC63 4matic+ S Coupe comprehensively out accelerates the most powerful GLC model to date, the recently introduced 270kW turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 powred GLC43 4matic Coupe, with a 0-100km/h time of 3.8sec versus 4.9sec. By comparison, Porsche claims a 0-100km/h time of 4.4sec for the Macan Turbo optioned with the new Performance Package, while the BMW claims the X3 M40i boasts a 100kim/h time of 4.9sec.
As with its rivals, Mercedes-AMG confirms a limited top speed of 155mph for all four variants of its two new GLC based models.
Underpinning the GLC63 4Matic+and GLC63 4Matic+ Coupe is a suspension system that combines the four-link arrangement from the C63 4Matic and C63 4Matic Estate at the front with the multi-link set-up from the E63 4Matic+ and E63 4Matic+ Estate at the rear – the latter featuring a wider track and greater negative camber than other GLC and GLC Coupe models. Also included is an AMG tuned version of Mercedes-Benz’s three-chamber Air Body Control system offering three levels of damping stiffness: Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus.
The GLC63 4matic+ and GLC63 4matic+ Coupe runs on standard 8.0-inch wide 19-inch front wheels and 9.0 inch wide 19-inch rear wheels shod with 235/55 front and 255/50 rear tyres. The more powerful GLC63 4Matic+ S and GLC63 4Matic+ S Coupe receive 9.5 inch wide 20-inch wheels up front and 10.0-inch wide 20-inch wheels at the rear shod with respective 265/45 and 295/40 profile tyres. Buyers can also specify the new AMG models with optional matt black forged aluminium 21-inch wheels.
As with other recent new AMG models, the GLC63 4Matic+ and GLC63 4Matic+ Coupe will be available at launch with a limited Edition1 equipment package. Included are various features from the otherwise available Night Package, which brings high gloss black and yellow embellishments to the exterior, in combination with unique interior styling comprising of black Nappa leather with yellow stitching for the seats, door panels and centre console.
Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S Specifications
On sale: Early 2018
Engine: Twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol
Transmission: Nine-speed auto, all-wheel drive