AMG sets up bout with Alfa
Take one C63. Add ride height and all-wheel drive. Profit?
We wonder when Mercedes decided to green-light the GLC 63. Was it when Alfa Romeo unwrapped the 503bhp Stelvio QV at last year’s LA motor show? Or when videos of a camoufaged F-Pace that sounded remarkably like an F-Type SVR were uploaded to YouTube?
If the decision came before either of those, which it likely did, Mercedes may well have thought its only competition for its niche-defying performance crossover would be the six-cylinder Porsche Macan Turbo, whose popularity is no doubt to blame for the GLC’s imminent release. It should be so lucky. Good as the Porsche is, the Alfa promises even more.
Which is why the GLC 63 SUV (and accompanying Coupe) looks like a serious piece of kit. In principle it’s a scaled-up version of the C63 on which it’s based. Uses the same 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 with 469bhp, or 503bhp in the GLC 63 S, but adds (rear-biased) all-wheel drive and the nine-speed wet-clutch automatic gearbox from the E63. Three-chamber air suspension promises to “combine exemplary driving dynamics with excellent road-roar and tyre vibration characteristics”.
Four drive modes – Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual (the S adds a ffth – Race, for max attack) govern the throttle response, steering, gearbox and so on. The damping is continuously variable and has three settings, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. These you can switch between regardless of what drive mode you’re in, so in theory you can have, say, the sharper throttle response of Sport+ but the softer, more UKfriendly damping of Comfort. Good.
You may at this point be wondering what the hell they’ve done to the front of it. That’s the Panamerica grille from the AMG GT R and its derivatives. Said to symbolise the “consistently dynamic design” of the SUV and Coupe, the vertical slats, massive three-pointed star and all-intake lower make for a striking thing. Out back there’s a difuser and quad pipes – from which much noise will emanate (Performance Exhaust gives a button for on-demand burble).
As well as extra power, torque and diferent trim, S cars (Coupes and SUVs) get bigger wheels with wider tyres, 30mm bigger front brakes and an electronically controlled LSD instead of the regular GLC 63’s purely mechanical one.
Sales start in June. Prices are TBC, but bank on £65k, or thereabouts, and (a long way) up. Bring on the group test.
Been in a C63? Then you’ll know what it’s like in here Edition 1 gets, among others, yellow stripes. Subtle? No. Cool? Uh-huh