RAPID SUV: Mercedes-AMG thinks giving the GLC a 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 engine is a good idea. It makes 375kW in the 'S' model. Image: Supplied
Germany - The AMG of the month; It’s a game children in Affalterbach, Germany, play as they spot yet another new test mule rolling out of the AMG factory.
Mercedes-Benz’s enormously successful performance sub-brand has a product portfolio effectively unrivalled and its latest additions are V8-powered GLCs, both standard and coupe. Yes, we know, they released GLC43 recently, but as is the way of AMG, there is always more to come. ‘Perpetual product’, it’s the AMG philosophy.
The formula for GLC63 is charmingly simple: small car, big engine: much joy. Technically, in the case of GLC, it’s a formula of medium-size SUV, enormously powerful engine: market domination.
What's more it's headed for SA later in 2017.
AMG fan-people will immediately notice the GLC63’s grille, and yes, it’s the first AMG other than GT to feature the Panamerica grille. All the other AMG accoutrements are presents too, from the massive 21" alloy rim options (accommodated by suitably huge wheel arches) to a completely remoulded front bumper. But it’s what nestles behind that bold Panamericana grille, which defines GLC.
It’s AMG’s M engine. Boosted by twin-turbochargers, and 4-litres in capacity, the V8 is good for 350kW/650Nm or 375kW/700Nm, depending on specification – either standard of ‘S’.
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AMG isn’t claiming any performance figures for GLC63 – yet – but we’ve done some arithmetic for your benefit. GLC63’s platform cousin, C63, runs the 0-100km/h benchmark in 4.1 sec, and the similarly shaped all-wheel drive GLC43 does that same acceleration test in 4.9. We estimate a true GLC63 0-100km/h statistic should be around 4.5 sec. Stupefying fast? Quite. And with nine-gears, you’ll always be in right one for effortless surges of acceleration.
Enabling much of its performance is AMG’s latest all-wheel drive system, debuted on E63, featuring a nearly infinitely variable torque distribution between the fore and aft axles.
The AMG all-wheel drive arrangement on GLC63 is biased towards controlling slip, without countering a slide too prematurely, thereby imbuing it with decidedly rear-wheel drive biased characteristics. In fact, the system reverts to true rear-wheel drive when the front-axle is behaving and not in need of traction guidance.
Mercedes-AMG E63 S now available in SA
Assisting the GLC63’s performance offering, and boosting both the calibre of driver engagement and passenger comfort, is Mercedes-Benz’s air-suspension system – unmatched in class. With modes varying from Comfort to Sport Plus, it should have the capability to massage over even the worst of South African gravel roads, whilst still providing the roll- and pitch-mitigation one expects from an AMG during high-speed cornering or deceleration.
Brakes? Standard ones are 360mm at all four-wheel corners, with 375kW ‘S’ models gaining 30mm of circumference, with a total brake suffice diameter of 390mm; hence the 21" wheel option.
Arrives in Mzansi towards the end of 2017
GLC63, in both coupe and standard form, will be an immeasurably enticing offering from AMG. It’s sufficiently compact to make it liveable as a city commuter, but that comparatively compact size also aids agility. And most cleverly, as a business case, it has effectively no rivals. BMW does not have an M-division X3/4, and Audi’s SQ5 turbodiesel is fast, but aged, whilst Macan ultimately can’t match its power twin-turbo V8 power.
WATCH: Mercedes-AMG V8 gives little girl the fright of her life
It’s another month into 2017 – and predictably, another AMG is revealed. You’d think they would run out of ideas, but in the quest for absolute, crushing, domination of the performance automotive market, AMG is making sure they have every possibility covered.
Small car. Big engine. A simple formulation, and one AMG is expert at executing. If you like your AMG SUVs soberly-sized and V8-powered, South African deliveries should be towards the end of this year.