This Mercedes AMG will get you where you need to go, before you even leave
Executive Wheels: The 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 63 SUV is all about the driving performance
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 63 SUV
These days when you get pretty much any vehicle, the selling point is on the stuff – the luxury equipment, the safety and entertainment technology, the touchscreens and voice commands, the leather seating, the sunroofs. Oh sure, they go into the performance – and a few talk about fuel economy – but for the most part, the buzz in automobiles is all about the goodies.
That’s what surprised me the most about the 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 63 SUV: it’s mostly about the performance and the driving. Yes, it has all the goodies, but in such an understated way that it’s almost an afterthought. It’s been quite some time since I have been in any vehicle, particularly a luxury vehicle like this one, when I wasn’t overwhelmed by all of the tech before I started driving. With this Mercedes SUV, it was all about the driving right off the bat.
And there was a lot to be all about.
I figured out the “basics” in no time – it took me seconds to configure the seats (and set the memory), the mirrors, set the climate control (separate in-dash system), heated seats (button on the door), and quickly hook up my smart phone to the media player. Then, all that was left was to push the push-button start, set the transmission to “Drive” and get going.
With Mercedes, setting the gears in automatic is done through a steering column lever similar to a turn signal or wiper blade control; pull down for “Drive,” push up for “Reverse,” and push the button on the end for “Park.” Of course, there are paddle shifters if you want to simulate a stick shift or be more tactile through the gears, but in Drive this 9-speed automatic transmission is plenty responsive in its own right.
The engine in the AMG GLC 63 is a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo (twin turbo) putting out some 469 horsepower – it’ll do 0 to 60 mile per hour in 3.8 seconds (at least, that’s what Mercedes says, and I have no reason to argue). What is significant about this powerplant – other than it is very fast and very smooth – is that when driving with the windows down, the car is so quiet that the only sensation you have is being pressed into the seat. Just to make sure it had all the grit and muscle tone that an engine of this type should have, I sped around with the windows down and, yes, it roars like the king of the jungle.
The GLC-Class for Mercedes is classified as a compact luxury crossover SUV, sort of in the middle of the SUV lineup for the car line. Going from smallest to largest for SUVs, Mercedes has the GLA, the GLB, the GLC, the GLE, the GLS and the G-Class, with prices going up in the same progression.
You can clearly see Mercedes’ racing heritage in this SUV. It is, as I said, powerful, and it also handles extremely well. I loved driving it, and I even loved stopping it: this AMG GLC 63 features beefy 6-piston front calipers brakes, along with compound front and ventilated rear discs. In addition, the AMG model has a wider stance and more rigid components than regular GLCs, and a AMG Sport Suspension, an air suspension, to enhance handling, and a multimode AMG Dynamic Select that lets drivers dial in different shifting modes. I have never felt more in control and safer behind the wheel.
To illustrate the different modes, there is a button on the steering wheel that can change the modes to “Supersport,” “Sport,” and “Classic.” Of course, the shifting changes with each mode, so when you want to race you go to one end, and when you want to cruise you go to another. At best, in “Classic,” the mileage is rated at 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway, which is pretty good. I didn’t even want to know how low that went in Supersport, but what it lost in economy was easily made up for in time. I got to some of my destinations before I left
As I mentioned, all of the goodies are here, but understated and easy to use. Here are some of my favorite things:
- Duel sun roofs. A larger one over the front seats, and a smaller one over the back seats.
- Ambient lighting. Subtle blue and red lights in the interior, over the door handles, and over the window switches. There’s also lighting over the exterior door handles.
- Fold-in sideview mirrors when you lock the vehicle.
- Wireless phone charger in the console (and, oddly, a cheap feeling AMG cover for that).
- Very nice leather seating, padded just right for longer drives.
- Virtual cameras all over, with Bird’s Eye for five different views – very handy for parking.
- Voice command that, a la Alexa, starts off with “Hey Mercedes.”
So, the base price here for the AMG GLC 63 is $73,750. On my test-drive vehicle they added a few things, like $1,000 for metallic paint, $2,500 for the Napa leather, $1,000 for 21-inch AMG multispoke wheels, $1,500 for the panoramic roof, and $1,290 for a parking assist package. AMG has $995 in destination charges. The bottom line is $83,650 – yes, that’s a lot, but this is a lot of car.
I was sad I only had it for a week. It has so much power, but I had so little time.