It’s was a rainy autumn day at the glorious Stuttgart airport, and for roughly an hour or so, I was all set to drive a brand new Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S Coupe in Diamond White, powered by a twin-turbo V8 packing a “massive” 503 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. It’s pretty much the same engine as in the AMG GT S sports car, minus a few horses and the dry sump lubrication. No wonder why they don’t call it a Mercedes-Benz. It’s an AMG, which becomes absolutely clear after one peek at its carbon fiber rear wing.
The traditional SUV does not have the wing. If you opt for that body style in America, there is no S model available. That leaves you with an almost pathetic 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. Would that be enough against a Porsche Macan Turbo at the lights? Perhaps. But it’s best to be sure you’ll win. Going for the Coupe with 503 horses, the reduced rear space, and the wing that sends out a clear message to all those Porsche folks: it’s not all about the downforce.
What makes the GLC63 S Coupe a “compact” SUV is beyond me. It’s certainly wider than the sedan or the wagon. Yet to be fair, if all-wheel drive is a must for you, the GLC has the upper hand, since the current generation C63 wagon is rear-wheel drive only. The GLC also comes with the new 9-speed automatic instead of the 7-speed, which is only an option for the C43, not the the C63.
If you want the most powerful V8 with all-wheel drive and the 9-speed, Mercedes would like to ask you to contribute to their SUV success story by buying the one with the least utility. There’s a lot to celebrate, since the company has never sold this many cars before, and the GLC is the main growth driver. And to make sure yours looks special parked by all the rest, you’ll really need the S badge and the wing.