2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC63 Review: First Impressions

18Mercedes-Benz_GLC63_AS_JB_08.jpg 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC63 | photo by Joe Bruzek

CARS.COM — With the introduction of the 500-plus-horsepower 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S at the 2017 New York International Auto Show, Mercedes is continuing its path to hot-rodding everything by taking massively powerful engines and putting them in places they don’t normally belong, like a wagon and now a compact SUV. The GLC-Class is the former GLK-Class SUV and has a similar place in Mercedes’ SUV lineup as the C-Class does in its sedan lineup.

More 2017 New York Auto Show Coverage

Now that the formalities are out of the way, Mercedes previewed a white GLC63 and matte charcoal GLC63 S coupe Tuesday night before the auto show’s start. There was no mistaking the rowdy crackle of the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 — it’s that raucous V-8 rumble you don’t get with anything fewer than eight cylinders — as it lit up offstage before being corralled in front of the audience. The 4.0-liter makes 469 horsepower in the GLC63 and 503 hp in the GLC63 S. Mercedes says the engine is closely related to the V-8 in its AMG GT sports coupe — good news, everyone. 

18Mercedes-Benz_GLC63_AS_JB_02.jpg 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC63 | photo by Joe Bruzek

The meat of what’s changed on these performance SUVs is best experienced on the race track or a long stretch of closed road. In person, the GLC63 twins have a commanding presence and look as AMG-authentic as anything else with 500-plus hp and an AMG badge.

18Mercedes-Benz_GLC63_AS_JB_13.jpg 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC63 | photo by Joe Bruzek

The GLC63 S coupe wore the finely detailed optional AMG Performance seats with bright contrast stitching and side bolstering with the perfect amount of hug. They’re shaped like the racing seats in the AMG GT and feel just as performance-ready. The GLC63 S coupe also sported the optional AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber Package with the side mirrors and rear spoiler covered in carbon fiber. What would a modern sports car or SUV be without some slathering of carbon fiber?

18Mercedes-Benz_GLC63_AS_JB_04.jpg 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC63 | photo by Joe Bruzek

I think the more pedestrian version of the GLC-Class coupe is a ridiculous SUV (a less functional SUV that costs more), but the GLC63 coupe is where an “SUV coupe” makes the most sense because it doesn’t have to be practical, it can just be fast and frivolous. We’ll have to wait a little longer to put that “fast” to the test when the GLC63 variants go on sale in early 2018.

Latest expert reviews