Just when you thought the performance V8 era was over, Mercedes-AMG finds yet another placement for their 4.0-litre slammer.
THE school run Grand Prix has a new pole-setter, with the most popular SUV in the Mercedes Benz lineup arriving in hugely potent format.
Just over a year on from its international debut, the GLC 63 S 4Matic is now available to Kiwis in the line’s familiar SUV and SUV coupe body styles, for $184,900 and $189,900 respectively.
Those are the stiffest stickers yet, by some margin, attached to the medium C-Class derived crossover, but if the prices seem gulp-worthy then so too do the performance claims.
Benz here is quick to point out that these are the only vehicles in their segment equipped with a biturbo V8 engine, with outputs of 375kW (5500 to 6250rpm) and 700Nm (1750 to 4500rpm) propelling each from zero to 100kmh in just 3.8 seconds, a figure to rival many sports cars.
Too much shunt for a street-prioritised SUV? Mercedes-Benz Cars New Zealand general manager Ben Giffin begs to disagree.
He reckons models presenting sports car-like acceleration and handling are destined to have strong appeal.
“Kiwi’s absolutely love their performance cars, and we see that in the success of the Mercedes-AMG products across the range.
“With the SUV segment continuing to grow, we expect these models with their raw performance, practicality and that incredible exhaust note to really resonate in the market,” he said in comment sent out by the brand.
“The launch of this performance SUV comes with much anticipation. The Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S has incredible presence, and supercar like performance to back it up.”
This is the second AMG-involved version of the model, following on from the GLC 43, which shoehorned a twin-turbocharged V6 engine under the bonnet.
While the 43 is a rapid machine, the GLC 63 S is something else again, as evidenced by it being imbued with a significantly more aggressive stance than its donor wagon.
It’s the first Mercedes vehicle outside of the AMG GT line-up to receive the snarling Panamericana grille. This clearly differentiates it from the rest of the SUV pack and gives instant recognition as an AMG.
Further exterior design changes include wide fenders and front splitter delivering a more dynamic stance. Black forged or light alloy wheels finish off the kerbside view.
Interior enhancements run to sports front seats, a sports steering wheel finished in Dinamico (like Alcantara) and the typical future-forward Mercedes cabin finished in leather.
The GLC 63 is 200kgs heavier that the standard 2.0-litre petrol GLC at a kerb weight of 1935kgs. The Coupé version is 10kgs more.
In addition to the V8 engine, the chassis borrows extensively from the AMG parts bin.
The 4MATIC Plus variable all-wheel drive system and nine-speed automatic transmission are both inherited from the E 63 4MATIC Plus as is the multi-link rear axle set up which is intended to improve wheel control and increased stiffness.
An electronically controlled limited slip differential is said by Mercedes to contribute to improve traction.
The model has a sports exhaust that enables plenty of downshift pop-crackle-bang theatre, but unlike other performance exhaust systems that are ‘always on’, Mercedes-AMG offers respite as the exhaust flaps can be closed to reduce the noise delivering a more sedate experience at the touch of a button.
Like all Mercedes-AMG models, the variant has variable drive modes including comfort, sport, sport plus and track modes that change configuration of the air suspension, steering, engine mapping and the exhaust note.