Signs of the times are now catching on at Mercedes, as many manufactures have pushed to make more SUVs than cars, with some even stopping production of cars to focus on SUVs and trucks only. Last year, the GLC 63 became the best-selling product here stateside, just edging out the now infamous C-Class sedan.
With that little tidbit in mind, the engineers at Mercedes injected a dose of AMG into what was by their own numbers a very popular SUV. What does that mean to the general public? Well, we found the updated SUV to be one of the most spirited SUVs we have driven.
Considering that the AMG version now holds a 4.0-liter twin turbo power plant under the hood that produces a very nice 469 horsepower with 479 lb.-ft. of torque, that adds up to a whole lot of fun and power that now resides in a smaller SUV.
To put this into perspective, the GLC is basically the same size as a Nissan Rogue and only weighs 790 pounds more. The Rogue comes with a 170 horsepower engine. Adding almost 300 ponies to move those 790 additional pounds made for a very exhilarating driving experience!
Each engine is handcrafted by one person in Affalterbach; this is a general AMG rule “one man – one engine” principle. This same engine is found in other AMG models and is unique in that the two turbo chargers are positioned on the inside of the cylinder “V”. This allows for a much more compact engine that will fit in the tight space allotted up front.
Of course, this unique V8 engine came with an exhaust system that would keep anyone smiling every time they drove the GLC. It has an adjustable flap technology that is controlled by a map and operates differently, according to the AMG dynamic select program, and also takes into account the power demanded by the driver.
With all that in mind, the SUV would give off the most awesome sound when shifting and would only get better by choosing Sport, Sport+ or Race mode. It could also be changed via an individual setup by the driver, according to his or her preferences.
All this power was put through to the wheels via an AMG Speedshift MCT nine-speed transmission, which would do as much to enhance the driving experience as any other part of the SUV. It would optimize itself to pedal commands, be it increasing or decreasing in speed.
In manual mode that could be selected by hitting a separate button in the center console, the transmission would put the driver in total control to use the included paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Even better, the engine would not automatically shift up or down in manual, even when the engine reached its limit.
The GLC comes standard with 20-inch wheels, which were huge for this size of an SUV but kept the “Ute” very well planted at all times. All this great technology-driven power train would sprint the AMG from 0 to 60 in a mere 3.8 seconds. In perspective, again, a couple of decades ago this was super car territory.
Of course, this kind of speed and technology comes with a price that starts at just over $70,000, somewhat more than that of a Nissan Rogue. However, the engineering, design and craftsmanship are second to none in a Mercedes. There are not many vehicles out there where one can get the name of the person that put the engine together. Also not for the faint of heart, we managed only 18 mpg for our week with the AMG, and it runs on premium fuel.
New this year to the exterior of the GLC were headlamp designs both front and rear that really made the vehicle something special at night, with almost an evil eye look to it. There were also new tailpipe trims that were trapezoidal in design.
Inside is where things have really changed, with the GLC getting the full suite of MBUX infotainment that included a 12.3-inch instrument cluster on the left that seamlessly slides to a 10.25-inch touchscreen display on the right. The instrument cluster can be configured in three different ways “Classic,” “Sport” or “Supersport,” with the later offering some great track information.
Both screen can be controlled via small touchpads on the steering wheel, which take some getting used to but work quite well in navigating menus and other pertinent information. We found them much easier to use than a control wheel or touchpad on the center console, and they allowed us to keep our hands on the wheel at all times.
The inside of the Mercedes is loaded with luxury. Leather seats are standard and included some beautiful colored inserts. They were also performance seats with great side bolster and backrests.
By simply saying, “Hey Mercedes” an assistant would ask what we wanted, be it from changing the radio station to setting a navigation point it was awesome. This worked just like asking Siri or Alexa for things.
The LED accent lights inside the Mercedes could be changed to any color imaginable, and really should have been called mood lights because they could set the mood for the drive and were our favorite part of being in the GLC at night. Having a color mixing pallet with endless choices was just too much fun to play with, kind of like having a new grown up toy at our beckon call.
The new 2020 AMG GLC leads the way in luxury SUV’s and would look great in any driveway.
Base Price $73,750
Price as Driven $83,655