In a model-segment first, Mercedes has somehow managed to shoehorn its ferocious AMG-built 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine under the hood of the GLC, its mid-sized SUV and the result – the GLC 63 S 4Matic+ – is a high-sided family car with 375kW and 700Nm of torque on tap for completing the school run in record time.
“It is no easy job designing an SUV to be highly sporty and dynamic while at the same time offering inherent extreme driving stability,” said Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
However, the company has somehow managed to create a car that’s ready to complete the weekly shopping expedition, a long-distance highway cruise, cope with a rutted field or a pilgrimage to the Nurburgring.
“[It] is an SUV that can be driven with high precision and agility and which, if required, is equally at home on a high-speed lap of the race track,” said Moers.
The overwhelming popularity of the SUV and the crossover is causing some storied brands such as Mercedes and BMW serious headaches. They need to have these types of cars in their model lineups but to do so presents a massive engineering challenge.
How can you transplant a luxury brand’s ethos for luxury performance and handling to a vehicle shape that is not naturally suited to those tenants? The greater a car’s ground clearance, the more unstable it is in the corners (due to its less than ideal elevated center of gravity) and the greater the wind resistance when it has to travel quickly. And then there’s the extra weight, the biggest enemy of performance.
Therefore, whether the sporty SUV in question is a Porsche Macan, a BMW X3M or this fire-breathing 375kW monster, that can cover the 0-100km/h dash in just 3.8-seconds, the resulting vehicle is an engineering marvel even if it’s not to everyone’s vehicular or aesthetic tastes.
Little wonder that Moers says the car was a labor of love. “[It] required us to put our heart and soul, along with our many years of SUV expertise, into the development of this vehicle.”
Even though the car has four separate driving modes so that comfort or ferocity can be fine-tuned and its intelligent permanent all-wheel-drive system can vector torque in milliseconds between front and rear axles for the best possible grip and stability, there may be some potential owners that could still feel a little daunted by a mid-sized SUV with the same punch as a Porsche 911 Turbo, no matter how much they like everything else about the GLC 63 S 4Matic+.
Luckily, Mercedes has thought about that, too. The AMG GLC 63 4Matic+ comes with the same V8 engine, but down-tuned to a more reasonable 350kW. However, it’s still capable of covering the 0-100km/h dash in 4.0-seconds.
For those that want something that has a heightened sporting exterior aesthetic, the car is available in SUV coupé form, too. – AFP Relaxnews