Mercedes has made a lot of news lately with the launch of its various all-electric models, including the EQC and EQS. However, the German automaker isn’t ready to abandon its traditional gas-powered line-up, especially when it comes to high-performance AMG models.
And the 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S is a case in point, the extreme machine making its American debut, With its biturbo V-8, the high-performance SUV will blast past the 60 mph mark in a mere 3.6 seconds.
The broader GLC line went through a makeover for the 2020 model year, getting updates headlamps and taillights, as well as new front and rear fascia giving the crossover a more sporty and aggressive appearance. The changes were even more dramatic inside, with a new, 10.25-inch infotainment screen and an optional, 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.
Getting the AMG touch
Of course, AMG models feature plenty of distinctive touches, and the 2022 GLC 63 S model is no exception.
The exterior features new high-performance LED head and taillamps, as well as 20-inch AMG designed wheels. The 63 S can be ordered with an AMG Aerodynamics Package, custom fiber trim and other features.
Inside, there’s an AMG-specific steering wheel and unique controls. The top-trim crossover comes with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster as standard gear, as well as the voice assistant-style MBUX infotainment system. In the GLC 63 S, it adds AMG-specifics functions and displays.
There’s also an augmented reality upgrade to the navigation system that makes it easier to find your turns. AMG Performance Seats and a night vision package are among the various options.
It’s all about the engine, of course
The S model shares the same, biturbo 4.0-liter V-8 as in the Mercedes-AMG S 63 previously added to the U.S. line-up. But it bumps horsepower up from 469 to 503, while torque jumps from 479 to 516 pound-feet. The AMG models are the only entries in the segment still using a V-8.
Power is directed through an AMG-customized Speedshift MCT 9-speed transmission and then sent to all four wheels, with the 4Matic system favoring the back wheels under normal traction conditions.
The S package will hit 60 in an estimated 3.6 seconds, about 0.2 seconds faster than the standard GLC 63, and 1.1 seconds quicker than the 2022 AMG GLC 43. Top speed for the S is an electronically limited 174 mph. The GLC 63 S has been around in Europe since 2018 and was certified as the fastest SUV to run the North Loop of the Nurburgring at that time, putting in a certified lap time of 7:49.369.
Adding a little extra
To give drivers an even sportier feel, the GLC 63 S uses the AMG Performance Exhaust system with adjustable flap.
There are, of course, all the expected high-tech performance systems, including the AMG Ride Control+ air suspension, and AMG Dynamic Select drive modes.
The 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S is set to reach U.S. showrooms in the fourth quarter. Mercedes hasn’t released pricing yet but the “base” GLC 63 model starts at $73,900 before adding destination fees and taxes.
A short run and more competition — from inside
The SUV may have a short run, at least the current version. An all-new GLC is expected to debut for the 2023 model year.
Mercedes says it’s not ready to walk away from the internal combustion engine. Perhaps, but ICE models like the GLC are going to get plenty of internal competition as the German automaker rolls out more battery-electric models, such as the new EQB, EQC and the EQS, the latter serving as the all-electric alternative to the flagship S-Class sedan.
And even AMG is getting into the game. The performance brand has promised to start rolling out its own battery-electric packages over the next several years. There already are AMG styling packages for models like the EQA and EQC, but the automaker’s R&D chief Markus Schafer said in January that upgraded performance packages are now under development. That will include both plug-in hybrids as well as all-electric versions.