SUVs

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC63 brings refreshed V8 grunt to New York

There's nothing that 469 (or more) horsepower can't solve.

Steven Pham/Roadshow

Some updates can be seen a mile away, well before an automaker makes it official. After we saw the refreshed Mercedes-Benz GLC, we knew it would only be a matter of time before those changes applied to the hotter AMG versions, as well. Now, at the 2019 New York Auto Show, everything's come full circle.

Like the standard GLC, the GLC63 and GLC63 Coupe models receive freshened lighting fixtures front and rear, as well as newly optional 21-inch wheels and reworked trapezoidal exhaust trims. Regardless of whether you go with the more practical GLC or the more slippery-looking AMG Coupe, there are visual changes. An AMG-specific grille and a more aggressive front splitter are visually carried on through enlarged side sills to the rear of the vehicle, where you'll find a unique rear diffuser.

Make what you will of the very idea of a high-performance SUV (let alone one with a "four-door coupe" body style), these crossovers' performance credentials are all but unassailable. Standard GLC63 models get a 4.0-liter biturbo V8 generating 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. If that's not enough power for you, well, first you might want to carefully reconsider. Second, your local Mercedes dealer will happily point to the GLC63 S in either standard or Coupe bodywork. In S trim, power has been bumped out to 479 hp and 516 pound-feet. 

What do those power metrics translate to? Standard models rocket to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, and S trims do the deed in 3.6 seconds. Top speed is let out in the S model, too, to 174 mph, while the base 63 cries uncle at 155 mph. In the model's official press release, Mercedes notes that the GLC63 S lapped Germany's legendarily difficult Nürburgring Nordschleife racetrack in just 7.49.369 minutes, a record for SUVs.

My, what big ... everything you have.

Mercedes-Benz

The biggest change for the 2020 model year doesn't take place under the hood or on the outside -- it's the cabin, which has been overhauled to accommodate the Mercedes-Benz User eXperience (MBUX for short). The new infotainment interface is much more powerful and configurable than the company's outgoing COMAND system. It features a 10.2-inch floating center touchscreen atop the center stack, augmented by a 12.3-inch screen that functions as a gauge cluster. There's also a new, vastly reconfigurable head-up display that's available too. 

MBUX supports Alexa-like voice commands with the simple callout, "Hey, Mercedes," or you can use the touchscreen functions, the gesture-control pad on the center console or a pair of steering-wheel thumbpads. That's a lot of different ways to interact with one system, and while in our experience MBUX takes some getting used to, it's a very powerful and attractive-looking system that allows drivers to choose their preferred interface method.

Other new model-specific updates include a flat-bottomed AMG wheel (S models get AMG Drive Unit controls, too), as well as an added dynamic drive setting, "Slippery," on the mode selector. There's also a newly available upholstery combination: Magma Grey and Black leather with yellow contrast stitching.

Pricing and fuel economy numbers have not yet been revealed for either the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC63 or GLC63 Coupe models, so we don't yet know how well they'll stack up against rivals like the Porsche Macan and Audi SQ5. We'll be able to fill in the blanks as these two SUVs approach their US on-sale date late this year.

Originally published April 16.
Update, April 17: Adds new photos from the show floor.