2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC63: A Twin-Turbo V8 for the Compact Crowd

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Mercedes-Benz’s AMG sub-brand might run out of sensible products to turn into rip-snorting powerwagons before too long.

Once again, the compact GLC SUV lineup has gone under the knife, emerging from the German operating room with an even darker persona and plenty of new inches where it counts. Cubic inches, of course. For the growing family with a small garage and an urgent desire to reach 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds, your chariot has arrived.

Mercedes-Benz plans to introduce the GLC63 line at the New York International Show, though it dished out details today.

For 2018, the GLC lineup — SUV, infuriatingly named Coupe, and the curvy four-door’s S variant — gains a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, an AMG prefix and 63 suffix. That, and plenty of gear designed to keep these rigs out of the rhubarb.

Keep in mind that the automaker already offers a Mercedes-AMG GLC43 with a biturbo V6 making 362 hp. Not nearly enough, said Benz. After this latest surgery, the GLC63 SUV and Coupe make 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, with the GLC63 S Coupe endowed with an eye-popping 503 hp and 516 lb-ft.

Remember when the old GLK was a sensible, upright little grocery getter? Times change.

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The reason Mercedes-AMG is able to shoehorn so much power into modestly sized vehicles is all due to the location of the V8’s turbochargers. Those breathing aids sit between the engine’s cylinder banks, making for a compact package. Thanks to this, the automaker claims the lesser GLC63’s will sprint to 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds. With more power on tap, the GLC63 S Coupe should do the run in 3.7 seconds.

Let’s make this clear: this five-passenger compact SUV is as quick as a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with a stick shift.

You won’t be rowing through any gears here, however. Each variant borrows the AMG Speedshift MCT nine-speed transmission from the E63 S sedan — a unique gearbox that drops its torque converter in favor of multiple, separately controlled clutches. The automaker promises lightning-fast shift and response times.

Each GLC63 channels those ponies to both axles via a Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system, which allows maximum variability in front-rear torque distribution. Drivers can tailor their ride by selecting from four drive modes, each of which conjures a new personality from the engine, transmission, suspension, steering and all-wheel drive system. The “Individual” setting allows to to craft your own driving experience. It’s a relationship, remember.

Both Coupe models gain an additional “Race” drive mode, and you know what that’s for. (Hint: not for driving your mother-in-law, unless you have something nefarious planned.)

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AMG plans to debut its new three-chamber air suspension system on the trio. The versatile setup allows drivers to select just how soft or firm they’d like the vehicle’s legs to be. Should you find yourself in trouble — maybe your enthusiasm pushed the vehicle out of its comfort zone (not to mention your mother-in-law’s), the spring rate hardens to its maximum stiffness. The same occurs during hard launches or braking, evening out the ship and contributing to a more composed ride.

While the GLC63 SUV and Coupe see 19-inch wheels all around, the S Coupe gets 20-inchers and an electronic rear-axle limited-slip differential in place of the mechanical unit. 21-inch wheels are optional, as is a performance exhaust with flap control — perfect for emitting a new V8 symphony every day of the week. All models see two-mode, electromechanical sports steering.

Lower side sills and a unique front fascia round out the obvious exterior design tweaks.

Mercedes-Benz hasn’t announced what price you’ll pay for all of these go-fast bits, but there could be more information available during the auto show. The GLC63 lineup becomes available to U.S. customers in early 2018.

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