First drive of the 2025 Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S: four cylinders and 671 horsepower? We are listening
Step in and wait: AMG has applied the E-performance magic to the GLC63 S.
We know what you’re thinking. When you start with the most powerful four-cylinder engine on the planet, this engine’s 469 horsepower isn’t garbage.
Why bother, right?
Well, maybe that’s not what you think. In fact, the 2025 Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S E Performance is an EV beyond anything you’ve ever seen in an SUV from the brand. We’re talking 671 horsepower and 752 pound-feet of torque from the turbo plug-in hybrid. It’s an amazing level of engineering complexity combined with amazing numbers, but is it always better?
Keeping up with the electric competition is hard work. With all-electric cars taking straight-line acceleration to new heights, AMG must be feeling the pressure to keep its internal combustion offerings within the range. AMG is trying to meet this challenge with an advanced, advanced performance hybrid with the GLC63 S E. We’ve already covered the same powertrain in detailOur review of the 2024 C63 SE’s performanceSo we will review them briefly here:
To take on petrol rivals BMW M and Alfa Romeo (in this case, the 503-hp X3 M and the 505-hp Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV, rather than the powerful BMW M3 sedan or Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio), Mercedes-AMG starts with the GLC43 – a turbocharged 469 horsepower, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and a slim 1.6-inch electric motor sits on the turbocharger shaft. This increases the response of the turbine and is known as electric exhaust gas turbocharging.
However, convincing well-heeled fans that the four-cylinder can do the job it replaced with a V-8 is a difficult task (no non-S model is like it, by the way). This is where the “E Performance” from the GLC63’s elongated name comes into play. The electric motor pumps out 201 horsepower in 10 seconds and 107 horsepower otherwise, which is 13 horsepower more than the C63 sedan. The electric motor is mounted on the rear axle and has its own two-speed gearbox, linked to an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. Combined with the 6.1 kWh battery, this system changes the weight distribution from 55/45 front/rear on the last model to 49/51 here.
Something heavy. Let’s drive
All of these techniques add up. It’s not just the power and torque stats;ImportantIf you haven’t heard about it, it makes 671 hp and 752 lb-ft. The 2025 GLC63 is a heavy-duty beast. US-spec models may weigh more than 5,000 pounds. So, even before you get behind the wheel, you’ll know that these horses have to work harder than BMW and Alfa to motivate this AMG; We have testedThe Alpha reaches 60 mph in 3.3 seconds The 2018 model weighs about 4,300 pounds.
Like the C63, the GLC63’s sound is well suited to a capable AMG model. The engine sound is amplified depending on which drive mode you’re in, and we liked what we heard. It’s not a V-8, but it works.
I’ve heard that your mileage may vary; In the GLC63, your driving experience will vary based on a variety of settings and factors. That’s the truth about the GLC63: you get out of this car what you put into it. This SUV has the vaguely sporty feel of a high-performance SUV in Comfort mode, which can be a real benefit for daily drivers. The first impression is weight, then sportiness.
So turn the drive mode dial to Sport mode.
The mode selector adjusts multiple driving parameters from one mode to another, and that’s the difference you feel (and hear). The more you turn the handle to the right, the more power you get. Press the accelerator pedal firmly, and AMG gives you the full power of the plug-in hybrid for up to 10 seconds.
What doesn’t change from model to model is how much we like the nine-speed multi-clutch automatic transmission. It’s responsive and smooth for a sports car, without causing involuntary head shakes around town like other sports SUVs do. When you’re trying to convince your partner that driving a high-performance SUV on a road trip is a good idea, constantly shaking your head in traffic can ruin the mood.
What’s surprising is the ride quality in Comfort mode. There’s plenty of tire noise, but the GLC63 delivers a comfortable ride for an SUV, thanks in part to the AMG adaptive dampers. The GLC63 remains stable and balanced, with minimal roll and drama in most driving modes and at most normal speeds.
0-60mph: How to turn the GLC into a rocket
The GLC63 is a machine for thinking enthusiasts. The more we think about it, the more we regret the lack of SUV features that we can use safely on winding roads. The GLC63’s performance may have been upgraded, but the methods you use may not.
As we noted in our review of the 2024 C63 Sedan, the higher the limits of any sports car or supercar, the harder it becomes to take advantage of all that technology. This brings us to the GLC63’s Race Start feature, a nifty feature that adds a visual flair to something the car owner is likely to do: start it.
In Sport+ or Race mode, apply the brakes, but not too gently. Then, while keeping your foot on the brake pedal, press the accelerator pedal in the same way. Wait until the instrument cluster flashes red and white, then release the brake.
Your nose turns up a little, and before you know it, you’re singing Affalterbach’s praises. For the average person, even those capable of driving fast on back roads, this is one of the best ways to get to grips with the GLC63’s capabilities. Even if it’s just for a few seconds.
Ironically, one of the simplest pleasures of driving – sudden acceleration – provides the greatest pleasure in one of the most complex high-performance cars on the road today. Trust us, using Match feels faster than patting or taking the same steps without using the teen feature.
Disadvantages of AMG
The race start feature has an asterisk: the GLC63 requires a certain level of charge to work. This is the opposite problem with regenerative braking, as we suspect that only some owners will be interested in using the feature and even fewer will remember how to activate it. Press the drive mode button on the steering wheel and you’ll see the three available levels of regenerative braking, which only works if the battery has somewhere to store that energy.
On the other hand, the race start feature in a hybrid car only works when the battery charge reaches at least a certain level. How about this for the strange times we live in: The GLC63’s acceleration is impressive on both subjective and objective levels. Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph is expected to take just 3.4 seconds.
That’s great, but the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s lap time is 3.3 seconds,BMW X3 M in 4.0 seconds, and the Tesla Model Y’s performance in just 3.5 seconds, but both are less powerful. Then there are fights within the family. The all-electric AMG EQE SUV’s 677 horsepower helps propel it to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, although the GLC63 drives better.
The 42.3-foot turning radius isn’t huge (the GLC300’s is 38.7 feet), but we can accept that’s the trade-off for all this technology. The 16.6-cubic-foot cargo area has a slightly higher cargo floor and is 5.3 cubic feet smaller than the other GLC, which is hard to accommodate for an SUV, even one as performance-focused as this one. At least the back seat is roomy.
What we have no problem with at all is the all-electric range with the GLC63. This SUV is all about performance, not efficiency; Formula 1-derived electrification is great and it’s about getting the most out of the package. So when the EPA finally rates the 2025 GLC63, it’s expected to have a range of about 5 to 7 miles, which should be enough — if not too far from the 20 to 40 miles we’re starting to see in less sporty PHEVs. .
GLC is the most popular. But what is more than that?
Some wine connoisseurs strive to match wine characteristics to their personal preferences, while others dream of the most expensive wines on the list. AMG should satisfy the latter with an internal combustion engine optimized to produce nearly 700 hp. For those in the former category, the GLC63 will certainly be fun, depending on what you want from a high-performance SUV.
The electric AMG EQE is heavier and more complex, which limits its enjoyment, and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is older but still a fun and distinctive SUV. Then there’s a Tesla-sized elephant in the room. We can debate whether or not Tesla is a luxury brand, and here at MotorTrend, we certainly are, but there is alsoThere is no discussion about sports Faster, simpler performance for the Model Y. The interior and level of customization don’t rival a more expensive Mercedes, nor does the styling. So there are some pros and cons.
Enthusiasts will know something special about the GLC63 even before they see the badge. That’s not the case with the Model Y, which has become one of the best-selling cars in the United States, even though it can be fun to drive.
What we’re left with is a Mercedes SUV that’s fast at any speed but needs a boost to get the most fun. If you live near the track, other simpler performance SUVs like a Tesla, Alfa Romeo, or BMW may be more satisfying.