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2023 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S E Performance and GLC 43 revealed

Affalterbach’s 671bhp hybrid four-cylinder powertrain has made its way into the mid-sized GLC SUV

Following in the footsteps of the controversial hybrid C63, Mercedes-AMG has applied its electrified four-cylinder powertrain to the GLC. Launched alongside the new entry-level GLC 43, the GLC 63 S E Performance boasts the same class-leading output as its C-class relative, with a series of design changes setting it apart from the base car inside and out.

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Like the C63, the new GLC 63 S swaps the 4-litre V8 of its predecessor for Affalterbach’s 2-litre turbocharged M139l four-cylinder, first featured in the A45. While the engine produces 469bhp alone, a 201bhp rear-mounted electric motor helps lift combined output to 671bhp, with torque rated at a ludicrous 752lb ft – compared against its predecessor, the new car boasts an additional 168bhp and 236lb ft of torque. 

> Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance 2023 review

Despite such a substantial increase in output, power-to-weight gain isn’t quite so dramatic, with hybrid’s electrical gubbins increasing weight by 260kg over the previous car. Weighing 2310kg, the new GLC 63 S E Performance manages a 290bhp/ton, 45bhp/ton more than the outgoing version and 27bhp/ton lower than the lighter hybrid C63 saloon. The new hybrid four-pot reaches 62mph three tenths quicker than the previous GLC 63 S with a time of 3.5sec, with a top speed of 171mph.

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Power is sent to all four wheels via a nine-speed transmission, an electronically controlled limited-slip differential and a variable all-wheel drive system, capable of altering torque distribution from 50:50 to 100 per cent rear-wheel drive. The rear-mounted electric motor also features a two-speed transmission to further improve performance, engaging a second ratio at up to 87mph.

Ditching conventional anti-roll bars, AMG’s engineers have integrated 48V active roll control into the chassis, designed to reduce body roll while increasing precision and stability. AMG Ride Control is featured as standard on both the 43 and 63, adding adaptive damping, bespoke steering knuckles and rear-wheel steering with up to 2.5 degrees of movement. As standard, the 63 receives 6-piston, 390mm composite brakes up front, with 370mm discs and single piston floating calipers at the rear. The GLC 43 comes with a 370mm four-pot front and 360mm single-piston rear brake setup.

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The entry-level GLC 43 adopts the same M139l 2-litre four-cylinder as the 63, only with a smaller turbocharger and no plug-in hybrid assistance. Outputs of 415bhp and 367lb ft of torque are sent to all four wheels via the same nine-speed automatic in a fixed 31:69 front to rear split, with an additional 14bhp boost temporarily available thanks to a belt-driven 48V starter-generator – the 0-62mph sprint comes up in 4.8sec with a top speed of 155mph. 

The GLC’s design is familiar, with the same butch stance as the original car, only now with tweaks to the Panamericana grille, intakes and rear bumper for added aggression – the GLC43 receives a new 63-style grille, too. Option the carbonfibre exterior and/or night packages and the GLC’s chrome trim is darkened for a more stealthy look.

Inside, there’s the latest iteration of the Mercedes-Benz MBUX infotainment system, with a vertical central touchscreen lifted straight from the new C-class. There’s plenty of Nappa leather and Microcut microfibre (an Alcantara alternative) as standard in the GLC 63 S, with a flat-bottomed steering wheel also part of the package. AMG Sports pedals, floor mats and illuminated door sills set both models apart from ordinary GLCs, with the AMG Track Pace (standard in the 63, optional in the 43) adding data logging functionality for the track.

Pricing and availability is yet to be announced.

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