A C63 estate, saloon, jeep, pumped up a little, with 4wd. What could possibly go wrong?
Those who have read any of my other reviews will know that I have a bit of a sweet/sour spot for Mercedes all singing all dancing 4.0 bi-turbo V8. Don't get me wrong, its an awesome engine engine, but definitely had lost something in the shadow of the mighty fire-breathing 6.2 litre V8 of yesterday. However, at the same time, I have nothing but love for the C63 in general, and still believe that this is one of the best all rounders alive! So when I heard the C63 was getting a big brother, the even mightier 'GLC' 63, I was literally drooling with excitement. This would be essentially the perfect mix. A C63 floor plan, the sweet/sour 4.0 Bi-Turbo that lives in the heart of many of the grown up AMG range, estate like practicality, and... wait for it, 4 wheel drive! 4..wheel...drive. No more drifting in the rain when leaving my driveway (I am sure any C63 driver can attest). What could possibly go wrong? I wanted one!
BUT, the first sign of all not being well in Narnia, was when I test drove a GLC 43 AMG (see my other review) and was quite underwhelmed. It was just not the thing that the C63 had been designed to be. Yes I take the point that it was actually a different car, but at the same time, if you put coke from a can into a glass, you kinda still expect to drink coke, right?
Back to the GLC 63 AMG. I am now about to change my TTS daily drive (which is a great car for what it is and does). I have a local dealership in London who had what looked like, the perfect GLC 63 for my next car. A black car, with 21" black alloys and a pretty high spec on the inside. So far so good. So I went to test drive the car. As a quick side note, I was quite surprised when they handed me the keys and said "here you go, take the car out, see what you think and when you come back we can talk, we are not allowed to come with you....". err, thanks you COVID?
So with that I was off.
On the road, the first thing I noticed, and it was exactly the same on the GLC 43 of course, was that I could not for the life of me, find a comfortable driving position. Somewhere between the steering wheel, seat and pedals, there just was not a position that felt right. Legs comfortable meant I was too far from the steering wheel. Arms comfortable, meant I was too close. And all the while something was digging into my back. Tried fiddling with all the lumbar and other supporting controls, but nothing! Weirdly these are the same seats as in my 2017 C63 I had a year or so back. So quite odd. Aside from this the car was pretty much "C Class business as usual".
This was where I ran into another slight kink in the bullet proof armour of the GLC. When I drove the 43 a while back, the drive felt a little numb. I didnt feel connected to the road in the way that I do with the C63 of even the Macan GTS, in which I felt so connected, I might as well have been running 'Flintstones style!' :) It was the same story with the 63. Before I get destroyed by the GLC 63 fan clubs, I have to say that this thing is fast, very fast. 4 wheels driving the car, means that it goes! and goes! and goes! However, from behind the wheel, it felt like the car was going very fast, but I was just watching it happen on the screen in front of my, from my relatively uncomfortable arm chair. I drove for a little while down a variety of roads but never felt that planted feel you get in the C63 or Macan. Very odd indeed. This car was not fitted with the switchable exhaust, which I think makes some difference to the experience, however, not to the driving feel.
At one point on the test drive, I caught myself looking very sad indeed, pondering whether this was it.... After 20 years of nothing but love for the C63 and previous incarnations (from the first C43 onwards), had I finally outgrown the AMG C class formula? and in what should have been the best form considering the 4wd system. A very sad moment indeed! BUT, that was until I test drove the C63 S Coupe on the same day. I will review that in a moment!
Despite everything else I have said about the drive, looks it a very different category. This car looks HOT! REAL HOT!! Black car, with the upgraded black alloys and night pack! Like woah! Every time I see this car on the road, I want one. Mercedes have got this so right in terms of the formula I want in an SUV look. Chunky, mean looking and square with the edges curved. I would have scored this in the high 9's if not for the interior which definitely could be a little more special. This was pretty much the base spec inside. Single tone blac seats, shiny black centre console and silver trimmings. So AWESOME outside and business as usual inside pretty much sums it up here.
Looks aside, I feel like I can safely say that the C63's big brother is not for me. It didn't excite in the way that the Macan GTS did when I test drove that, however, if you have able to get comfortable, and are looking for practical, reasonably sized and very very fast, then this still might be a car worth trying to see for yourself.