Mercedes-AMG juiced up the standard GLC-class to create the 2021 GLC43 and GLC63 performance SUVs, and the results speak for themselves. Unlike the Benz model, available only with a turbocharged four-cylinder, the AMG athletes come with either a 385-hp twin-turbocharged V-6 (GLC43) or a 469-hp twin-turbo V-8 (GLC63). Both offer blistering acceleration and sharper handling than the standard model. Despite their performance potential, each retains the GLC-class’s refinement and sports an upscale interior with all sorts of modern technology and luxury features. Rival SUVs with similar price tags may be slightly more practical or a bit more subtle, but the AMG GLC-class SUVs offer everything a driving enthusiast dreams about.
What’s New for 2021?
Only a few changes have been made to the GLC43 and GLC63 for 2021. All models now come with front and rear parking sensors, and the GLC63 receives a 360-degree exterior camera system. Cirrus Silver joins the palette of colors.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We think the GLC43 offers enough power and features to satisfy most buyers interested in this crossover. It rides on 20-inch five-spoke wheels and comes with exterior features such as automatic projector-beam LED headlights, a power liftgate, roof-rack rails, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and heated power-folding sideview mirrors with integrated turn signals. Those perched in the first row are ensconced in heated power-adjustable front seats. A power-adjustable steering column with memory settings is standard, as well as keyless entry and push-button ignition, dual-zone air conditioning, faux leather upholstery, and a display screen measuring 10.25 inches. There are also some useful standard driver-assistance features on board, such as blind-spot monitoring and automated emergency braking.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Those who choose the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 get a crossover powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6. This engine generates 385 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque, and it’s teamed with a sport-tuned adaptive suspension. Stepping up to the GLC63 gets you a more potent powerplant: a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 good for 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. With both the GLC43 and GLC63, a nine-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels. Even before 2020’s slight horsepower boost, the GLC43 was one of the quickest models in its class. In our track testing, a GLC43 with the then-362-hp engine made the sprint from zero to 60 mph in a crisp 4.3 seconds. That’s quicker than the time logged by rivals such as the Audi SQ5, which completed the run in 5.1 seconds, and the Porsche Macan S, which went the distance in 4.7 seconds. The pre-boost GLC63 needed just 3.6 seconds to race from a standstill to 60 mph. Both the GLC43 and GLC63 deliver keen driving dynamics and precise steering, and they come with drive-mode settings that allow you to customize performance. However, overall handling is a bit less genteel than is the case with the typical Mercedes vehicle.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 achieves fuel economy of 18/24 mpg city/highway, according to EPA estimates. That’s a shade better than the mileage you can expect with the Audi SQ5 (18/23 mpg). With the GLC63, EPA-rated mileage comes in at 16/22 mpg. We observed fuel economy of 22 mpg during 200 miles of highway driving at a steady 75 mph.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Though not quite as current as cabins seen in the E-class and S-class, the interior design on display in the GLC43 and GLC63 is modern and attractive. A floating touchscreen hovers above the center stack, giving the cabin a modern look. One drawback is that at high speed, a fair amount of tire noise makes its way into the interior. It’s easy to get comfortable within the cabin, and the rear seats provide lots of legroom. Both models have 17.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. That’s a lot less than you’ll get with the Audi SQ5, which offers 25.1 cubic feet of room for your belongings with all seats in place.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The GLC43 comes standard with a six-speaker sound system and SiriusXM satellite radio. Bluetooth phone connectivity allows you to make and receive calls without taking your hands off the wheel, and Bluetooth music streaming is also standard. All models come with Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX infotainment system, and it’s controlled by a 10.3-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone capability are standard for easy device integration. The list of options includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a wireless device charger.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Neither the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 nor the GLC63 has received an overall crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). For what it’s worth, IIHS has given the Benz-branded GLC-class SUV the highest possible score of Good in all crashworthiness measures and named it a Top Safety Pick. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mercedes offers warranty protection that’s on par with the coverage offered by rivals such as BMW and Audi. However, Jaguar provides longer coverage.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
More Features and Specs