This is the brand new Mercedes-AMG GLC 63. You might be hard-pushed to spot anything’s changed, such is the subtlety of its update, but that’s fine by us; an impromptu straw-poll at TG Towers suggests this is the most likeable performance SUV on sale.
You might cynically suggest that’s faint praise, but in a world of Alfa Stelvio Quadrifoglios and Porsche Macans, it’s a genuine honour. And largely thanks to the one thing Mercedes has wisely left alone: it’s stonking 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, which comes with the choice of 469bhp and 503bhp tunes, the latter allowing 0-62mph in a joyously irrelevant 3.8secs.
Both operate through all four wheels, and while there’s no drift mode fitted here (a la Mercedes-AMG E63) it’s a pretty rear-biased 4WD system if you’re really hoofing it. Especially now the GLC 63 comes with the same ‘AMG Dynamics’ system as the C63, which essentially works like computer game difficulty levels, tweaking the electronic safety systems and rear differential – and the way they talk to each other – depending on how hardcore you like your driving.
It works wonderfully in practice and should only serve to make the hot rod-ish GLC 63 even more of a guilty pleasure among driving nerds like us. And if you’re feeling especially nerdy, then relish the fact this is the fastest SUV around the Nürburgring (at time of writing, of course); its 7m49.369s lap time might be whupped by 300bhp hot hatchbacks, but it beats that Alfa by two seconds and gets teasingly close to an E63 wagon.
Other new bits for the GLC 63’s facelift – which are also applied to the Coupe version, too – include Merc’s latest voice and gesture-activated media system and tweaked taillights with a bolder pattern, all the better for onlookers to spot as it punches through the outside-lane air with indecent force.
There’s also, believe it or not, trailer assist. If anyone reading this uses a V8 AMG as your tow car, you’re our hero. And manoeuvring is just about to get a little easier for you.