A long time ago, around 5 years BC (Before COVID-19) and earlier, I loved getting supercars to road test and review. It didn’t matter that I was limited to driving them on public streets, where only a shadow of their performance capabilities could be experienced. These cars are ideally tested on racetracks, but I’m out of my league there, a danger to myself, others, and the car itself.
Driving supercars within the confines of public streets and highways is still wonderfully enjoyable because of the ego boost and attention they generate, especially when you’re in something brand new and rare. I’m thinking of the week I had the Nissan GT-R, which had just been introduced in the United States. At the time there was only one other GT-R on the entire West Coast, in Los Angeles. I was driving on I-5 and a guy in a Lamborghini came up alongside the car and gave ME the thumbs-up.
It’s different now. Here in the county where the first confirmed case of the new coronavirus in the United States occurred, the show-offy gratification I used to get from driving a supercar has sped off.
Snohomish County case numbers are surging again. We’re not meeting goals for overall hospital-bed occupancy, or the rate of COVID testing, or the percentage of people testing positive. We’re still in Phase 2 of Washington’s four-phase reopening plan. Many people are out work or have a business they fear they might lose.
In this environment, me driving an extravagant car with a snooty attitude would not be a good way to read the room.
Which leads us to the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Coupe. Starting price: $85,095. Optional equipment: $11,330 including $2,250 for 21-inch wheels (a new option this year). Price as driven: $96,425. Engine: 4.0-liter V8 Biturbo making 503 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Transmission: nine-speed AMG automatic. Mobility: zero to 60 in 3.6 seconds. Fuel economy rating: 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, 18 mpg combined.
The Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 Coupe is an offshoot of the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV. The coupe’s S version is the even higher high-performance variant, topping the base model’s output by 34 horsepower. It is steeped in automotive technology of every kind, managing power, handling, comfort, communications, audio, convenience, and design.
New S Coupe features for 2020 in addition to the 21-inch wheels include headlamp and tail lamp redesigns, trapezoidal twin tailpipe trims, an AMG steering wheel with touch control buttons, new AMG Dynamics handling modes, and the brand’s MBUX infotainment system with a 10.25-inch touchscreen display and voice control.
Driving with the brute force of the V8 is like walking a young and untrained 150-pound dog on a leash with snowshoe hares scurrying across the road. The way the animal strains, the engine just wants to GO.
The GLC 63 S Coupe endeared itself to me in a way completely unrelated to power, performance, or luxury. I was parked in a store’s curbside pickup area on a hot day, waiting too long for someone to come out with my stuff, feeling crabby and defeated by everything. Out of the blue, a female voice said “How may I help you?” It was the car’s MBUX assistant. I lowered my defeated head, sighed, and softly replied, mostly to myself, “You could make covid go away.” She responded with something. But I didn’t catch what she said.
2020 MERCEDES-AMG GLC 63 S COUPE
Base price, including destination charge: $85,095
Price as driven: $96,425
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.