The GLS 63 heads an increasingly long line-up of go-fast SUVs from Mercedes-AMG.
What is it?
The AMG GLS 63 features the latest version of the twin-turbo 4.0-liter petrol engine of Mercedes’ performance car division. The sonorous V8 is mated to a 48V mild-hybrid system that enables electric boosting for an extra dose of performance and greater efficiency.
Driving through AMG’s nine-speed automatic gearbox and a fully variable 4Matic+ four-wheel drive system, the combustion engine kicks out a nominal 603bhp at 5750rpm. A further 22bhp from the electric motor, which also acts as an alternator to harvest kinetic energy, ultimately gives the GLS 63 a combined 625bhp. That’s 48bhp more than the now-discontinued 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 engine found in the old GL 63.
Torque at 626lb ft ranges from 2250 rpm to 5000 rpm. Thanks to the additional 184lb ft motor, it can be increased to 810lb ft in a short time of acceleration.
0-62mph time is 4.2 seconds and the maximum nominal speed is 155mph. The optional Driver’s package causes this to be upgraded to 174mph. In addition, this package also adds upgraded tires to the mix.
GLS 63 is offered with a range of fuel-saving features. Coast function makes the engine idle in energy saving and brake mode, in order to provide GLS 63 2555kg with reliable fuel consumption and emissions data.
Chassis upgrades over the standard GLS are focused on the speed-sensitive electro-mechanical steering, adaptive air suspension and brakes, which use 400mm steel discs in combination with six-piston calipers up front and 370mm rear steel discs with single-piston floating calipers at the rear.
Driving modes available on the AMG Dynamic include Comfort, Sport, Sport + and the familiar Personal. Choose Trail or Sand and ground clearance is raised by 55mm and the engine and chassis settings are adapted for off-road driving.
The modified exterior design of the car is a Panamericana-style grille, newly designed front bumper with clearer splitting elements. Standard-fit LED headlights, flared wheel arches, a larger diffuser and twin chrome tailpipes complete the more aggressive look.
What’s it like?
The GLS 63 is capable of breaking out with a sporty mark and then continues to reach such high speed with all the potential of a purebred sports car.
The new AMG has outstanding performance thanks to its deep torque reserve, enhanced by the integrated electric motor. It is omnipresent at anything above 1500rpm and propels the big SUV along with the sort of effortlessness matched by only the best of its rivals.
When you wind back the pace and choose the Comfort drive mode, the GLS 63 becomes a capable long-distance cruiser.
In Sport and Sport + modes, the air springs also automatically reduce ride height up to 20 mm. In the comfort mode, it also helps to reduce 10 mm.
Active engine mounts help to control load forces, stiffening through corners to provide a firmer base for the GLS 63’s mighty powerplant. Electronically actuated active roll bars firm up to counter roll as lateral forces increase, then loosen to help keep the ride pliable at the straight-ahead.
On winding roads, the car is quite nimble. Accuracy and control is undoubtedly a big step forward on the old GLS 63 and is attractive enough to be described as entertaining.
The cabin still receives AMG-specific equipment. Twelve 12.3in screens, working in conjunction with the latest MBUX user interface system of the German automaker. The space is spacious with three rows of seats, with luggage compartment 355 liters, or five people in two rows and 890 liter cargo area.
Should I buy one?
With a length and width quite large, it is not suitable in the UK. However, with the North American market, it has a certain position.
- Price £135,000 (estimated) On sale May
- Engine V8, 3982cc, turbocharged, petrol with electric motor
- Power 603bhp at 5750rpm (petrol), plus 22bhp (electric)
- Torque 626lb ft at 2250rpm (petrol), plus 184lb ft (electric)
- Gearbox 9-spd automatic
- Kerb weight 2555kg
- Top speed 174mph (with Driver’s Package) 0-62mph 4.2sec
- Fuel economy 23.7mpg
- CO2 273g/km