2014 Mercedes GL63 AMG Review
Car Tested: 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 2,15,05,500/-
The GL63 AMG is the result of luxury and practicality meeting speed and performance.
SUVs are all about feeling powerful, as the macho appeal and the intimating dimensions do signal to other road users that you are the king of the road. But what is the point of being the king when you don’t really have power. SUV owners have always lived with a compromise, that of average performance and lacklustre dynamics. This is certainly true, until of course the good people at AMG come along and do all sorts of crazy things. Enter the Mercedes GL63 AMG, a full-sized, 7-seater SUV which has the ammo under its belly to fire off almost everything on the road, and even off it. We get behind the wheel of the GL63 AMG which happens to be the most powerful SUV on sale in India.
Exteriors – The GL-Class is one huge vehicle and feels almost tank like in traffic, where other cars feel like ants in comparison. The huge dimensions aside, there is little to tell the GL63 AMG from the regular GL-Class as both look quite similar. The GL63 AMG has the AMG bodykit which does tell it apart but it’s really the quad exhausts at the rear which immediately make people sit up and take notice. This ain’t a regular GL, this one has a beast of a motor under its belly, which the ‘V8 BITURBO’ badges near the front wheels easily reveal. The rear carries the AMG badging and if you look closely, you will also notice the massive 21-inch wheels wrapped around super wide 295 mm tyres. So in essence, the GL63 AMG does little to signify it carries a 5.5-litre behemoth in its arsenal.
Interiors – On the inside, you get a familiar GL dashboard but this one gets a lot of tweaks for that sporty appeal. It’s finished in black and gets silver inserts (even on the instrument cluster). The steering is an AMG unit with perforated leather grips and a flat bottom. The paddles are made of aluminium while AMG logo and menu is also incorporated in the infotainment system. The GL63 AMG also gets two 20.3 cm displays, placed right behind the front seat headrests, working in sync with wireless headphones and infrared remotes. Audio quality sees further improvement with the Harman Kardon surround sound system which has 14 speakers. The vehicle also gets Night View Assist Plus system which uses an infrared headlamp and camera to detect pedestrians in the dark.
The Mercedes GL63 AMG also gets the Designo Exclusive package which comprises of AMG sport seats finished in Designo leather. The same high grade soft leather is also used on the dashboard, door panels, arm rest and centre console. Even the Velour floor mats get the Designo treatment and the Designo badges are placed across the interiors on the seats and mats. The car also gets AMG sports pedals finished in brushed stainless steel with rubber studs. Space inside the cabin is in plenty and what makes the interiors such a special place to be in is the high feel of luxury and ease of folding seats with a one touch of a button, which boosts practicality tremendously. Even the boot is huge and the interiors of the GL63 AMG have a fantastic blend of luxury and sportiness.
Performance – The Mercedes GL63 AMG weighs a hefty 2600 kgs plus and hauling all that weight around spiritedly is a 5451cc, V8 engine which uses twin turbochargers. The output is a massive 557 PS between 5250 – 5750 RPM while 760 Nm of torque is produced from as low as 2000 RPM, all the way up to 5000 RPM. Mercedes-Benz claims the GL63 AMG does the 0-100 km/hr sprint in 4.9 seconds while the top speed is limited to 250 km/hr. Now these are impressive numbers for a 7-seater SUV which can carry your whole family (and their luggage) in utmost comfort and luxury. There are three modes – Comfort, Sport and Sport+, each altering the ferocity of the motor and gearshifts.
The 8-cylinder mill is very refined and has good pep low down for city duties. It starts with a rumble but the cabin is so well insulated that you can only hear the typical AMG buuuuurrrrr when on full pelt. Performance is pure savage and every time you floor the pedal, the GL63 AMG accelerates like a big fat cheetah with an aim to kill a prey. Once past 3500 RPM, the GL63 comes into its own, gathering terrific pace in no time. 200 km/hr is almost always in sight post which progress is a bit tame. You can manually shift gears (without any intervention from the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission), it even blips on downshift. 100 km/hr comes up in third gear with the redline showing up at an early 6400 RPM. The performance SUV returns a mileage of 3-4 km/l.
Driving Dynamics – All that weight is definitely going to bog down the dynamics and AMG has tried to reduce it by using a lighter all-wheel drive system. Still the GL63 weighs quite a lot and in spite of that, the handling is fantastic. The SUV doesn’t feel all of its 2.6 tonnes and is quite nimble, despite the gigantic size. The steering has a lovely feel and is feedback rich, giving you immense confidence to push the car around corners. It isn’t the sharpest but considering the body style, it sure is a well tuned wheel. Turn off the traction control system and try to corner hard, it won’t hang its tail out as the electronics will kick in to prevent oversteer. While driving, you can see the vents on the hood right in your sight, they appear more like claws, which goes well with the beastly character of the GL63 AMG.
In spite of being tuned for sharp handling and terrific road holding, the GL63 AMG rides surprising well, thanks to the AMG RIDE CONTROL (which sports an AIRMATIC suspension). For our road conditions, the Comfort mode is the best bet and that really keeps the vehicle at ease on our far from perfect tarmac. You do have to be careful on big bumps as the car runs on really low 40 profile rubber. Body roll is very well contained, the Active Roll bars (employed by the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM) helping to quite an extent to keep the vehicle planted when you try to swing the GL through the twisted stuff in the valleys. The brakes offer excellent stopping power too which is expected considering the velocity it gathers in quick time.
Verdict – The Mercedes GL63 AMG isn’t your typical SUV. While it ticks all the right notes for an SUV buyer, it goes ahead and gives you much more than you would ever want. This is one vehicle which is not only practical but a whole lot of fun too. It has some serious power to keep you grinning all day long, while the dynamics are well sorted too, a feat indeed for a machine of this size. Factor in the luxury and usability on a day to day basis and the Mercedes GL63 AMG immediately comes out as a performance SUV for those who don’t compromise at all.
The Mercedes GL63 AMG packs some serious punch and has the power to give you the feel of performance motoring. Add to that, it’s also very practical and can carry seven people in total comfort.
* V8 engine performance
* Interior comfort and luxury
* Ride and handling balance
What’s Not So Cool
* Fuel economy
Alternatives: Range Rover Sport 5.0 V8
Further Reading: Mercedes GL-Class Review