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Mercedes-Benz GL 63 AMG


You can get pretty close to the GL 63’s visual impact, luxury and even straight-line speed with other GL variants, but what you can’t get is a vehicle that feels anywhere near as special.

Base price: $235,900.

Powertrain and performance: 5.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V8, 410kW/3760Nm, 7-speed automatic, four-wheel drive, Combined economy 12.3 litres per 100km, 0-100km/h 4.9 seconds.

Vital statistics: 5120mm long, 1800mm high, luggage capacity 680-2300 litres, fuel tank 100 litres, 21-inch alloy wheels.

We like: Incredible performance, surprising refinement, feels special.

We don’t like: Supersized, can be super-thirsty when provoked.

How it rates: 8/10


So much of the talk about AMG has been centered on smaller models lately – including the incredible A 45 super-supermini – it seems appropriate to remind ourselves of what Mercedes-Benz’s official tuning arm has always created: hot rods.

AMG made its name by making large, heavy, V8-powered machines go like thunder. And sound like thunder, too. That’s really what it still specialises in. After all, AMG has only produced two non-V8 models in its 40-year-plus history: the C 36 of the 1990s and the latest A 45/CLS 45 twins.

The GL 63 is still pretty extreme even by historical AMG standards: based on Mercedes-Benz’s largest (seven-seat) SUV model, but with a thumping twin-turbo V8 engine and all the AMG styling and trim accoutrements you would expect. Hold on tight.


Not nearly as terrifying as the specifications might suggest. Not terrifying at all, in fact.

The straight-line acceleration is awesome: 0-100km/h in under five seconds, which certainly puts this 2.6-tonne wagon in very serious performance-car territory.

But despite the fierce acceleration, the GL 63 is not intimidating at all. It’s deliberately loud at startup and when your floor the throttle, but in the mid-range it’s remarkably quiet – more so than some other AMG product in fact. The special AMG-calibrated Speedshift automatic transmission is smooth at low speed but capable of some cracking cog-swapping activity when required.

Handling? It has some. In fact, there’s loads of grip from the ridiculously large wheels (21-inch rims you know) but also quite a bit of finesse. You can choose from three different settings for the Airmatic suspension, but the funny thing is that even in the most aggressive setting the ride is remarkably compliant.

The GL 63 is not a car you will be chucking into 35km/h corners, but keep it smooth and you can go very fast indeed thanks to Active Curve Control, which locks the anti-roll bars shut when the vehicle starts to roll in turns. Remarkable.


Providing you can park it, yes. And you probably can, what with its arsenal of parking radar and 360-degree cameras.

Putting the AMG aspect aside, the GL is what it is: a 5.1-metre-long seven-seat family SUV, designed primarily for the American market. It’s massive on Kiwi roads and if you’re not comfortable with that, you could always buy something smaller.

The GL 63 is remarkably restrained inside, although it is laden with special AMG trim elements and luxury gear. The most obvious enhancement is the bespoke AMG instrument panel, but you also sit on sports seats in Designo leather upholstery with heating, ventilating and even a nice massage should you want it.

The rest of the car is both immense and immensely practical. There’s useful load space even in seven-seat configuration, but fold away the rearmost chairs (at the press of a button) and you have a five-seater with apartment-sized luggage capacity.


You can get pretty close to the GL 63’s visual impact, luxury and even straight-line speed with other GL variants, but what you can’t get is a vehicle that feels anywhere near as special.

Every AMG engine is still hand-built (signed by the bloke who made it, too) and there’s a sense of engineering depth in its products that set them apart from ordinary Mercedes-Benz models.

Should you buy one? If you’re in the market for a genuinely exotic seven-seat SUV with near-supercar performance, the GL 63 has no real rivals.


Air conditioning: Multi-zone climate

Audio: CD, iPod compatible

Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes

Blind spot warning: Yes

Bluetooth: Yes

Cruise control: Yes

Driver footrest: Yes

Gas discharge headlights: Bi-xenon

Head-up display: No

Heated/ventilated seats: Yes/Yes

Keyless entry/start: Yes/Yes

Lane guidance: Yes

Leather upholstery: Yes

Parking radar: Yes with camera and 360-degree view

Power boot or tailgate: Yes

Power seat adjustment/memory: Yes/Yes

Rear ventilation outlets: Yes

Remote audio controls: Yes

Satellite navigation: Yes

Seat height adjustment: Yes

Self-parking technology: No

Split/folding rear seats: Centre-row 60/40, third row 50/50

Steering reach adjustment: Yes

Stop-start: Yes

Trip computer: Yes

Find a Mercedes-Benz AMG HERE

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