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2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63

It’s Big, Heavy, Expensive and Crazy Fast”

AMG has a reputation in the industry that it has molded over decades.  A reputation to produce loud and fast performance vehicles. The Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 takes the concept of creating a large go fast SUV to the next level by inserting a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 under the hood of this massive machine to off set what physics considers impossible.  In a time when climate change is on all our minds and almost every car manufacturer is finding methods of eliminating the internal combustion engine from its product line, the GLS 63 laughs in the face of conformity and pays one last homage to the gasoline powered engine and what it is truly capable of when you put your mind to it and the will of an individual to turn screws and bolts and wrenches to produce the 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 combined with a 48 volt electrical mild hybrid system.  The result of all this AMG trickery is 603 horsepower and 627 lb.-ft. of torque.  That’s 120 more horsepower over the GLS 580 and 111 more lb.-ft. of thrust.

The new generation GLS 63 is 5.2m long, 2.03m wide, and nearly 1.8m high and weighs in at a scale tipping 2555kg or 5633 lbs.  It will run you $167,700 plus taxes and levies.  That’s more than $20,000 compared to the outgoing generation.  As uber luxury sport SUV’s go, the GLS 63 is a relative bargain when compared to the likes of Range Rovers, Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, Aston Martin DBX and the “ultimate” Rolls-Royce Cullinan.  However, except for certain Rovers and the Cullinan, all of these others are smaller fare than the GLS 63 and don’t offer the cargo capacity or seating capacity.

On the outside your GLS 63 will be distinguishable from lesser versions by its signature AMG vertical slat grill, hood bulges and revised front and rear facia that give the GLS a muscular stance.  The standout feature and a must on the checklist of add-ons are the optional 23” monoblock wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber.  These wheels set the GLS apart from the crowd and the sticky rubber adds to the GLS driving dynamics.

Step inside the GLS 63 and you are welcomed with acres of Nappa leather.  There are a host of luxury features included front and second row power seats, heated seats all round including heated flat-bottom AMG steering wheel and arm rests; power window shades and powered second and third row seat lowering along with manual control to lower the GLS 63 from the boot while storing or removing cargo.  There is even temperature controlled cup holders, to ensure your non-fat, oat milk, half pump, latte is kept hot.  The interior is filled with a 13 speaker Burmester sound system that links to Mercedes MBUX infotainment that is accessed courtesy of two 12.3 inch LCD displays that are seamlessly combined to create the feeling of a panoramic screen over two feet wide the system offers wireless charging for mobile devices and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.  All of this incredible gadgetry is protected by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. Service intervals are every 20,000km or one year.

While onlookers admire your GLS from afar or near you and your occupants will be kept safe and sound.  With no less than nine airbags, including curtains that stretch back to protect row three occupants and active driver assist systems led by autonomous emergency braking (AEB).  The GLS will steer by itself, actively stay in its lane, read speed signs and warn of cross traffic.

Without sounding repetitive, the heart of the GLS 63 is where this story really begins and ends.  The drivetrain in the GLS 63 features a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that briefly combines with the combustion engine to produce extra power and torque to boost performance.  The result of this electro gas magic is a 4.1sec 0-100km/h time and a 280km/h top speed.  To lessen the impact on your pocket and how often you visit the pump the mild hybrid system also provides some fuel savings via coasting and stop/start functions along with cylinder deactivation.

That’s where things come full circle.  What makes this vehicle so incredible, thrilling and mindboggling to drive, is also what causes this vehicles inevitable demise.  The environmental impact and negative attention this vehicle grabs is undoubtedly one of the reasons Mercedes North America has decided to eliminate the use of V8’s across almost its whole line up of vehicles.  In urban environments becoming more and more dense, the ability to use the incredible grunt of this vehicle becomes less possible, it also eliminates the need for such a power plant when more efficient turbo charged and hybrid V6 systems can achieve similar performance and much more efficient levels.  All of this arrives us at the unfortunate reality of the slow agonising death of the combustion engine.

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