2017 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 4MATIC


Like Rodney Dangerfield, Karl Benz gets no respect. The highly regarded inventor of the automobile, the man who put the Benz in Mercedes-Benz, is no longer associated with the German company’s highest-performing machines—all vehicles formerly marketed as Mercedes-Benz AMGs are now simply known as Mercedes-AMGs. Meanwhile, the company’s most luxurious cars bear the Mercedes-Maybach label.

 

It’s not just AMG products that complete a rebranding scheme for the 2017 model year as Mercedes’ new hierarchical naming structure for its crossover SUVs, which mimics its sedans and coupes, now is fully realized. Hence the vehicle you’re looking at is not the updated and improved Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG but is instead the new Mercedes-AMG GLS63. What’s in a name? In this case, a lot, and it makes the Mercedes-AMG GLS63 a good deal sweeter than its S-less, Benz-badged predecessor.


Extra icing is applied to the big Mercedes, but the sweetest dollop sits under the GLS63’s hood, where AMG’s 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine now produces a neck-snapping 577 horsepower, a gain of 27 hp. Torque remains the same at 561 lb-ft. The hand-built engine’s punch is channeled to all four wheels through a quick-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission that can be manually operated via fat metal paddle shifters connected to the back of the GLS63’s meaty three-spoke steering wheel. The result is a behemoth weighing nearly three tons that’s nonetheless able to hustle to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.3 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 12.8 seconds at 111 mph. The GLS63 isn’t just quick, it’s wicked quick, besting the last GL63 AMG we tested by 0.5 and 0.4 second in those metrics. Another perspective: Our 435-hp long-term 2016 Ford Mustang GT, which at 3782 pounds weighs 2076 pounds less than the GLS63, reaches 60 mph in the same 4.3 ticks and needs an additional tenth of a second to cover the quarter. Read more...

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02 Jan 2017


By GREG FINK