Mercedes-AMG GLS 63

AMG’s GLS 63 is an absolute tour de force that has it all. And a lot more too.

Some people just won’t accept compromises. That’s why there are cars like this.

A monster in every way, this seven-seater SUV that blasts to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds and up to 280 km/h with the optional AMG Driver’s package. All while wrapping you in the absolute lap of supreme luxury. You’d better believe it. That’s what the new Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4Matic is all about. And it’s ready to fully redefine the South African luxury SUV segment.

The S-Class of SUVs

The S-Class of SUVs combines striking design, exclusive appointments and space for up to seven people with unrivalled driving dynamics. Powered by a handcrafted 450 kW 850 Nm 4-litre biturbo V8 aided and abetted by a 16 kW 250 Nm integrated EQ Boost starter-alternator, it packsa 4 cylinder deactivation system to help save fuel too. All that turns all four wheels trough AMG’s 4Matic all wheel drive and a 9-speed automatic transmission.

Six driving modes include Comfort, which enables comfortable and fuel-efficient driving; Sport+, which delivers a more agile throttle response and sportier handling dynamics; and Trail and Sand for safe driving at maximum performance on soft, muddy or sandy surfaces. Among GLS 63’s extensive driver assistance gadgets, the latest Active Distance Assist with route-based LiveTraffic Distronic speed adjustment is actually a hoot to use.

Packing expressive and dominant sporty style and riding on a longer wheelbase than its predecessor, the latest GLS 63 AMG has for far more cabin space too, especially in the second row. Spacious and sensual in AMG nappa leather style, GLS 63 has AMG-specific ‘Hey Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment and a splendid widescreen cockpit additionally controlled by a slick 3-spoke AMG steering wheel.

It looks massive from outside

GLS 63 gets AMG Ride Control+ pneumatic self levelling air suspension with special spring and damper set-up and Adaptive Damping Plus for outstanding driving dynamics with high ride comfort. Internally ventilated integral 400×38 mm internally ventilated and perforated integral front and 370×32 mm rear AMG high-performance brakes stop the thing.

Active Engine Mounts bring a soft setting for cruising and stiffer one for more dynamic performance. Active Roll Stabilisation to make the vehicle more dynamic and agile and a continuous ride height controller keeps it on an even keel, no matter what the load is. All of this technology assists with balance and road comfort during braking, acceleration and cornering.

Your first impression the GLS 63 is that it’s massive. Well it looks massive from outside. Yet it’s solid, nimble and well balanced to drive. In fact it feels more like like a composed medium SUV than the giant it is. That sumptuous cabin makes you feel right at home in a plush, well finished and comfortable space. All those electronic settings and functions don’t take too long to fathom, even though there’s quite a lot to take in.

Pulling sensation is truly surprising

Out on the road, under hard acceleration the exhaust growls out an urgent bark. The pulling sensation is truly surprising for such a large vehicle and the surge continuous, albeit without any left or right directional misbehaviour. The 9 speed gearbox is super smooth and never in the wrong gear and there’s no noticeable over or understeer, even through tight sweeping corners.

Those huge 325/35R23 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres and electronic damping suspension took everything we threw at it surprisingly well. All of which gave me a supreme sense of trust way beyond what you would expect from a vehicle of this size. We drove on tar roads with varying surfaces, including some smooth highways and very pot holed and speed bump infested stretches. The big Merc never flinched over any of it.

All in all, the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 is an absolite tour de force that has it all and a hell of a lot more too. The Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 AMG starts at R 3.1 million. — Ken Hawkins

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