Vital Stats

Engine:
Twin-Turbo 5.5L V8
Power:
550 HP / 560 LB-FT
Transmission:
7-Speed Auto
0-60 Time:
4.8 Seconds
Top Speed:
174 MPH
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Seating:
2+3+2
Cargo:
93.8 CU-FT (max)
MPG:
13 City / 17 HWY
Base Price:
$116,925
As Tested Price:
$122,430
Call it a guilty pleasure; I love ridiculously fast SUVs. I sort of went head-over-heels for the new 2014 Range Rover Sport that I recently tested, and prior to that experience, I put some serious miles on the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG pictured here. You probably don't realize this, but the GL63 is the quickest three-row SUV you can buy in the States – thanks to its 550-horsepower, 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 engine, the biggest and baddest GL will hit 60 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds.

Now, take a second to realize what that means. This is a seven-passenger SUV with all-wheel drive. It weighs 5,812 pounds – nearly three tons. And it's quicker to 60 miles per hour than a Porsche Cayman. That's insane. And I love it.

But there's far more to the whole GL63 AMG package other than pure straight-line acceleration. I picked up this GL in Chicago, drove it home to Detroit, and spent a week bombing around southeast Michigan with this massive brute. And while it's not perfect, it's a truly amazing feat of engineering.

Driving Notes
  • I really like the design of the new GL, especially here in AMG form. From all angles, it looks downright commanding – more impressive than the smaller M-Class, for sure, and far more attractive than the aging Cadillac Escalade or bulbous Infiniti QX. Really, only the Audi Q7 gives it a proper run for its money in the department of three-row utility design.
  • This isn't the first time you've heard me – or many other Autoblog scribes – say it, but I miss the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter AMG V8, though the new 5.5-liter twin-turbo unit is really good here. Power delivery is very linear and there's a great rush that starts low in the rev range.
  • While some of us have complained about the lack of aural delight in the 5.5 versus the 6.2, I don't really find that to be the case here. There's an adequate and appropriate amount of engine growl that's filtered into the cabin, and it sounds terrific. Considering that this is first and foremost a luxury SUV over a proper performer, it's nice to have that AMG-spec roar reminding you what's under the hood every now and then.
  • To that point, it's important to note that this isn't really your typical AMG in terms of ride/handling, either. As you'd expect, things are a lot softer here in the GL63, even with the adaptive suspension set to its most sporty setting. The body rolls in corners, and the steering is very obviously electrically assisted, often feeling numb at times.
  • That said, in terms of driver engagement, the GL63 is one of the better seven-passenger SUVs you can buy. It's not quite as good as that new Range Rover Sport, but it's also larger and more accommodating for passengers, as well.
  • Speaking of which, the interior on this thing is simply fantastic. The seats are incredibly comfortable and supportive – something I was indeed thankful for during the long, boring drive from Chicago to Detroit – and there's ample room for folks in the second and third rows. The whole cabin looks tré chic, too, with Mercedes' Designo interior treatment fitted here.
  • The one gripe I have with the interior lies within the COMAND infotainment system. It's not that the system doesn't work well – it's the same knob I've used over and over again – but the screen is decidedly small in a cabin that's otherwise awash with larger features.
  • I do like the built-in functionality of the GL63, though. Those third row seats raise and lower with the touch of a button, the tailgage is, of course, electronically operated, and the second row seats easily fold flat, even with the headrests extended.
  • All in, the GL63 is pretty terrific, assuming you're not worried about things like cost or fuel economy (I averaged just shy of 15 miles per gallon during my week, for what it's worth). As tested, this loaded GL63 will run you just over $120,000. That's a good chunk of coin for what I consider a guilty pleasure, but for folks who want it, the GL63 will no doubt be a terrifically entertaining daily hauler.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 34 Comments
      Awhattup
      • 1 Year Ago
      I used to drive 30 ton tanks in the army. It wasn't anywhere fast but when the massive vehicle moves... it feels much faster than it actually is! I bet this MB feels much faster too... and it is actually damn fast already!
      Henry
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love this design better than the regular GL but I don't think I want to spend that kind of money to get it. This is pure classy no nonesense Mercedes design at its finest.
      Papi L-Gee
      • 1 Year Ago
      All that power, all that size, and comparable fuel economy to my old Pathfinder (for comparison's sake: 168 HP, 3700 or so lbs, 14/17 mpg)? Automakers have come a long way in the past 17 years, that's for sure.
      likeaboss1234boss
      • 1 Year Ago
      name any other production car on sale today that will take you, 6 other people and your dog up to 174 mph.
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @likeaboss1234boss
        The top speed is but a selling point. The HP is there, step on it and pass 10 cars.
        dude
        • 1 Year Ago
        @likeaboss1234boss
        the thing is no one ever does that......waste of money. People who believe you are the same ones who think just because their Hyundai Elantra GT speedometer sez 160MPH thats how fast the car goes LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Street King
      • 1 Year Ago
      LOL @ 13 City - 17 Highway LOL
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Street King
        [blocked]
        Mazdaspeed6
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Street King
        Thats not bad at all considering its utility and power. For perspective, a 1994 Toyota Landcruiser had 212 hp and got 11/14. The GL has double the power, weighs more, and will do 0-60 in less than half the time of the Landcruiser while getting better city mileage than the Land Cruisers combined.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Street King
        [blocked]
      Toneron
      • 1 Year Ago
      Maybe too technical for Autoblog but the engine is about a generation behind the BMW N63 in my opinion. Look it up.
        Merc1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Toneron
        Nothing could be more ridiculous. M
        RL to RL
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Toneron
        Generation behind? Just by displacement alone, the M157 has a much easier time producing the hp/torque compared to the S63, and the mod potential that much more.
      ferps
      • 1 Year Ago
      For the soccer mom with everything except a brain.
        Jonathan Wayne
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ferps
        She was smart enough to marry a man that can buy her six figure cars and seven figure houses....
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jonathan Wayne
          [blocked]
      k.naz
      • 1 Year Ago
      Everybody's going to flame me, but tbh, I don't like all the new AMG models Mercedes is producing. I grew up when there was only C, E, S and G-Klasse AMG models, kind of wish it stayed that way. My 2ยข.
        Merc1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @k.naz
        No longer a sustainable position for them to take. Mercedes, BMW and Audi's product development strategies are formed at each others headquarters. One does it, the others have to follow...especially if the segment takes off. CLS then everyone else. ML then everyone else. X6, here come MB and Audi with their plans. It goes on and on.... M
      Time
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh my thats a fast car. Oh and AB please stop comparing this car with the RR-Sport. Yes they may both seat 7 but thats where the similarities stop. Clearly both cars are targeting two different markets.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Time
        [blocked]
      WhyIsItSoHot
      • 1 Year Ago
      Your claim that this is fastest SUV on sale in the U.S. isn't necessarily true, is it? The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S also has 550 HP and 0-60 by Porsche is estimated at 4.3 seconds; however, Porsche is notorious for dramatically understating their actual 0-60 times.
      Teleny411
      • 1 Year Ago
      Try as I might I just don't get the concept of a muscle car SUV. To each his own. But I have to admit that it's a handsome devil.
        MS8
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Teleny411
        You're not a family man are you? The concept is simple. You love fast cars but your wife won't let you get one that can't fit your kids and their strollers. Bam problem solved.
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