You've made it to the top of the corporate ladder, or your entrepreneurial journey is finally beginning to bear fruits and you want to reward yourself with a luxury SUV with the looks and power to match. Well, there are quite a number of options available, including this here; the Merc AMG GLS 63.
It is quite the behemoth, the GLS 63! Unequivocally the foulest-mouthed SUV that AMG makes, this one plays in a very elite segment of the market. Yes, I get the fact that for some, the flagship is what they want and not necessarily need. The thing is, after spending time behind the wheel of the latest GLS 63 – here decked out in the R82 100 optional 23-inch monoblock wheels in a high-sheen chrome finish – a few things became apparent.
For starters, there is quite a commanding persona about a seven-seat luxury SUV bearing those effable three letters - AMG. You've just shelled out R3,1m on the GLS 63 and that comes standard with bragging rights and brownie points of purchasing the most powerful flagship AMG SUV. Not to be confused with the Mercedes-Maybach GLS, which turns up the charm with more chrome embellishments that would make even a Harley Davidson motorcycle insecure. More importantly, the cabin finishes are even more special and bespoke, including mood lighting and thick-cut pile carpets to name a few. Back to the GLS 63, though, and it's that now-signature Panamericana AMG grille that leaves you under no illusion that this is the big daddy of the GLS range.
Cabin appointments come from the top drawer with high-quality tactile materials. Mercedes in general is on top of its game when it comes to interior layout and tactility and the GLS 63 pushes this to the next level. There is enough room to play some volley ball, while the rear most seats offer genuine legroom for average sized adults to sit the, albeit not as comfortably as the second row. What remains impressive, though, is the sumptuous seats that are both heated and cooled with electrical adjustment for optimal comfort.
Under the bonnet beats that now-familiar 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo powerplant that pushes out 450 kW and 850 Nm via a 9-speed automatic transmission. That’s a great deal of power, but this is also a great deal of metal to lug around, but the engine manages to pull it off with great aplomb. Performance is more than ample and the AMG sports exhaust does a great rendition of a rolling thunder timbre. It burbles and belches with every gear change, but this is soon short-lived. None of that is the car’s fault, but rather the fact that trying to hustle a hulk of the GLS’ stature just seems out of place.
Dial things back a tad, though, and cruise around at low speeds with the exhaust burbling ever so slightly and let those monoblock wheels be admired even more by other motorists and bystanders alike. Some loathe them, but I absolutely adore them as they hark back to the original AMG monoblock, but reimagined for modern-day application. You can also get it in a slightly less shouty black wheel design, but I like the mirror finish look and its reflective properties. If there was criticism to level at the GLS 63, it is probably the ride quality, which errs on the hard side and sends shimmy vibrations through the suspension and into the cabin.
At a price of R3 154 000, the GLS 63 offers up luxury and performance in one fell swoop. There is every accoutrement that you could wish for at this level, but being the AMG 63, you also expect gluttonous performance in spades, and the model doesn't disappoint in this regard. However, I think there is yet another model in the stable that manages to tick all these boxes at a shade less of the capital outlay...
While having an AMG version for almost every model sounds novel, I reckon that the GLS 63 is a touch too far. Personally, I would forgo this model altogether and rather have the cheaper, yet still rapid and infinitely more comfortable GLS 580. However, I do concede that for some, having the last number, the flagship of the range, is all that matters and that is still fine by me.