Road Test

24 hours with the Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG

  16 July,2014

You have 24 hour access to a 560 bhp AMG monster- what would you do?

Drive. I guess that would be your answer and that is what I had in mind when the good folks at Mercedes-Benz sent us the GL63 AMG. Now unless you are living under a rock you would know about Mercedes-Benz AMG and its recent flurry of launches.

The performance SUV space is a niche that currently Mercedes-Benz AMG operates in. You have the G63, ML63 and this- the biggest of them all the Mercedes GL63 AMG. And by biggest I really mean it. Even The Great Khali would feel small standing next to one.

So as you would imagine I gasped at the sheer size of this 2.6 tonne monster and wondered what would a 560 bhp V8 feel like in that? First let me tell you the special bits. The exterior for one is subtle compared to other AMG cars and in-fact looks similar to the AMG special edition that Merc first brought in. Still there is enough bling and presence in this monster.

There is the massive radiator grille with high-gloss slats painted in black, front bumper with large air-intakes, AMG specific LED daytime driving lights and of course those massive 21 inch alloys. If you think this is subtle then buy a pink Lambo. Please.

Inside while the standard GL has a high quality cabin AMG takes things to the next level with sports seats drenched in lovely designo leather, AMG Performance 4-spoke steering wheel etc. I did not spend much time in admiring all this because I had something else in mind. To wake up that handcrafted 5.5 litre twin turbo V8. Twist the key and immediately there is a slight rumble while the motor settles down.

My first taste involves driving it in dense traffic and here I discover a crucial side of the GL63 AMG's persona. It is so damn easy that anyone with a drivers license can drive it. The steering is light, the ride in comfort mode (there are three modes) is soft and thanks to the massive 760 Nm torque you just brush the accelerator. This is amazing.

Nothing else with 560 horses is so easy to drive I bet and that is why many buy such cars anyway. Traffic over and I enter into Noida looking for a place to fully maximise the 560 bhp on offer. Then I spot one- a long empty straight accompanied by eerie silence. That's it. I immediately put it in Sport+, put my foot down and hang on for dear life as the GL63 AMG suddenly launches forward with such force that it is unbelievable.

The accompanying exhaust note is also incredible and just under five seconds I have breached the 100 kmph barrier and I get to 180 kmph before running out of road though I guess 200 kmph is just a walk in the park for this monster. The stability and massive grip coming from those enormous 295/40 R 21 tyres is what gives you the confidence.

While it is one thing making a 2.6 tonne SUV go fast in a straight line- around the corners is where all that mass would rear its ugly head. However AMG has installed large amounts of tech so that cornering hard in this behemoth will not be a nightmare as you might think.

There is the 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive, AMG Ride Control sports suspension with ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM roll stabilisation. Putting the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission in manual, I was soon attacking corners and putting in a higher speed each time. The handling for such a big SUV is fantastic but eventually its size plays catch-up.

Finished with our shoot it was time to again let that V8 cut loose and clear its throat. The GL63 AMG feels at its best devouring long distances and its shocking pace and that engine noise aka music is what ultimately make us fall in love with it.

This is a SUV that has all the luxury, comfort you need but also has the performance you want. Sure at Rs 1.66 crore it is not cheap and its low single digit fuel economy will not make it practical but looking at the package its hard not to succumb to the charms of this big brute.