2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 new car reviews

A zero-to-60 time of 4.1 seconds may not be the most blistering acceleration time in the modern automotive world, but for a vehicle that weighs in at more than two tons, that's nothing to sneer at. Of course, the SUV in question isn't just any big vehicle, it's the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63.

Under the hood of the GLS 63 sits a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V8 capable of 603 horsepower and 627 lb.-ft. of torque. If that's not enough, however, the integrated EQ Boost system can add up to 21 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque to the equation. So, in the right conditions, the GLS 63 can deliver up to 624 horsepower and 811 lb.-ft. of torque—that's almost double the stock torque output of our F-250 project truck's V10 powerplant.

That kind of power comes with a starting price of $132,100. The rather loaded model we reviewed was optioned out to $153,035.

What’s it like to drive this 5600-pound luxury rocket ship? Keep reading to get the full review below.

Like what you're reading? We rely on your financial support. For as little as $3, you can support Grassroots Motorsports by becoming a Patron today. 

Become a Patron!

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

If you have an itch for a big, honking SUV and also have the scratch, this is it. That’s it. That's the entire review. Hope you enjoyed my TED Talk.

It’s everything that makes an AMG so special: all the power, all the features. And then it’s big.

Could I drive this every day? Heck yeah. Can I afford to? Heck no. Does that give me the sads? Yeah, kinda.

More about that Mercedes-Benz’s EQ Boost. Let’s go to the media kit:

“For the first time, the AMG 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine found in the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 is equipped with an integrated EQ Boost starter-generator. It unites a starter motor and an alternator in a single, powerful electric motor integrated between the engine and the transmission. This unit can provide up to an additional 21 hp of output and 184 lb-ft of torque, enabling particularly fast sprints from a standstill or sprints when overtaking. This innovative component not only supplies the 48-volt electrical system and is used as a power generator, it also performs hybrid functions. These include boost, recuperation, gliding and the virtually imperceptible restarting of the engine with the start/stop function. For the first time, the EQ Boost starter-generator is also responsible for idle speed control. This allows fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology.

“Furthermore, this modern 48-volt electrical system allows for the use of new technologies. It reliably supplies the onboard electrical consumers (e.g. air conditioning and heating elements plus infotainment and assistance systems) with energy while ensuring full driving power.”

End result: It’s smooth–both the engine and AMG’s nine-speed Speedshift TCT transmission. No lag, no excuses. Okay, it’s pulling some weight here so this one doesn’t feel as quick as the AMG products, but it’s still enough. (Personally, if I was shopping, I’m still listing the AMG E63 S Wagon as my lottery buy; it’s still the gold standard.)

The rest of the package? Basically an S-Class version of a big SUV. All of the comforts, all of the conveniences. And all integrated so well.

Here’s a good example of that engineering magic. Our tester wore the optional 325/35ZR23 tires. Did you catch all of those numbers? We’re talking wide 23s. And here’s the big point: Ride was still comfortable, the steering didn’t pull and, in short, it all felt wonderful.

What about a big, premium SUV from some other brand? Unnecessary. This one has a feeling–a warmth–that can’t be duplicated. Call it the automotive equivalent of a turntable vs. iTunes. (Sure, I’m listening to iTunes now, but that’s because I don’t drive a six-figure SUV.)

But, you say, this vehicle doesn’t make any sense. Why does the world need a high-performance, full-size SUV from AMG? I’m not saying that we need these kinds of vehicles from everyone. In my world, this one is all we need.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more articles.
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/24/20 9:51 a.m.

Colin made a meme. smiley

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
9/24/20 10:06 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I have to admit, it's not very often I get a message like this when I'm working:

The answer is yes, we do have time to make a meme.

ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
9/24/20 10:08 a.m.

325/35ZR23! That's a big tire (and wheel). The only option on Tire Rack is $462 per tire.

Crazy. But if you can afford the $150k SUV they came on, $462/tire should be nothing to worry about.

I do like that subtle dark green though.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/24/20 10:10 a.m.

I know on the wheel size. I had to take a photo. 

At the same time, ironically, I was selling some old 10-inch Mini wheels on eBay.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/24/20 10:45 a.m.

You guys get the weirdest press cars.

Also, sports cars now need to get to 60 in under 4.1 seconds to be considered fast?

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
9/24/20 10:55 a.m.

This thing seats seven, is super luxe inside and is fast as hell.  600+ hp?  800+ tq?  Growing up in a world of slow and tacky malaise-era family haulers, I would never have imagined that such a vehicle could exist.

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 Reader
9/24/20 11:13 a.m.

I love the dicotomy coming out of today's vehicle manufacturing plants. 

Green/electrified by 2035!!!! YES PLEASE!

Want to see how many turbochargers it takes to make this streamlined boat do 185 mph? GET'ER DONE!!!

Shaun
Shaun Dork
9/24/20 1:53 p.m.

The only tire in that size at tire rack:

 

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 Reader
9/24/20 2:32 p.m.

P Zeros??? Who the hell wants to buy those garbage pieces of E36 M3?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/24/20 4:05 p.m.
nderwater said:

This thing seats seven, is super luxe inside and is fast as hell.  600+ hp?  800+ tq?  Growing up in a world of slow and tacky malaise-era family haulers, I would never have imagined that such a vehicle could exist.

I know, right? And it drove sooooooo nicely, even with the big tires. Be neat to talk to the engineers who make that all happen. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/24/20 5:28 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:
nderwater said:

This thing seats seven, is super luxe inside and is fast as hell.  600+ hp?  800+ tq?  Growing up in a world of slow and tacky malaise-era family haulers, I would never have imagined that such a vehicle could exist.

I know, right? And it drove sooooooo nicely, even with the big tires. Be neat to talk to the engineers who make that all happen. 

Is this foreshadowing? Because it sounds like foreshadowing.

yupididit
yupididit PowerDork
9/24/20 7:09 p.m.

Can someone let me live with them for 3 years for free and provide me meals so I can drop 5k a month on one of these? I'll let you drive it whenever you want.

buzzboy
buzzboy Dork
9/24/20 7:12 p.m.

Is the GLS the car that took the spot of the GL? When Mercedes changed the SUV names a few years back it really screwed with me. ML, GL and GLK are still stuck in my head. Now we have GLA, GLC, GLE and GLS?

yupididit
yupididit PowerDork
9/24/20 7:52 p.m.
buzzboy said:

Is the GLS the car that took the spot of the GL? When Mercedes changed the SUV names a few years back it really screwed with me. ML, GL and GLK are still stuck in my head. Now we have GLA, GLC, GLE and GLS?

 

GLK -> GLC

ML -> GLE

GL -> GLS

I believe they switched over to the current name format in 2015.

 

GLA is the "SUV" version of the A-class. We didnt get the A-class here until recently but we've had the GLA for awhile. To be honest I rarely see them and dont know the point of them. I do know the GLA45 is a bitchin hatchback tho!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/24/20 8:18 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

No, sadly. At least as far I know. Guess I could make a call, though. I know a guy. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/24/20 8:22 p.m.
yupididit said:
buzzboy said:

Is the GLS the car that took the spot of the GL? When Mercedes changed the SUV names a few years back it really screwed with me. ML, GL and GLK are still stuck in my head. Now we have GLA, GLC, GLE and GLS?

 

GLK -> GLC

ML -> GLE

GL -> GLS

I believe they switched over to the current name format in 2015.

 

GLA is the "SUV" version of the A-class. We didnt get the A-class here until recently but we've had the GLA for awhile. To be honest I rarely see them and dont know the point of them. I do know the GLA45 is a bitchin hatchback tho!

GRM AMG GLC review.

GRM AMC GLE review.  

And the reviews, I know, are a little basic: They're the AMG of SUVs. Do less expensive options exist? Totally. But do they have that same feel? No, not really. A Benz is its own animal. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/24/20 8:23 p.m.
yupididit said:

Can someone let me live with them for 3 years for free and provide me meals so I can drop 5k a month on one of these? I'll let you drive it whenever you want.

Same, please. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/24/20 8:28 p.m.
yupididit said:
buzzboy said:

Is the GLS the car that took the spot of the GL? When Mercedes changed the SUV names a few years back it really screwed with me. ML, GL and GLK are still stuck in my head. Now we have GLA, GLC, GLE and GLS?

 

GLK -> GLC

ML -> GLE

GL -> GLS

I believe they switched over to the current name format in 2015.

 

GLA is the "SUV" version of the A-class. We didnt get the A-class here until recently but we've had the GLA for awhile. To be honest I rarely see them and dont know the point of them. I do know the GLA45 is a bitchin hatchback tho!

GLA's are everywhere around here. Apparently they're the "compact commuting SUV" for the Washington DC set who actually may have to park in a standard-size spot. I probably see a half dozen on my daily commute, and several of them are the AMG version. I think it actually looks pretty cool, no idea what the other specs are.

 

kazoospec
kazoospec UberDork
9/24/20 8:42 p.m.
yupididit said:

Can someone let me live with them for 3 years for free and provide me meals so I can drop 5k a month on one of these? I'll let you drive it whenever you want.

Sorry man, the Mrs. says no.  Something about not moving in a stranger just to have limited access to gobs of horsepower.   I tried.

Also, the P Zeros would suck in the snow.  

EDIT:  I should explain, "It would suck in the snow" is how we comfort ourselves here in Michigan when we can't have nice things.

11GTCS
11GTCS Reader
9/24/20 9:01 p.m.
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) said:

325/35ZR23! That's a big tire (and wheel). The only option on Tire Rack is $462 per tire.

Crazy. But if you can afford the $150k SUV they came on, $462/tire that need to be replaced every 12,000 miles should be nothing to worry about.

I do like that subtle dark green though.

Fixed that for ya!  

Dear lord and I thought $1,100 bucks for 4 Continentals for the Mustang was bad. But then I’m a cheap bastard...  Also, 4.1 seconds to 60 is pretty quick from where i came from!

11GTCS
11GTCS Reader
9/24/20 9:04 p.m.

In reply to kazoospec :

I have driven P Zeros in the snow, you are not wrong. 

Our Preferred Partners
OiEr6ewHMl0Oymlh278nYY7G5hK4dcuaa9meEB7YGwp2RVFU6a99j4JAh2olgO39