2013 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG
By G.R. Whale
On Sale: Summer 2013
Expected Pricing: $118,000-$125,000
Finding an empty niche in the car business is rare, but Mercedes-Benz has identified one in the super-ute category and fills it with the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG, the biggest, baddest box from the Black Forest. What makes the 2013 GL63 AMG unique, relative the BMW X5M, Porsche Cayenne Turbo S and ML63 AMG, is the three-row, seven-seat arrangement no other uber-ute has. Hold on to your sippy cups.
AMG products begin their transformation beneath the hood, where the 2013 GL63's 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 dishes up 550 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque, the same as an ML63 with Performance Pack and 121 hp more than the GL550. The GL63 accelerates very well for a 5600-pound box, is electronically limited to 174 mph, gets 13 mpg and has an Eco button and Start/Stop to save gas (or earn points with the government). It's connected to a 7-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive to ensure you win the crosswalk Grand Prix getting the kids to school, even in the rain.
Full air suspension offers automatic leveling for varying loads or trailers, adaptive damping to suit your mood and road, and active antiroll bars that limit body lean like a big invisible hand holding you upright. Massive brakes, new electric-assist steering and fat 21-inch wheels hiding under subtly flared bodywork ensure it will not be embarrassed by those aforementioned five-seat hot rods.
Beyond the fenders, the GL63 gets a different grille to feed air and cool each of those 550 ponies, matte silver and gloss-black trim, different rear bumper and enough AMG badges you could adorn every backpack in it twice over. The sounds emanating from the quad exhaust outlets will thrill or frighten every kid within earshot.
Most GL-Class features are standard, including but not limited to Designo cabin trim and fine leathers, automatic curve-following bi-xenon headlamps, 360-degree camera system, nine airbags, soft-close doors, crosswind stabilization, panoramic moonroof, power easy-entry rear and folding third-row seats, Keyless-Go, parking assistant, attention assist, blind-spot assist, and lane keeping assist.
Apart from venturing off the highway and thirst, the GL63 AMG maintains GL-Class utility. Each of its three rows has room for adults. Access from the seats to the doors can be accomplished maturely if not gracefully. The rear seats fold in multiple configurations, yielding 94 cubic feet of cargo space or seats for five with boards and skis inside. Specifics aren't yet published but we anticipate a trailer tow rating of more than 7,000 pounds.