2014 Mercedes-Benz GL 63 AMG India road test

Halley Prabhakar Updated: June 24, 2014, 07:58 PM IST

The last we spent time in a GL-Class was when we drove down to watch the 2013 Formula 1 GP in Delhi. During the 3000km drive to Delhi and back, not once did we encounter an SUV that was larger than the GL, it being India's largest luxury SUV at that time. The torquey diesel motor made the drive effortless and with so much room, we literally lived in the Merc for a week. Vaishali even named it Obelix since its sheer size and power reminded us of the portly Asterix character. But that was a while back, now that there's another GL in town that promises to offer a lot more. It looks the same - a fact which may lead you to ask, 'what's so different?'. Well, AMG have done the unexpected – They've given Obelix some magic potion. The result?

Mercedes-Benz GL 63 AMGThe new GL in town promises to offer a lot more

There has been a significant power boost, the magic potion here being AMG's 5.5-litre biturbo motor, as a result of which power is bumped up by more than two times when compared to the diesel GL 350. Max power is a whopping 557PS produced from 5250rpm to 5750rpm while peak torque is an equally impressive 760Nm available from just 2000rpm. The GL 63 however tips the scales at 2.6tonnes, that's almost a tonne more than the E63 AMG that also happens to feature the same V8. Surprisingly, despite the extra mass, it sprints to 100kmph in just 5.5s. In fact speeds escalate so rapidly that you need to back off sooner than expected. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic offers quick shifts and between them, the exhaust sounds aggressive, reminding you that it is an AMG powered monster that you are driving. The GL 63 is a straight line king and can reach a top speed of 250kmph in a very short time, making it one of the fastest seven-seaters on sale in India today. And if one opts for the optional AMG driver's pack, top speed climbs to 270kmph!

The magic potion for the  GL 63 lies in the 5.5-litre AMG V8 that boosts power up to a whopping 557PSThe magic potion for the
GL 63 lies in the 5.5-litre AMG V8 that boosts power up to a whopping 557PS

Around corners, there is prominent body roll despite it not being a body-on-frame construction but then considering the sheer size and weight of the vehicle, handling is impressive. To aid dynamics, Mercedes-Benz even offers an Active Curve System that helps in reducing body roll especially at higher speeds by adapting suspension damping depending on the situation. The suspension even features three modes as well as ride height control. The SUV features a specially designed transfer case for the full time all-wheel drive system and power is distributed 40:60 between the front and rear axles. The steering is speed sensitive and it even varies assistance according to the chosen suspension mode but then feedback could still be better and so could precision. Braking is very impressive for a vehicle this size, thanks to the huge 390mm ventilated and perforated discs. The SUV needs just 40m and 3.2s to come to a halt from 100kmph. The brakes by themselves aren't very sharp but they're still reassuring, while brake fade is minimal.

Mercedes-Benz GL 63 AMG (7)Standard ride height control and three suspension settings are also offered

When we drove the GL 63 in Germany last month, we felt the ride would be choppy on Indian roads especially since it features large 21-inch wheels and low-profile tyres. The good news is that it's not. The ride is impressive even on rough sections (on Comfort mode) even though the Indian model also gets the same low-profile tyres as the international one. We have said earlier that the exterior design is similar to the launch edition GL-Class and the SUV gets the same widened wheel arches and a sportier front and rear bumper with larger air dams. The five-spoke AMG wheels are also similar and add to the sporty quotient. But the distinguishing features are the signature AMG quad-exhausts and the V8 biturbo and GL 63 AMG badging of course.

Mercedes-Benz GL 63 AMG (1)The GL 63 gets AMG's signature quad-exhausts

Inside, the existing GL-Class interior uses higher quality materials and better attention to detail. All seven seats are covered with Designo leather in contrasting colour and feature AMG badging. The front seats offer phenomenal support and even provide massage, heating and ventilation functions. The steering wheel is flat bottomed while the paddle shifters are made of aluminium.

Mercedes-Benz GL 63 AMG (5)AMG detailing like the flat-bottom steering wheel and pedals are included

At the rear, passengers get two displays with wireless headphones as standard, while the Harman Kardon stereo features 14 speakers that pump out high volume and quality audio. To improve safety, apart from various other standard safety features, a night vision function is also offered, which uses an infrared headlamp and camera to recognise pedestrians in the dark, while the onboard computer automatically identifies people and outlines them on the main centre display.

Mercedes-Benz GL 63 AMG (2)The GL 63 AMG offers sportscar rivalling performance, enough space and comfort for seven people and the option to go off-roading

So yes, we agree that the GL 63 looks a lot like the regular GL and is priced much higher at Rs 1.66 crore, ex-Mumbai but its only competitor costs a crore more. Not to forget, you get sportscar rivalling performance, enough space and comfort for seven people and the option to go off-roading as well. It's a unique combination, a perfect all-rounder if you ask me. How many machines out there can offer the same?

Mercedes-Benz GL 63 AMG India Road Test

Mercedes-Benz GL 63 AMG
Type V8 twin-turbo petrol
Valvetrain 4-valves/cyl, DOHC
Displacement 5461cc
Max power 557PS@5250-5750rpm
Max torque 760Nm@2000-5000rpm
Power to weight 216PS/tonne
Gearbox 7-speed automatic
Front/rear Adaptive air suspension
Front/rear 390mm discs/345mm discs
Wheels & Tyres
Tyres(F&R) 295/40R21
General data
Kerb weight 2580kg
Fuel tank capacity 100 litre
0-100kmph 5.5s
Top speed 250kmph
Efficiency in kmpl
City/Highway/Overall 4.8/9.7/6kmpl
Price Rs 1.66 crore ex-showroom Mumbai

Price (Ex-Delhi)
Max Power(ps)
Max Torque(Nm)
12.82 Kmpl