With its size, beauty and voice, the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 makes a strong first impression.
Go ahead – press the start button. That low, throaty rumble is coming out of the chrome-tipped quad exhausts at the rear. But it takes more than the exhaust pipes to make such a sound.
The handcrafted 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 engine, which makes 603 horsepower and 627 pounds per foot of torque, also has a lot to do with that sound. And then the 48-volt electric motor tosses another 21 horsepower into the mix for a total of 624. There’s an AMG Speedshift TCT nine-speed automatic transmission and AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive.
A standing start to 60 mph takes 3.6 seconds. Three-point-six. As in “one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thou –.” Yes, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk does 0-60 mph in 3.5, but it requires 707 horsepower from the 6.2 liter supercharged V8 – the same engine found in the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat – to achieve that. And the penalty is 11 mpg city, 17 highway, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63’s EPA fuel economy averages haven’t been published yet, but in 200 miles of city streets, urban freeways and mountain roads to, around and from Lake Tahoe, it averaged 21.4 mpg.
In terms of performance-oriented tech, there’s also an electronic locking differential, active dynamic engine mounts and AMG Ride Control+ suspension. Even without taking it into Sport mode, the GLS 63 handled winding mountain roads at speed with total composure. And the driver and passengers ride in supreme comfort.
Yes, all this costs money. The starting price for the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 is $132,100. Highlights on the list of standard equipment include panoramic sunroof, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 12.3-inch media display and navigation system with touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (a six-month All-Access trial), multi-contour heated and ventilated front seats with massage function and wireless phone charging.
Our test vehicle also had approximately $16,000 in extra-cost options. They included $1,500 for a carbon fiber engine cover, $500 for an AMG performance steering wheel in Nappa Leather and Dinamica, $4,450 for 23-inch AMG multi-spoke forged wheels, $350 for augmented video, $380 for manual second-row sunshades and $4,550 for an amazing Burmester high-end surround-sound system. And then there was $580 for heated rear seats, $350 for Magic Vision Control, $360 for heated third-row seats, $1,100 for the Warmth and Comfort Package (rapid heating, heated door center panels, heated front and rear armrests and heated center console), $550 for the Energizing Package Plus and $1,100 for the Acoustic Comfort Package (increased cabin insulation, windshield with infrared-reflecting film, side windows with acoustic and infrared absorbing film).
Add $995 destination and delivery and the as-tested price of the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 is an eye-watering $149,115. Hey, that’s sobering for anyone. If you have $1.5 million, this would be a 10th of your money.
So, is it worth it? If you have that kind of money for an automobile, then yes. A non-AMG Mercedes GLS isn’t meant to be the SUV for everybody, and the GLS 63 is special beyond that. In terms of comfort, speed and exclusivity, the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 is the performance car for a family with means.