Mercedes-AMG has thrown all the tech features it has at the GLS63, including dual 12.3-inch infotainment displays, an available semi-autonomous driving mode, and a 48-volt hybrid system to help the big 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS-Class SUV’s performance.
What brand of performance is that? The kind that enables it to accelerate like a rocket, V-8 engine roaring. This beast is a heads-up competitor to other oversized hot-rods such as the BMW X7 M50i and the Range Rover SV Autobiography—and comes with a price tag to match.
ENGINE AND IMPLEMENTATION
Under the hood of the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS-Class is a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine that makes a whopping 603 horsepower with the help of a 48-volt hybrid system. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a nine-speed automatic transmission and air suspension.
We were blown away by the 2021 GLS63’s performance at our test track as it out-accelerated several hot sports cars we’ve tested recently, tearing off a blistering 3.6-second zero-to-60-mph run.
For comparison, the old GLS63—which made a mere 577 horsepower—managed a none-too-shabby 4.3-second zero-to-60-mph run. As impressed as we were with the GLS’s acceleration, we can’t say the same for its driving dynamics.
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS-Class ride is firm, especially on the optional 23-inch wheels, but that firmness doesn’t translate to a feeling of precision when cornering. The GLS’s body bobs across road undulations more than expected, though it still offers plenty of grips to have some fun with on a twisty road.
ENERGY AND REAL-WORLD MPG
The EPA estimates that the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS-Class‘s fuel economy is a dismal 14 mpg city and 18 mpg highway. On our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test route the GLS63 delivered a decent 22 mpg; the GLS63’s main rival—the BMW X7 M50i—managed 24 mpg in the same test.
INTERIOR, CONVENIENCE, AND BOOTH
Three rows of seating and interior styling that’s slightly sportier versus the Benz-branded GLS-class sets the GLS63 apart from two-row SUV powerhouses such as the BMW X5 M and the Audi RS Q8. Like those competitors, the GLS63 is gorgeously appointed inside.
Soft leather covers nearly every square inch of the cabin, and those areas that aren’t leather-wrapped are treated to genuine wood trim and tastefully applied chrome; buttons and knobs are rendered in a rich-looking metallic finish.
Front-seat occupants can enjoy a massage while blasting down the Interstate, and passenger space is generous in the second row, which can also be equipped with heated seats and power sunshades.
The third row of seats is tight for adults but perfectly suitable for children. Cargo space is the same as the standard GLS-class, which in our testing fit four carry-on suitcases behind its third row and 30 in total behind the front seats.
IN-VEHICLE INFOTAINMENT AND INTERCONNECTIONS
The GLS63 comes standard with the same dual-screen infotainment setup found in the non-AMG variant. Two 12.3-inch screens, nestled next to each other in a shared bezel, form the digital gauge display and center infotainment display.
Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX interface can be controlled via voice, touchscreen, or with the click, wheel mounted on the center console. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are standard, as is a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
PROTECTION AND DRIVER-ASSISTANCE ASPECTS
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have not released crash-test results for the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS-Class.
Mercedes-AMG offers several driver-assistance features as standard, with more advanced features including a semi-autonomous driving mode.