The Mercedes-Benz GL 63 AMG – Jumbo Jet (Part 1)

8/7/2014 4:23:36 AM

Films and cars have a lot in common. Some films aim to be as realistic as possible, and put their characters through situations that are very likely to happen to you and me. And then there are sci-fi films, which specialize in the surreal, the out-of-proportion, the fantastic. Usually, a science experiment goes wrong and the boy-next-door turns into a superhero or supervillain (depending on who’s playing him).

Cars can be like this too. With Mercedes, it’s the town of Affalterbach, located in Baden-Württemberg in Southern Germany. Affalterbach is home to AMG, a Mercedes-Benz division, whose primary mission is to transform garden variety Mercs into monsters. Once the metamorphosis is complete, they stick an AMG badge at the rear.

The Mercedes GL63 is the powerhouse of the GL range

The Mercedes GL63 is the powerhouse of the GL range

Affalterbach has been sending these monster Mercs to India for a while now, in the form of the G63, the E63, and the SLK55, to name a few. And now, it’s bringing a new trick to the party. And it’s a beast all right, with enough muscle to scare the daylights out of you. This is the GL63 AMG.

Before we get to the details, a quick word on acquiring one – you can buy it from any Mercedes dealer for $279,765 (ex-showroom, Mumbai).

What makes the GL a bona fide monster is its heart, which is handcrafted in Affalterbach. The 5.5-litre engine, aided by two turbos, is tuned to make 557bhp – more power than it makes in any other tune. And that’s not all. It can generate enough power to pull a fully-loaded Boeing 747. True story. A full 760Nm of it. At any point, no matter what speed you’re doing, you push the throttle in and the thing takes off like a missile. A fat, heavy missile.

Big bumpers, LEDs and 21in alloy wheels are all fitted as standard

Big bumpers, LEDs and 21in alloy wheels are all fitted as standard

The boss at the AMG facility says a great engine is not one that makes insane power; it is one that sounds great while making insane power. And a dab of the GL63’s throttle proves his point. It’s loud, it’s heavy, it’s fantastic. And the sound gets even more entertaining when you downshift – the ’box blips the throttle to produce a nice throaty roar. Superb.

Of course, no point having great power on paper if there isn’t enough of it to put down on tarmac. And the GL63 AMG does that job well too. The 7-speed Speed shift Plus sends just the right amount of power to all four wheels, making sure none of the juice is wasted in spinning your tyres and literally going up in smoke.

The engine note is as outrageous as its performance

The engine note is as outrageous as its performance

Bury the throttle and keep it that way, and what do you get? Well, you reach 100kph from standstill in less than five seconds, to begin with. That’s encroaching on sportscar territory? Encroaching, my foot. That’s enough to put some sportscars to shame.

Okay, hold on now, if you think this is the best sportscar-disguised-as-SUV. Because it’s one thing to propel itself immensely quickly down a straight line; it’s quite another to also be agile and confident around corners. This thing could very well be a drag-strip champ, but a driver’s SUV also needs to be great handler. Sure, it’s quick, no doubt, but its heavyweight structure plays spoilsport around bends.

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