Mercedes GL63 AMG
We test out the enormous Mercedes GL63 AMG - but is it a tad out of place in the UK?
The GL63 is an American car that’s rather lost in translation in the UK. It’s enormous, a tad ungainly and will hose through fuel like there’s a big hole in its 100-litre fuel tank. However, there’s no denying its interior space is impressive and performance is suitably epic, although it should be given how much it’ll cost to buy and run.
Mercedes’ gigantic GL is a full-size SUV in every sense of the word, particularly in the top-spec GL63 AMG spec tested here, given the blend of luxurious fittings, huge space and epic performance it offers.
There’s no missing the GL, as its 5,141mm-long body will be protruding well beyond the limits of most UK parking spaces. On most SUVs, side steps are purely for show, but even taller drivers will find this useful in the climb up to the front seat. It goes without saying that you sit up high, with a commanding view down the GL’s long bonnet.
The interior isn’t stylish – nothing about the GL is – but it is made of familiar high-grade plastics and leathers, and comes loaded with equipment that’s lifted from the flagship S-Class.
Press the starter button and the engine barks into life, accompanied by a bassy woofle emerging from the rear bumper – around four metres behind the driver. The engine is the familiar hand-finished 5.5-litre twin-turbo AMG V8. And despite the car’s weight, performance remains sharp.
The engine has to work hard, so makes plenty of noise – no bad thing in our opinion – but the GL is still a very fast car. It is less adept when it comes to corners. The traction control is quick to grab the brakes, like it is on the older G63, even if you turn the system off. That said, the GL is very easy to drive, the controls are light and the brakes do a good job of managing the car’s 2,580kg weight.
The GL doesn’t have a big following in the UK – it goes down better in the Middle East and the US where petrol prices are relatively low. And while the fact that the GL is almost two-metres wide makes negotiating traffic tricky, the advantage is that the GL features space for seven people and a decent amount of luggage.
The two rearmost seats are for children only, and will rise or lower into the boot floor individually at the touch of a button. The middle row seats also lower electronically, performing a neat forward roll to allow access to the back row of seats. However, they require old-fashioned muscle to get them back in place. Once reinstated, the middle row of seats has loads of head and leg space, and their own air conditioning vents.