2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 review: Family hauler, emphasis on hauler

Table of Contents

This huge lad generates 603 horsepower.


The Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is the S-Class of SUVs, and this AMG GLS63 is the sizzling-headed overall performance variant. With 3 rows of seats, a V8 motor, mild-hybrid aid and tech for times, this large brute can do it all.


  • Ridiculously effective
  • Loads of driver-assistance capabilities
  • Robust infotainment tech

Never Like

  • Extremely spendy
  • Unbelievably thirsty

Redesigned for the 2021 model year, the AMG GLS is longer and broader than its predecessor, and the overall consequence is an imposing-looking SUV. AMG-precise style elements include things like the vertical-slat grille, substantial air intakes and 21-inch wheels — until you opt for the outrageous 23s, as seen on my tester. You can even get the 23s in Mercedes’ typical Monoblock style, which I detest, but my coworkers like. About back, the glimpse is concluded off with a large diffuser and quad tailpipes.

The AMG GLS63 will get Mercedes’ 4.-liter twin-turbo V8, pushing out 603 horsepower and 627 pound-toes of torque. Floor it while going up an on-ramp and this leviathan will hit 80 mph effectively ahead of the merge level. Mercedes-Benz claims the GLS63 goes from to sixty mph in 4.1 seconds, and I have no cause to doubt that declare. The V8’s 48-volt mild hybrid system can help right here, incorporating an additional 21 hp and 184 lb-ft into the combine, which not only adds acceleration enhance but smooths out the action of the stop/commence system, as effectively.

Effective as it may possibly be, this large gal is all about convenience. The AMG GLS soaks up any imperfections, the air suspension offering a serene journey high quality. You will find heaps of driver-assistance tech to assistance with freeway commutes, far too. I like the way Mercedes-Benz does adaptive cruise regulate and hands-on steering aid. The speed restrict aid routinely decelerates if I cross into a slower speed zone, and the route-based mostly speed adaption can adjust my speed for impending curves, toll booths or roundabouts. Positive, in some cases it slows down a bit far too much, but I’d rather have it err on the facet of basic safety. The steering aid responds to bends in the freeway much as I would, holding the GLS in the centre of the lane with out ping-ponging back and forth. The lane-alter aid moves the automobile about when it’s crystal clear, as lengthy as I signal appropriately.

As soon as off the freeway and on my beloved twisty roads, I flip off the driver-assistance controls and hit that Activity Additionally button. Right away I have much better throttle reaction, more rapidly shifts from the 9-speed computerized transmission, improved steering reaction and firmer damping settings in the air suspension.

I should not be ready to push a automobile this large this quickly, but it’s all effortless. In Activity Additionally the transmission downshifts on braking, upshifts rapidly and the V8 emits a burble you wouldn’t be expecting from a 3-row luxury SUV. The all-wheel-push system can throw 100{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd} of the torque to the rear wheels and the massive 285/40/ZR23 entrance, 325/35/ZR23 rear Michelin Pilot Activity 4S tires offer grip for times.

The huge fifteen.7-inch entrance and fourteen.6-inch rear disc brakes are effective, but the GLS will get a bit squirrley under tricky braking. That’s not fully inappropriate, even though, thinking of this detail weighs almost 6,000 lbs.

And therein lies the rub. Great as the GLS63 is on a winding road, the sheer size would not compel me to carve canyons on the every day. Even so, I get a great deal of pleasure from the effective freeway prowess and the way it stays flat on lazy curves. The GLS63 is even now enjoyable to push.

I want to converse about configurability for a next, because there are a ton of strategies to adjust this automobile, and frankly, it’s a bit mind-boggling. Impartial of the major driving modes, there are dials on the steering wheel where by I can adjust the air suspension to Comfort, Activity or Activity Additionally. I can also put the automobile into manual-shifting method and adjust the exhaust method. I can also adjust all 3 of these features from the centre console.

These 23-inch wheels are massive.


As for those driving modes, there are the ubiquitous Comfort, Activity, Activity Additionally and Specific, but the AMG GLS adds Trail for mud or slippery conditions and Sand for when you want to just take your $a hundred thirty,000 SUV to the dunes. Equally off-road modes increase the suspension about two inches and give drivers the option to decide on their preferred ranges of traction. Although the AMG GLS comes with an electronic rear locker and the aforementioned off-road push modes, those who usually leave paved paradise will probably want to opt for a single of the a lot less-aggressive GLS-Class designs. Or just get a G-Wagen.

Inside of, the AMG GLS is dominated by its pair of 12.3-inch screens, a single showing the reconfigurable gauge cluster, the other exhibiting infotainment. The MBUX system is relatively quick to use, and equally Apple CarPlay and Android Car are typical. I like the augmented reality navigation system that uses the ahead-going through camera to exhibit just where by to flip, and it can also exhibit addresses so I do not have to squint at the quantities on a suppress. The nav system also incorporates What3words know-how, which assigns a 3-meter square a one of a kind 3-phrase address. It really is really handy if you’re hoping to uncover someone at a carpool location or put with out a precise address. Also, it’s variety of cool to see what 3 phrases have been assigned to destinations you frequent. For illustration, a single of my beloved off-roading spots is “upstage, stumbling, sticks.” Positive, you could use a traditional latitude and longitude, but the phrases are frequently easier to keep in mind than the quantities.

MBUX also has an AMG-precise webpage where by drivers can document motor details, entry all kinds of graphical information, spit out drag race stats, or heck, it will even navigate to the closest race observe. In the same way, an AMG overall performance webpage has information on acceleration, braking, pitch, roll and steering angle as effectively as an motor webpage with fluid temperatures and your normal consumption. (I obtained sixteen.6 mpg, by the way.)

MBUX’s voice recognition software package is really good, far too, understanding pure language and fully ready to decipher my odd-sounding road identify. The system can tune your radio station, flip on the massaging seats, even inform you a joke. A amusing a single, far too.

The GLS’ inside is a single of the finest in the 3-row SUV house.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

Charging is plentiful in the AMG GLS, with wireless charging, two USB-C ports in entrance, a single in the centre console, two for the next row and then two for each seat in the third row. The cargo location has a 12-volt outlet and the next row also will get a two-prong, one hundred fifteen-volt outlet. No cell phone ought to ever go lifeless in this SUV.

In addition to currently being techy, the inside is very seriously high-class. There are the ubiquitous heated seats, but how do heated door centre panels, arm rests and centre console audio? I can dig it. I am also a lover of the heated and cooled cup holders, due to the fact I am often down for a chilly soda. The Energizing Comfort system is a bit wackadoo, altering the lights, climate regulate and massaging seats to align with Mercedes-programmed Refresh, Heat, Vitality, Pleasure, Training or Nicely-Remaining programs. I have never come away from utilizing this tech-for-the-sake-of-tech imagining something but, “Nicely, that was odd,” but it’s appealing however.

I have often preferred Mercedes’ interiors about its German rivals, and the GLS is no exception. You will find a great deal of Nappa leather-based, open-pore wood and I am fully right here for the centre seize handles. I can do with out the pretend vent on the right hand facet of the infotainment screen, but it’s a compact quibble in an usually great cabin. It really is exceptionally spacious, far too, with 17.4 cubic toes of house at the rear of the third row, 48.7 cubes at the rear of the next row and eighty four.7 cubes when equally rows are folded.

Big and in charge.


The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 commences at $134,090 like $995 for supply, but my tester has all kinds of solutions and comes out to $149,one hundred fifteen. Individually, I do not will need a $1,500 carbon-fiber motor cover and I can save $4,450 by opting for the typical 21-inch wheels rather of these 23-inch monsters. I’d in all probability leave the $4,550 Burmeister audio system on the table, far too.

Although a 3-row SUV with about 600 hp may possibly be a challenging market to us typical folks, for those that have the coin there isn’t really really that much in the way of levels of competition. Equally the BMW X5 M and X6 M are two-row only, as is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid (although that very last a single tends to make 670 horsepower — yowza). You can get a supercharged V8 in a Land Rover Variety Rover, but again, no third row. You are going to uncover 3 rows in a Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade, but equally those are constrained to the mid-400s in electric power. Definitely, the closest competitor in this opulent set is the impending BMW Alpina XB7.

You will find of study course the dilemma of why a 600-hp, 3-row SUV even exists. It really is not like you’re going to go to the observe with your kids strapped into their Recaro automobile seats in the back, right? However, the AMG GLS63 is a hoot, and it exists because, effectively, it can. And for those who can pay for it, there are numerous rewards to be discovered in just.