2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 is the most powerful three-row utility vehicle you can get with a whopping 603 horsepower. It’s also one of the most expensive with a six-figure starting price. For that, you’ll get an insanely luxurious and tech-laden three-row crossover that can beat top sports cars when it comes to acceleration.

The GLS 63 is all new for the 2021 model year and will be available at dealerships this summer. Production of the previous generation halted after the 2019 model year.

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 has a starting price of $132,100. Packages and options can quickly send the price even higher. There’s room for six or seven passengers depending on whether you choose captain’s chairs for the second row. All-wheel-drive is standard.

The GLS 63 is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with a 48-volt hybrid system that makes a stunning 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. An integrated EQ boost raises hp by an additional 21 horses. The powertrain is mated to an AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT nine-speed automatic transmission.

This beast can hustle! Mercedes-Benz says it can rocket from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds. And it does so effortlessly. The mild hybrid system provides extra oomph for accelerating. Put it into Sport or Sport+ mode if you want performance that’s even more exhilarating. Trail and Sand modes are available for when you want to go off-roading. And you wouldn’t think that a three-ton vehicle would corner so well, but the GLS 63 is a joy to drive on curvy roads. While the GLS 63 is sure athletic with boundless get up and go, it’s also smooth and comfortable, like driving in a well-appointed living room with every creature comfort.

EPA mileage estimates aren’t yet available. During my week, I got 20 mpg with a mix of city and highway driving.

The cabin is beautiful and luxurious, as you’d expect at this price point. Beautiful saddle-quality leather is everywhere, accented with brushed stainless steel and high-gloss anthracite limewood trim. Massaging seats are standard in the front row—I had the massage function on just about every time I got behind the wheel! The cabin is also cavernous. Passengers in the first two rows enjoy lots of leg- and headroom. The third row is a bit tight for adults but perfectly fine for kids.

Standard features include keyless start and keyless go, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 12.3-inch touchscreen with the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Wi-Fi hotspot, multicontour seats with climate controls and massage functions, Burmester surround sound audio system, LED headlamps with adaptive high beam assist, 64-color configurable ambient lighting, nine USB ports, easy-pack tailgate,

Standard driver assistance technologies include Parktronic and surround view system with 360-degree camera, active blind spot assist, active brake assist, attention assist. The standard Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adjustment uses information from LiveTraffic to recognize slow-moving traffic and slow the vehicle accordingly.

Available features include rear seat packages with large center foldtable console with seven-inch MBUX tablet in the rear, wireless charging and comfort headrests, heated, ventilated and multicontour seats in the rear, and an AMG night package.

Available driver assistance technologies include Driving Assistance package Plus, where Active Stop-and-Go Assist keeps the vehicle in its lane, maintaining the safety distance at speeds up to around 37 mph. Moving off can be automatic up to one minute after coming to a stop. Once the traffic jam clears, the GLS accelerates back up to the speed preset for Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC.

The MBUX infotainment system can be controlled by touch, voice and the knob in the center console. Say “Hey Mercedes” to activate numerous functions. This worked well much of the time, but every so often the system would not understand the command.

The good

  • Exhilarating driving dynamics
  • Warp speed acceleration
  • Luxurious, beautiful and roomy interior
  • Tons of tech and driver assistance features

The not-so-good:

Six-figure starting price that quickly climbs even higher with packages and options

Pricing info:

My tester starts at $132,100. Metal weave trim is $440. Carbon fiber engine cover is $1,500. AMG performance steering wheel is $600. 23-inch AMG multi-spoke forged wheels are $4,950. Augmented video is $350. Burmester high-end surround system is $4,550. Magic Vision Control is $350. Warmth and Comfort Package is $1,100 and adds rapid heating function, heated door center panels, heated front and rear armrests, and heated center console. Executive Rear Seat Package Plus is $3,700 and adds a luxury center armrest that includes a seven-inch MBUX tablet, storage compartment, two USB ports, rear wireless charging, extended center console, luxury headrests, heated and ventilated rear seats, heated and cooled rear cupholders, and multicontour rear seats with massage. Energizing Package Plus is $550 and adds the Air-Balance Package with fragrance energizing package. The Night Package is $750 and adds trim on A-wing, trim on rear apron, tailpipes, front splitter, window frames and roof rails in high-gloss black. Acoustic Comfort Package is $1,100 and adds increased cabin insulation, windshield with infrared-reflecting film, and side windows with acoustic and infrared-absorbing film. Destination fee is $995 bringing the grand total to $153,035.

Bottom line:

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 is completely over the top. Does anyone really need a huge and luxurious three-row SUV with more than 600 horsepower that can sprint from zero to 60 in four seconds and has a price tag over six figures? Of course not. But for those who want a seven-passenger SUV that can rocket down the highway while passengers are ensconced in luxury and tech, the 2021 GLS 63 delivers.

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