Is there really any need for a supercar-thrashing 557 bhp full-sized luxury SUV? That was the one big question on my mind when I was given the keys to Mercedes-Benz’s new fire-breathing GL63 AMG for the weekend. I was left pondering over the existence of this car; the sheer size and weight of the 7-seater does not make it ideal for crazy off-roading—no, there is the shorter wheelbase G63 AMG for that. Then again, for that much power on the racetrack you would prefer a lower-slung sedan/sports car with better centre of gravity that you could throw into corners at high speeds.
These are one of those ‘rare’ times that I admit I found no answers; in fact, the GL63 AMG taught me that one may not seek rational explanations every time. Simply put, the GL63 is all about superiority on the road—like the boss among the bad boys, or a mafia don who wants to teach his Range-Rover-driving rival a thing or two about cars. The GL63 looks mean yet has the curves to justify taking it out for the weekend date, plus it is German, so you know there are enough party gimmicks like adjustable air suspension and a parking assistant with multiple cameras.
You may fret about the stiff suspension, or the abysmally low fuel economy, but there is a cure for all that. It is called torque, and at 760 Nm, the pill is best served with the right foot on the race pedal pressed all the way down. The moment the hand-assembled 5.5-litre bi-turbo AMG engine is prodded, out comes the lovely V8 burble and you race towards the electronically limited 250 kmph speed—0-100 takes just about five seconds, so don’t be surprised if you take a look at the speedometer. The AMG Speedshift Plus 7-speed transmission makes gearshifts a breeze, even if you choose to change gears yourself with the paddle shifts. On a straight road, I always found myself itching to push the pedal just to hear that lovely sound. While the stiff AMG suspension made bad roads even worse, where it helped was cornering and stability that, for a heavy SUV, was just brilliant.
The interiors of the GL63 have subtle changes to remind one that this machine is of a higher breed. The moment you step in you notice the 320 kmph top-speed mark on the speedometer, then comes the AMG Performance 4-spoke steering