Mercedes-Benz GL63 Fires Opening Salvo In The Suburban Status War

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
mercedes benz gl63 fires opening salvo in the suburban status war

Any notion that AMG and M cars have become merely totems of wealth for the uninformed has just been further cast in stone, with the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG.

How is this any different from the ML63, G63 or R63 AMG crossovers/SUVs? It’s not. But the GL lineup, until now, lacked an AMG version, topping out with the GL550. The AMG two-box lineup exists more as fiduciary summit for wealthy MB customers looking for the most expensive vehicle in the range, rather than for performance-minded SUV or crossover buyers. Now that the GL63 is here, we just have further confirmation of that.

Underneath the skin, the GL63 gets the ubiquitous 5.5L AMG twin-turbo V8 with 550 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque. Notably, the GL63 looks less belligerent than the G63 or ML63, to the point where it apes the very stealthy R63 AMG pseudo-van. On the other hand, it looks brawny enough for suburban rubes to pony up the estimated six-figure price tag to buy this thing.

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  • Crosley Crosley on May 31, 2012

    What's funny is when I see a Mercedes with an AMG badge that's clearly not an AMG (ie bottom trim factory wheels, no body kit, etc,) I agree that AMG was once a line for enthusiasts but now it's just like a Louis Vuitton label for status seeking soccer moms. The price difference is also ridiculous between the AMG line and stock, I'd rather simply have an additional sports car in my garage than pay double for the same Mercedes with slightly stiffer struts and a half second quicker 0-60 time.

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    • Ithiel Ithiel on May 31, 2012

      So true! I used to commute from the IE to West LA, and I swear at least 1/2 of the "AMG" models were base Benzes with an AMG badge stuck on. You could usually tell because of the lack of extra exhausts or stock wheels, but sometimes the driver was lazy enough to slap an AMG badge on without even altering the model number (e.g. C300 AMG). Apparently you can buy an AMG badge for less than $10 on ebay. I guess in the automotive arms race that is the SoCal driving experience, people will do whatever it takes to outdo their neighbors.

  • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on May 31, 2012

    This reminds me of a Jeep Cherokee minus the two-tone. If I ever brought a Benz it'd be a classic one, the genuine luxury models that were designed tastefully and to last. Better to own a dated Benz than to own a disposable SUV for soccer-moms with too much grocery money.

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    • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on May 31, 2012

      @stuki Meh, Luxuries only good if the vehicle itself looks fine while being comfy. These new Benz's look way to tacky for me (and they'll be visually out of date in the next 5 years). The Raptors nice as an off-roader, but again its way too tacky and I'm sure that its weight\size will limit what it can do in the mountains.

  • FJ60LandCruiser FJ60LandCruiser on May 31, 2012

    Drive a GL, then drive a Suburban. I promise you won't notice a difference between the two. Except the cost, and the fact that the 'burban will last longer and tow more.

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    • MeaCulpa MeaCulpa on May 31, 2012

      @Ryoku75 Or keep it in the family and slap caddy badges on it. Waiiiiit a minute....

  • Baggins Baggins on Jun 01, 2012

    Lots of abuse to the MBZ. I drove a group of 7 adults(including me) around the Santa Barbara wine country in a GL450. Loaded up with 1300 lbs of passengers and cargo The air suspension had it driving like a dream under that load. Handled fine, Plenty of power too. Its a hell of a nice ride, I'd love to have one. Not sure I'd see the point in a ML63, but some of these posts smack of jealousy.

    • FJ60LandCruiser FJ60LandCruiser on Jun 01, 2012

      It eventually comes down to common sense. The GL is overpriced and offers nothing over Expeditions and Suburbans. A local dealer sells GMCs and Mercs and says that most people realize that the Yukon and Denali offers exactly the same for much less money and told me he sells 10 of the GM's for every 1 GL when the customer just WANTS to be seen in a Merc.