Although the 2013 Mercedes GL-Class GL63 AMG SUV is new for this model year, consumers can have peace-of-mind knowing that it is powered by an engine that has long been respected, as it is currently found in the ML63 AMG. The 5.5-liter V8 cranks out 550 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque to accelerate zero to 60 mph in roughly 4.9 seconds. It is expected to be the market’s fastest seven seat sport utility vehicle. Although fuel economy information has not been released, one can only expect it to be quite poor, as the rest of the G-Class family is. Towing capacity has not been confirmed, but it should fall in around 7,500 pounds. Controlling this vehicle’s mass amount of power is the industry’s first seven-speed automatic transmission with paddles shifters. It features Benz’s great 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, an Adaptive Damping System, automatic self-leveling function and an Active Curve System. This all amount s to a more controlled and smooth ride, regardless of terrain.
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• Audio - Although the 830-watt, 13-speaker Harmon Kardon system will be adequate for most, there will also be a premium Band and Olufsen BeoSound system available as well.
• Rear Seat Entertainment - Keep passengers in the back occupied with a rear seat DVD entertainment system. LCD screens are placed on the back of the front head restraints so passengers can watch movies or play video games. Wireless headphones and remotes are included.
• Bluetooth Wireless - Never take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road to receive, send or end a call. Bluetooth wireless can be controlled through controls right on the steering wheel.
• Universal Remote - Eliminate the need for separate remote controls on your dash for garage doors, home alarms systems, etc., with this universal remote.
• Navigation - The optional 80GB hard drive navigation system will help get you to where you need to go with accuracy. It is controlled through the COMAND system on the 7-inch LCD screen in the center stack.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rarely does crash tests on Mercedes Benz vehicles, primarily due to the high price point. That being said, the vehicle does get a long list of thoughtful and advanced safety features, many of which you won’t find elsewhere. Just a few of these include:
• Nine airbags
• Turn signal mirrors
• Dusk sensing headlamps
• Rear door safety locks
• Whiplash protection system in front head restraints
• Child seat anchors
• Emergency braking preparation
• Brake drying
• Rain-sensing windshield
• Crosswind stabilization
• Trailer sway control
• Electronic stability program
• Brake assist
• Tire-pressure monitoring
• Rear view camera
• Post-collision response
• Active lane keeping assist
• Active blind spot assist
• Attention assist driver-drowsiness monitor
• Active parking assist
The 2013 GL63 AMG does receive a few visual upgrades to distinguish it from its siblings. The GL-Class is already redesigned for the model year, but this particular trim gets a thick chrome bar on the lower bumper, massive air dams on the front fascia, flared fender flares, quad tailpipes, 21-inch five-spoke rims and diffuse-like panels that have been blacked out.
The passenger cabin is as luxurious as you would expect, but with a few additional sporty touches that you won’t find elsewhere in the GL-Class lineup. A generous amount of MB-Tex materials are used on the door panels and dashboard while a suede-like material is used for the roof liner. Metallic accents add the finishing touches on the gas brake pedals, door handles, gauges, center stack and air vents. Seating for seven is roomy and comfortable. Perforated leather wraps the supportive seats in all three rows, and there is more than enough leg room for even adults to get comfortable in the third row.
Behind the front seat, you are granted 93.8 cubic feet, which is quite generous. However, if you have a vehicle full of passengers, you won’t be able to haul much cargo behind the third row as there is only 16 cubic feet back there.