These are heady days for fans of AMG-powered Mercedes SUVs. Hot on the heels of the new ML63 and G63, Mercedes has unveiled a souped-up version of its biggest off-roader: the GL63 AMG.
What sets the GL63 AMG apart from standard GL models?
Of course, there's the familiar bi-turbo V8 engine already seeing duty in AMG iterations of the new CLS, SL, ML, E-class etcetera...The 5.5-litre unit produces 549bhp and 561lb ft, rocketing this ultimate family wagon from 0-62mph in a scant 4.9 seconds. The top speed is governed by the usual 155mph limiter, at which speed we doubt you'll be in any danger of matching Mercedes' claim of 22.9mpg.
Output from the monstrous engine is supplied to the 21-inch AMG alloys via Mercedes's 7G AMG Speedshift automatic transmission, which feautres automatic eco-modes for fuel saving, and driver-oriented manual control for when serious fuel-burning is the order of the day. Full-time four-wheel drive is employed, tuned for a 40/60 split of torque front/rear.
Suspension is similarly advanced: the GL63 rides on the adaptive AMG ride control air suspension system, set up to resist body roll (there'll be plenty of that) and improve stability at speed.
And what are the GL63's visual clues?
There are the usual visual trinkets: a deeper front apron, the aforementioned enormous wheels, side and rear skirts, roof spoiler and quad exhaust outlets.
Meanwhile, the interior has the AMG book of options thrown at it, with all manner of driver assists and infotainment toys coming as standard, controlled via Merc's centre-console-housed Comand interface.
At last, an AMG for the whole family! When can I buy a GL63?
GL63s will land on UK shores in 2013, and although official pricing is yet to be announced, brace yourself for a not inconsiderable premium over the £82,995 ML63 - though a steady hand on the options box-ticking should keep the final figre below that of the £130k G63.