The $153,000 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 is an incredibly luxurious large SUV that has a 603-horsepower engine and enough luxury to trounce lesser rivals

So what’s the verdict?

Mercedes-AMG GLS 63
2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63.
Matthew DeBord GLS 63

Like many great novels — War and Peace? — the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 has conflict and resolution at its core. 

To be precise, the stonking V8 suggests a serious muscle-SUV, while the sumptuous interior does not. But maybe you want your chauffeur to stomp the accelerator from time to time, blasting from 0-60 mph in approximately four seconds. You’ll be quaking in your Ferragamos.

But you’ll tell Jeeves to do it again. And again. And again.

Fuel economy be damned. My tester didn’t come with those official specs, but figure on 20 mpg combined city/highway. Or less. On premium.

Normally, you’d think of a gargantuan SUV such as this in terms of straight-ahead velocity and leave the curves and corners to people who like to race bread trucks and battleships. But just like every other Mercedes I’ve tested of late, the AMG GLS 63 is staggeringly good at masking its vulnerability to the laws of physics. 

Sure, I relished the flat-out freeway-destroying speed that the beast could command. But I took it up into the New Jersey backwoods for the twist and turns and ups and downs and galdurnit if the big guy didn’t handle it all with competence and grace. I wouldn’t call this SUV tossable, but I did toss it, and AMG Ride Control tech in the Sport or Sport + setting allowed for some aggressive driving with no worries about the GLS taking the laws of motion to any alarming Newtonian places. The Pilot Sport-4 tires certainly helped, as did the 4Matic AWD setup. The GLS 63 does lurch, but you have to be pushing it very hard.

If you do find yourself off the asphalt, offroad “trail” and “sand” modes can get you back on — or just keep you on trail or sand.

I wish I could have savored the subplots delivered by the AMG-tuned exhaust, but an $1,100 “Acoustic Comfort Package” took the edge off. A good thing, perhaps. The active driver-assist suite was also included with my tester, but the lane-keep feature continued a theme with Mercedes for me of being too stringent. It was almost troubling in its enthusiasm for disciplining even slight meanders from the path before it.

Yes, $153,000 is a lot to pay for a luxury high-performance SUV (most of which, save that German-sourced, magnificent V8, is made in Mississippi) with literary depths. But it’s something special, by design. You could match it up against the Lincoln Navigator or the Cadillac Escalade, but those wouldn’t be fair fights. 

So if you need massive power, massive torque, massive gentility, massive tech, and a really, really large Mercedes badge on the prow, crack open the heavy cover of the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 and get lost in the sprawling story.

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