In order to fill the market niche for vehicles capable of delivering kids to Little League at a pace somewhat comparable to that of a Le Mans GT-class racer, Mercedes-Benz is beefing up its range of AMG performance-tuned SUVs.
The completely overhauled seven-passenger 2013 GL-Class (unveiled in April at the New York Auto Show) is now the third Mercedes-Benz SUV to be massaged by the company's in-house tuning division, AMG. Following the ML63 AMG and recently announced G63 AMG, the new GL63 AMG will no doubt ensure timely arrival to soccer practice, Zumba class, and any other conceivable suburban activity.
Powered by the hand-built 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 found in a variety of AMG models since 2011, the GL63 AMG rockets to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds thanks to the 550 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque on tap. Folks, remember, this is a 17-foot-long SUV putting up those ridiculous numbers. We recently took a spin in the E-Class station wagon with this go-fast engine. It's ludicrous fun. All-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic transmission are standard on the GL63, which is electronically limited to a 155 mph top speed.
To keep fuel consumption from rivaling that of, say, a Saturn V rocket, the AMG GL gets an "eco" mode that utilizes a hybrid-style start-stop system and alters the shift programming to maximize efficiency. If you prefer to wantonly burn fuel amidst an orchestra of V8 thunder, manual and sport modes are available, which accordingly remap engine and transmission settings for those emergency high-speed runs between your garage and Whole Foods.
The new GL63 AMG will be available in Q1 2013. Pricing is still TBA, but if you're interested, it's probably a safe bet to budget for six figures, not five.