Buyers have to be careful when shopping for a luxury SUV because a lot of automakers cut corners and sell an inferior product at a luxury price. Mercedes-Benz has cut back on passenger car production and transferred its trademark for gold-standard luxury and superior engineering to the more popular and lucrative SUV/crossover market.
Though no one is complaining about Mercedes-Benz cutting corners on SUVs like the C300 series, there are complaints about sticker prices. After all, $100k for a family SUV, even if it is the 603 hp 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS63, seems slightly steep.
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG line includes impressive performance
“Underpowered” and “sluggish acceleration” are not comments you are likely to read from critics concerning the 2021 Mercedes-AMG line’s performance. Instead, MotorTrend critics label the AMG-E63 wagon and GLS63 SUV performance as “mind-blowing” and “fire-breathing.”
Fire-breathing is an adequate description for the 4.0-liter V8 under the hood of both of these autos. The engines provide luxury drivers with 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. To complete their powertrain package, Mercedes couples one of the most powerful engines on the market with a rapid-fire AMG-tuned nine-speed automatic transmission, virtually eliminating any hint of lag during acceleration.
How does the Mercedes-AMG GLS63 compare with the AMG-E63 wagon?
The biggest challenge for the few families who have the $100k to invest in either model is deciding which one is the best fit. Your choice will depend on which set of features best suit how you use your family vehicle.
Though the GLS63 is a mild hybrid with an extra 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque provided by a 48-volt electrical system and an EQ Boost starter/generator capable of eliminating turbo lag, the E63 wagon stops the clock at 3.0 seconds as compared to 3.8 seconds by the GLS63 in 0-60 acceleration. Keep in mind that only 50 cars beat 3.0 seconds and the majority of them are supercars.
Both 3-row models provide plenty of space for seven passengers to ride and drive in Mercedes’ trademark luxury, but the GLS63 provides a little extra headroom and cargo space. The 2021 E63 wagon competes with the Honda CRV and Toyota RAV4 SUVs when it comes to cargo space with 13.1/35/64 cubic feet, but with all seats folded down, the GLS63 offers an extra 20 cubic feet of cargo space. Both allow additional overhead cargo to bring the total payload of the E63 wagon to 1,300 pounds and the GLS63 SUV to 1,700 pounds. If you add 7,700 pounds of towing to the GLS63, you can take along pretty much anything you like on your family road trip.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG-E63 shares an extensive suite of standard advanced safety features with the 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG-GLS63. Highlighted are adequate airbags, driver attention monitoring, laser-sharp LED headlights, blind spot monitoring with collision sensing and avoidance auto braking, parking sensors, and 360-degree camera system. The GLS63 adds curve-following LED headlamps, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise to those systems.
The significant distinction between these two AMG design models relates to off-roading. The GLS63 includes 7.9 to 8.5 inches of variable clearance compared to only 5.0 inches and allows for 23.0/21.0-degree approach and departure angles, while the E63 wagon only allows 12.7/15.0. In short, you don’t take your E63 wagon off-roading while the GLS63 is built for it.
Does spending $100k on the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 border on insanity?
None of the automakers who compete with Mercedes-Benz (Bentley, BMW, Lamborghini, Porsche, or Rolls Royce) offer a 3-row SUV. Consequently, the 2021 Mercedes AMG GLS63 currently holds a monopoly on the full-size luxury SUV market. Unless you’re a one-percenter, spending $100k on a family SUV might border on insanity. Still, those who have the money to invest in this “mind-blowing” SUV are not likely to complain about a lack of performance, features, or luxury.