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Benz GL63 AMG super-SUV on the way

Daddy cool: The seven-seat Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG promises to inject some V8-powered fun into the school run.

Seven-seat mega-SUV inches closer to Oz as Mercedes-Benz gains approval for GL63 AMG

22 Mar 2013

AUSTRALIANS troubled by the fact a supercharged Range Rover lacks enough seats for a growing family may have their interest piqued by the fact Mercedes-Benz Australia has received regulatory approval to sell the rip-snorting GL63 AMG here.

The new, even bigger GL-Class range is confirmed to arrive in Australia during the third quarter of this year, opening with the more prosaic GL350 CDI V6 diesel and GL500 V8 petrol.

And while Benz has stopped short of officially confirming the crushing 410kW/760Nm twin-turbo V8 AMG variant will go on sale here, the fact it went to the expense of gaining certification is a clear statement of intent.

With 0-100k/h coming up in just 4.9 seconds and a top speed electronically limited to 250km/h, the children of GL63 owners will have no excuse for being late to school.

Not even frequent fuel stops can be blamed for their tardiness as the direct-injection 5.5-litre petrol engine has an official combined consumption rating of 12.3 litres per 100 kilometres – no worse than a Holden SS Commodore.

Behind huge 21-inch alloy wheels are dinner plate dwarfing 390mm drilled brake rotors (345mm at the rear) and adaptive air suspension with automatic levelling and body-roll reduction.

The seven-speed AMG Speedshift semi-automatic transmission feeds power and torque to the 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive system with 60 per cent rear axle bias.

4 center imageLeft: Mercedes-Benz GL350

As a result, the GL63 is claimed to offer the comfort of an S-Class limousine with the performance of an AMG sports sedan.

Marking the GL63 out as a product of the Affalterbach hot-shop are flared wheelarches, chromed twin tailpipes, gloss black grille inserts and a more aggressive bumpers with gaping air intakes, at edged with LED daytime running light strips at the front.

The interior treatment comprises seven leather AMG sports seats, leather-like Artico trim on the dashboard, door panels and armrests, a flat-bottomed AMG steering wheel with aluminium paddle-shifters and a special AMG instrument cluster.

Meanwhile the GL350 CDI comes with a 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel producing 190kW and 620Nm that is down from 195kW/620Nm in the outgoing model.

It consumes as little as 7.4-litres per 100km on the combined cycle – a reduction of 1.8L/100km.

The mid-spec GL500 deploys a 4.6-litre V8 turbo-petrol with outputs of 300kW and 600Nm (up 15kW and 70Nm compared with the outgoing 5.5-litre), good for 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds and combined consumption of 11.3L/100km, – an improvement over the 13.5L/100km rating of the car it replaces.

Lightweight materials such as aluminium and magnesium have slimmed the physically larger new GL, with the portly GL350 claimed to weigh almost 100kg less than the current generation, which tips the scales at 2505kg.

Maximum ground clearance of 285mm yields a fording depth 600mm to ensure the GL remains respectable off-road.

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