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Mercedes GL63 AMG bruiser likely for Oz

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

AMG version of new Mercedes GL SUV appears ahead of likely local debut next year

1 Jun 2012

MERCEDES-BENZ Australia is “seriously considering” adding the thunderous GL63 AMG to its range from next year, following the car’s global unveiling overnight.

Based on the second-generation GL first revealed in April this year, the GL63 is powered by a twin-turbo, direct-injected 5.5-litre V8 petrol engine producing a thumping 410kW and 760Nm from 2000rpm.

These figures exceed those extracted from the same engine in both the recently-released ML63 and the boxy G63, making the new seven-seat GL version the most powerful AMG-tuned V8 off-roader to date.

Mercedes-Benz Australia manager of corporate communications Jerry Stamoulis told GoAuto the vehicle, while not yet confirmed, was “more than likely” to be sold in Australia given that there is “certainly a market here for it”.

It is unclear whether the AMG variant would arrive in Australia at the same time as the rest of the new GL range, which Mr Stamoulis confirmed will be here from late in the first quarter of 2013, probably in GL350 diesel and GL 500 petrol forms.

Australia is a strong market for AMG variants, with sales of the performance cars here making up a higher proportion of sales than the global average.

4 center imageMr Stamoulis said five per cent of all M-Class sales traditionally were of the AMG, a new version of which goes on sale this month from $177,900.

The previous-generation GL, which first went on sale in 2006 before getting a mechanical upgrade in March last year, was not offered as an AMG, making the new model the first of its kind.

Mercedes-AMG GmbH chairman Ola Källenius said the new GL63 AMG completes the company’s performance-oriented all-wheel-drive offerings.

“In addition to the ML63 AMG all-rounder and the recently unveiled, characterful G63 AMG and G65 AMG models, the GL63 AMG places particular emphasis on dynamism and style,” he said.

“Combining the first-rate comfort of the S-Class with the performance of an AMG sports saloon, the GL63 AMG is unique in its segment.”

Despite its gargantuan proportions – roughly the same size as a Nissan Patrol – the AMG can be hustled from zero to 100km/h in just 4.9 seconds on its way to an electronically governed top speed of 250km/h.

The engine is matched as standard to a seven-speed AMG Speedshift semi-automatic transmission channelling power through a 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive system that favours the rear axle 60:40.

Fuel-conserving measures including idle-stop, electromechanical speed-sensitive steering and demand-responsive control of all ancillary units keeps consumption to 12.3 litres per 100km on the combined cycle – ten per cent better than the existing 285kW/530Nm GL500.

The big GL gets a host of dynamic tweaks courtesy of AMG including air-controlled sports suspension, special adaptive dampers, automatic levelling control and active roll stabilisation to reduce bodyroll in corners.

Behind the titanium grey 21-inch alloy wheels are high-performance ventilated and perforated disc brakes measuring 390mm at the front and 345mm at the rear.

Cosmetically, the car is differentiated from its lesser sibling by flared wheelarches, twin chrome tailpipes, glossy black grille inserts, a larger front apron to help cooling, revised lower air intakes and LED daytime-running lamps in the front-side air openings.

Inside, the car gets seven AMG genuine leather sports seats with special topstitching, Artico artificial leather inserts on the dash, door panels and armrests, a flat-bottomed steering wheel with aluminium shifter paddles, and a revised AMG instrument cluster.

Other standard equipment includes parking assist, bi-Xenon headlights, collision prevention system, automatic tailgate, panoramic sunroof, keyless start, seat massagers, three-zone climate-control and ‘Crosswind Assist’ to aid stability at high speeds.

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