While slaloming the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 through the twistiest reaches of Mulholland Drive, it might be easy to forget that there’s over eight feet of car behind you, not to mention 3 tons of German metal to share with seven passengers. Massive machines simply shouldn’t be able to dance like this, and the way this behemoth Benz slinks across impossibly curving roads feels like sorcery. But really, it’s all about better living through science.
While most SUVs of this proportion mask their heft through fairly conventional means— shock absorbers that stiffen when necessary, for instance, this AMG-enhanced beast goes one step further. Using an advanced 48-volt electrical system and an adaptive air suspension system, the GLS 63 also actively compensates against roll stabilization using elecro-mechanical actuators. Think of it as adjustable air mattresses combined with an invisible hand that pushes on either side of the car to keep it flat while it’s tossed across the windy roads.
Once you’ve gotten over the GLS’s eerie aptitude for handling, there are no shortage of performance goodies to round out its dynamics. First and foremost, the 4.0-liter V8 beneath that big ol’ hood.
This hand-built engine packs two turbochargers, which is not all that uncommon in this golden age of horsepower. But helping along the seemingly conventional powerplant is yet another modern twist: an integrated electric motor system that adds up to 21 horsepower for