Why should supercars have all the fun

Written by Roudra Bhattacharya | Updated: Jul 26 2014, 08:20am hrs
Is there really any need for a supercar-thrashing 557 bhp full-sized luxury SUV That was the one big question on my mind when I was given the keys to Mercedes-Benzs new fire-breathing GL63 AMG for the weekend. I was left pondering over the existence of this car; the sheer size and weight of the 7-seater does not make it ideal for crazy off-roadingno, there is the shorter wheelbase G63 AMG for that. Then again, for that much power on the racetrack you would prefer a lower-slung sedan/sports car with better centre of gravity that you could throw into corners at high speeds.

These are one of those rare times that I admit I found no answers; in fact, the GL63 AMG taught me that one may not seek rational explanations every time. Simply put, the GL63 is all about superiority on the roadlike the boss among the bad boys, or a mafia don who wants to teach his Range-Rover-driving rival a thing or two about cars. The GL63 looks mean yet has the curves to justify taking it out for the weekend date, plus it is German, so you know there are enough party gimmicks like adjustable air suspension and a parking assistant with multiple cameras.

You may fret about the stiff suspension, or the abysmally low fuel economy, but there is a cure for all that. It is called torque, and at 760 Nm, the pill is best served with the right foot on the race pedal pressed all the way down. The moment the hand-assembled 5.5-litre bi-turbo AMG engine is prodded, out comes the lovely V8 burble and you race towards the electronically limited 250 kmph speed0-100 takes just about five seconds, so dont be surprised if you take a look at the speedometer. The AMG Speedshift Plus 7-speed transmission makes gearshifts a breeze, even if you choose to change gears yourself with the paddle shifts. On a straight road, I always found myself itching to push the pedal just to hear that lovely sound. While the stiff AMG suspension made bad roads even worse, where it helped was cornering and stability that, for a heavy SUV, was just brilliant.

The interiors of the GL63 have subtle changes to remind one that this machine is of a higher breed. The moment you step in you notice the 320 kmph top-speed mark on the speedometer, then comes the AMG Performance 4-spoke steering wheel with what I particularly lovethe flattened bottom. As if a word of caution, you would notice the AMG badging at a lot of places, like the door sills, mats, seats and the instrument panel. While the ample leather inside underlines the luxury, the fully-adjustable sports bucket seats at the front and brushed stainless steel pedals help with the racer look. On the outside, the GL63 has large air intakes at the front and quad-exhausts at the back that help the big engine breath easy.

While this is probably the wildest vehicle you could buy if big, brutish SUVs are your thing, what I feel it misses out on is a navigation system. Mercedes does provide one with most models and it is useful if you go out of town a lot, and so one wonders why it is not present in this carmaybe because it is imported fully-built from the US. Otherwise, at R1.7 crore, you can spoil yourself silly with the GL63.