The last thing the world probably needs is a go-fast crossover, but that’s what the people demand, and so that’s what we are getting. At the LA Auto Show yesterday, we were introduced to the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63—the AMG-ified version of Benz’s biggest and most luxuriant crossover. It has 603 horsepower, a 48-volt electrical system and... wait. Wait. Good Lord, those wheels!
You all know what a GLS looks like, right? Not too different from most other big crossovers. So let’s zoom in on those wheels on the car on the auto show display stand:
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My God. They did it. They did the AMG monoblock wheel thing, or at least something aesthetically very similar to that. The 1990s are back, and kids, I am here for it. Very good.
The AMG GLS’ good wheels caught the eye of many refined, high-class tastemakers at the auto show on Wednesday:
I don’t want to say the monoblock wheels are the best thing about this car, but let’s be honest. Does another 603 HP mega-luxury SUV really get your heart pounding?
But it’s impressive enough for what it is. As I mentioned earlier, you get 603 HP from AMG’s now-ubiquitous 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine, enough to move this beef boy (the regular GLS 450 weighs about 5,700 pounds) to 60 mph in a sports car-like 4.1 seconds.
You also get Mercedes’ new EQ Boost mild hybrid tech, which is a combined starter motor, alternator and electric motor integrated between the engine and the transmission. In addition to powering the 48-volt system, it adds an additional 21 HP and 184 lb-ft of torque for extra passing power. For the first time ever here, Benz made EQ Boost responsible for idle speed control, allowing for extra fuel savings.
Power goes to all four wheels, predictably, via a nine-speed automatic transmission. It also gets the AMG air suspension with pneumatic self-leveling, active roll stabilization, six driving modes, high-performance brakes and all the other enhancements you’d expect from an AMG model.
It sounds impressive. And if you spec yours without the AMG monoblock wheels, we can’t be friends.