New 2023 Mercedes GLS: AMG 63 version spotted testing

The range-topping GLS performance model is set to receive a mid-life refresh

The current Mercedes GLS was revealed back in 2019, when it replaced the GL-Class at the top of the firm’s SUV sector. A facelifted GLS will soon be with us as we caught it testing last year in Maybach form and now for the first time in AMG 63 guise.

The GLS not only has competition from the BMW X7, Audi Q7, Range Rover and the Porsche Cayenne, but also from pure-electric alternatives such as the BMW iX, Tesla Model X and Mercedes’ own EQS SUV. 

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An AMG version of the GLS has been seen testing on the public road, giving us another look at the huge SUV’s updated design. The front bumper will be bespoke to the AMG 63 with different air intakes below the headlights and a new AMG grille. The headlights themselves may even adopt a darker tint. 

There are side steps on this car, plus a new set of alloy wheels, black wing mirrors and more black detailing where the Maybach model would have chrome. To the rear there’s the signature AMG quad-tip exhaust layout with a diffuser. The rear reflectors are incorporated into the bumper, unlike the separate units on the Maybach GLS. 

Inside, the GLS line-up will be brought into line with Mercedes’ latest models, featuring a new steering wheel with a double spoke design similar to that used in the S-Class luxury saloon. 

The infotainment system will also be upgraded to Mercedes' latest MBUX set-up. We could even see the same portrait-orientated touchscreen that debuted on the S-Class making its way to the SUV. The GLS should receive the latest 'Hey Mercedes' voice assistant tech and upgraded computing hardware. There should also be external cameras to deliver a “see-through bonnet” (similar to the Land Rover Defender’s) to make off-roading and parking easier. 

As for the Maybach model it’ll rival the upper echelons of the luxury SUV genre, against the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls Royce Cullinan. Previous teaser have highlighted a larger grille and potentially new air intakes below. 

The pre-production example was spotted with 22-inch alloy wheels sitting over some unsurprisingly huge brake calipers. There’s also chrome trim on the sills, side windows and door handles. The Maybach D-pillar badge was missing from the test model, but will probably be applied to finished production cars.

Rather than use the same MRAII platform as the current S-Class, the GLS sits on Mercedes’s first generation MRA platform, essentially a stretched variant of the previous GLE model. This means a plug-in hybrid model is unlikely to be introduced with the facelift. Instead of taking on Mercedes’ new AMG E-performance engines, we expect the GLS AMG 63 to adopt a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 which could be tuned to improve on the outgoing car’s 603bhp and 850Nm of torque.

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