X167 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 shown – 612 PS monster with mild hybrid tech, seven seats, 0-100 km/h 4.2 secs

The GLE 63 isn’t the only high-power big SUV that Mercedes-AMG is introducing at the ongoing Los Angeles Auto Show. That’s because Affalterbach has also pulled the covers off an even more massive high-riding, all-paw crossover with more brawn than brains, and that is the new Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4Matic+.

It couldn’t be simpler, the recipe – take all the mechanicals from the GLE 63 and shove them inside a hulking people carrier with room for up to seven seats and more toys than you can shake a stick at. Unlike the GLE, the GLS is only available with the big boy version of AMG’s 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8, which makes a hefty 612 PS from 5,750 to 6,500 rpm and 850 Nm from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm.

Further increasing the engine’s ferocity is a 48-volt EQ Boost mild hybrid system, which uses an integrated starter generator to add 22 PS and 250 Nm of temporary boost under acceleration. All this means that this giant hunk of metal, glass and leather will get from zero to 100 km/h in a blistering 4.2 seconds.

X167 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 shown – 612 PS monster with mild hybrid tech, seven seats, 0-100 km/h 4.2 secs

The mild hybrid system does more than improve performance – it also recuperates kinetic energy, allows the car to coast with the engine off and smoothens the automatic engine start/stop function, and it also assists in idle speed control for the first time, to further save fuel. Despite this, the GLS 63 still swigs fuel at a rate of 11.9 litres per 100 km on the NEDC combined cycle.

All this is mated to an AMG Speedshift TCT nine-speed automatic transmission, as well as an AMG Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system that varies torque distribution from fully rear-driven to a 50:50 ratio front-to-rear. You’ll also find AMG Ride Control+ air suspension with the Adaptive Driving System (ADS+).

This lowers the ride height by 10 mm at speeds above 120 km/h (permanently in the Sport and Sport+ modes) and raises it by 55 mm in the Trail and Sand modes, or at a push of a button. The car also comes with 48-volt AMG Active Ride Control roll stabilisation system, along with AMG speed-sensitive sport power steering and a high-performance braking system with 400 mm front discs, clamped by six-piston callipers.

X167 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 shown – 612 PS monster with mild hybrid tech, seven seats, 0-100 km/h 4.2 secs

Exterior accoutrements include a very upright version of AMG’s trapezoidal Panamericana grille with vertical slats, along with humongous air intakes with an insert inspired by a jet wing. The rear end also gets a large diffuser with integrated quad exhaust exits, and while the car comes as standard with 21-inch alloy wheels, the options list includes rollers that go all the way up to 23 inches in diameter.

Inside, there are AMG front seats upholstered in Nappa leather, along with a flat-bottomed AMG steering wheel optionally available with dedicated controls for various performance settings. Just like the standard GLS, the AMG model is available with either six or seven seats – the former with captain’s chairs for the second row – along with seat heating up to the third row.