Status Apparatus: A Shopping Suggestion for the Recently Drafted Athlete
Congratulations! You’ve just been picked 127th in the NFL/NBA/NHL draft! There’s a jersey and a big, fat contract with your name on it. Now then, how will you spend your newfound fortune and let everyone back home know that you made it? An expensive luxury SUV ought to do the trick, but which is right for you? Never fear, we’re here to help.
You’ve narrowed it down to the all-new Range Rover Supercharged or the Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG. Both offer big power, lots of luxury, plenty of space, and that all-important gravitas that lets the haters know they were wrong. Sure, there are a few obvious differences. The Rover is clearly a better off-road vehicle (as if that matters), and the Benz has more seats (unless you go for the — gasp! — cheaper Range Rover Sport). The big Benz costs more as it sits, but the Range Rover offers an Autobiography edition that will get that price tag nice and high, if you really need to show the other guys in the locker room just how much the GM thinks you’re worth.
But what about nitty-gritty stuff? The window sticker won’t tell you, for example, that these two accelerate nearly identically. It was a surprise to us as well. The GL63 certainly looks bigger and heavier, and it is, measuring 5.8 inches longer and 245 pounds heavier. Then again, it also packs 40 more horsepower and 99 more lb-ft of torque, and they get the job done. The GL63 reaches 60 mph in 4.7 seconds to the Rover’s 4.6, and both run the quarter mile in an identical 13.1 seconds at 108.3 mph. From behind the wheel, the Range Rover feels lighter and significantly quicker, but a drag race confirmed the two are door-to-door all the way through. The real winner here is the GL63’s angry exhaust note, which we very much enjoyed. The Rover just sounded wimpy by comparison, which is sad considering its friends around the corner at Jaguar know how to make this engine sound fantastic. If you want the quieter vehicle, the Rover’s your bag.
Counterintuitively, the bigger, heavier GL63 stops much shorter, needing only 104 feet to halt from 60 mph compared with the Rover’s 118. It’s astounding that a 5800-pound vehicle can stop so quickly. For reference, the Corvette 427 Convertible we tested last year needed 101 feet. (Note: It had the standard steel brakes, not the optional carbon-ceramic brakes.)
The sticker also won’t tell you that these two luxury heavyweights are well-matched in handling. Here again, we were surprised by the numerical results because the bigger, heavier GL63 pulled 0.86 g average on the skidpad to the Rover’s 0.79. The lighter, nimbler Rover clawed its way back on the figure eight, posting a 26.7-second lap at 0.71 g average to the GL63’s 26.8 seconds at 0.69 g average. As with acceleration, the numbers show a closer match than the driving impressions imply.
On the road, the Rover felt more top-heavy than the GL63, which seemed to beat the road into submission. Despite the greater body roll, the Rover felt quicker through the corners, and more carlike. The AMG is no slouch, of course, but it just doesn’t feel like it can quite keep up with the sprightly Rover. Both vehicles’ steering was similarly quick but light, and offered little, if any, feedback. Brakes were comparable in feel, though the Rover again felt lighter and more confident in a hard stop. While both vehicles feature air-sprung suspension, the ride quality in the Rover was superior, approaching some of the better luxury cars.
If your primary concern is how your shiny new status symbol drives, then we recommend the Range Rover. Depending on where you shiny new mansion is located, that may or may not be a concern, and if you’re the luxury high-rise type, you might be more interested in the amenities you’ll be using on your way to the practice facility. Here, Mercedes-Benz’s familiar COMAND infotainment system gains an edge. It’s not the best system on the market, but it’s better than the Rover’s. Land Rover‘s system has improved over the past couple of years, but it’s still layered, difficult to navigate, and slow to respond compared with, say, your iPhone. On the plus side, it’s connected to a fabulous Meridian audio system that pumps out incredible volume and sound quality.
COMAND isn’t the only familiar kit inside the GL63. You’ll notice quite a bit of parts-sharing. The whole center stack is no different from what you can find in the appropriately optioned C-Class your agent’s assistant drives. The instrument cluster, meanwhile, is shared with every other AMG model on the market. That’s great if you love the way Mercedes-Benz does its interiors, but it feels less special than the Range Rover’s, which shares none of its parts with significantly less expensive models such as the Evoque or LR2. This was a common complaint against the GL63: It just doesn’t feel significantly more special than a GL550.
One bit we wish the GL63 would’ve gotten from elsewhere in the family is the front seats. We’re big fans of the seats in cars like the SL63, but we found the ones in the GL63 less comfortable and less functional. Another point for the Rover here. Moving to the back, though, things get more complicated. We like the Rover’s power-adjusting rear-seat backrests and the power lumbar setting, not to mention the snazzy remote-controlled entertainment system. The GL63 wins hands-down, though, when it comes to cargo handling. The power third-row seats move much more quickly than the painfully slow Rover’s power second row. The GL63’s manual second row, meanwhile, easily folds flat or tucks and tumbles like a Cirque du Soleil star to allow for easy access to the third row. Yes, the Range Rover Sport will have a third row, but it won’t be as spacious or as easy to access.
You’ve got yourself a tough call here, rookie. Both are very good SUVs, very luxurious, and very able to communicate your newfound success to anyone you pass. Neither is perfect, though, with the Range Rover suffering from a troublesome infotainment system and the GL63 deficient of features. We’re going to recommend you go with the more luxurious Range Rover Supercharged with its longer list of features and better ride and driving experience. Your agent can handle our finder’s fee.
Winner! 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged
|2013 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged||2013 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, 4WD||Front-engine, AWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Supercharged 90-deg V-8, aluminum block/heads||Twin-turbo 90-deg V-8, aluminum block/heads|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||305.1 cu in/4999 cc||333.3 cu in/5461 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||510 hp @ 6000 rpm||550 hp @ 5250 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||461 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm||560 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm|
|REDLINE||6500 rpm||6300 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||10.9 lb/hp||10.5 lb/hp|
|TRANSMISSION||8-speed automatic||7-speed automatic|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Control arms, air springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, air springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar||Control arms, air springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, air springs, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F;R||15.0-in vented disc; 14.4-in vented disc, ABS||15.4-in vented, drilled disc; 13.6-in vented, drilled disc, ABS|
|WHEELS||9.5 x 21-in, cast aluminum||10.0 x 21-in, cast aluminum|
|TIRES|| 275/45R21 110W
M+S Goodyear Eagle F1
| 295/40ZR21 111Y
Continental ContiSportContact 5
|WHEELBASE||115.0 in||121.1 in|
|TRACK, F/R||66.5/66.3 in||66.0/66.8 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||196.8 x 78.1 x 72.3 in||202.6 x 84.3 x 72.8 in|
|GROUND CLEARANCE||8.2-11.9 in||0.0 in|
|APPRCH/DEPEART ANGLE||26.0-34.7/24.6-29.6 in||00.0/00.0 deg|
|TURNING CIRCLE||40.4 ft||40.7 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||5542 lb||5787 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||50/50%||52/48%|
|TOWING CAPACITY||7716 lb||7500 lb|
|HEADROOM, F/M/R||39.3/39.2/— in||41.2/40.0/38.9 in|
|LEGROOM, F/M/R||39.1/40.2/— in||40.3/38.5/35.0 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/M/R||60.7/59.4/— in||58.5/58.3/50.5 in|
|CARGO VOL BEHIND F/M/R||71.7/32.1/— cu ft||93.8/49.4/19.7 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|0-30||1.7 sec||1.8 sec|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||2.3||2.3|
|QUARTER MILE||13.1 sec @ 108.3 mph||13.1 sec @ 108.3 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||118 ft||104 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.79 g (avg)||0.86 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.7 sec @ 0.71 g (avg)||26.8 sec @ 0.69 g (avg)|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1600 rpm||1700 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$114,930||$128,030|
|AIRBAGS||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, driver knee||Dual front, f/m side, f/m/r curtain front knee, driver knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 mi||4 yrs/50,000 mi|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 mi||4 yrs/50,000 mi|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||4 yrs/50,000 mi||Unlimited|
|FUEL CAPACITY||27.7 gal||26.4 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY ECON||13/19 mpg||13/17 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||259/177 kW-hrs/100 mi||259/198 kW-hrs/100 mi|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||1.28 lb/mi||1.33 lb/mi|
|MT FUEL ECONOMY||12.8 mpg||13.2 mpg|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium||Unleaded premium|