Second generation luxury SUV remains rough and rugged
If there was ever an automobile possessing a potential far greater than performing simple urban commuting duties, it would be the Mercedes-AMG G 63. This souped up 4X4, called the Geländewagen in German that is loosely translated as “all-terrain vehicle,” is built to conquer literally any type of motoring environment and the latest iteration lives up to the name. Here’s why.
"The new AMG G 63 brings driving performance to the segment of unadulterated off-road vehicles in unexpected form. It was important for us to tie in with the original character on account of the cult status the G 63 enjoys with our customers and fans,” says Tobias Moers, Mercedes-AMG GmbH CEO.
“The vehicle has nevertheless reached a completely new dimension in terms of technology with the 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine as well as in combination with the off-road characteristics, the agility and the vehicle dynamics achieved. This applies to the entire G-Class model series. Mercedes-AMG is responsible for their suspension and chassis development as well as V8 competence."
Mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox, the engine is more efficient and replaces the thirstier outgoing 5.5-litre eight cylinder, yet produces 33 additional horsepower and a whopping 67 lb-ft extra torque, thanks to advances in both hardware and software. The cylinder deactivation system allows the G 63 to turn off cylinders two, three, five and eight under partial load scenarios, for example cruising on the highway, to lower fuel consumption.
Rather than the previous 50:50 4MATIC all-wheel drive torque split, the current offering is rear 40:60 rear biased providing a sharp handling experience on paved surfaces. Off them, the intelligent multi-plate clutch can behave autonomously to ensure traction is always available, or when the going gets seriously tough the front, centre and rear axle differentials can all be locked individually depending on the need in either LOW or HIGH RANGE mode.
Sitting on a fresh independent double-wishbone/five-link suspension, complimented by AMG RIDE CONTROL adaptive adjustable damping, the ride is quite smooth and comfortable and never too hard, even on uneven surfaces. Three settings may be chosen: Comfort, Sport and Sport+ to tailor response to various needs.
What’s great about the G Class is throughout the years the signature boxy styling is consistently retained, however adding in contemporary innovations whether they be full LED lighting or the use of protective foil cladding inside the doors — that really have to be slammed to close properly, mind you — to prevent water seepage during fording.
In addition, the AMG version features an exclusive upright-slatted polished grille, and aggressive side-mounted twin exhaust pipes poking out below the running boards guaranteed to draw some looks. Speaking of which, even with the (thin) running boards installed, climbing in and out can prove challenging given the overall height measures a lofty 1,966 millimetres.
There’s a stunning attention to detail paid throughout the interior: for example, the two-tone quilted Nappa leather upholstery; carbon fibre trim; D-shaped DINAMICA covered steering wheel, IWC-designed analogue clock, and the G manufaktur-embossed passenger dashboard grab handle signaling the automaker’s bespoke customization program. A 12.3-inch infotainment display and wireless mobile device charging are now standard.
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG G 63 continues to be built out of Austria — however given ongoing supply chain issues as a result of the global pandemic, the brand has indicated the luxury SUV, along with other V8 vehicles in the lineup, will not be produced in the coming model year. Stay tuned for more news to come.
MSRP: $211,900 (base)
Motor: 4.0-litre biturbo V8
Horsepower: 577 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 627 @ 1,300 rpm
Gearbox: nine-speed automatic
Layout: front engine, four-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 19.4 L/100 km mixed city/highway (observed)