WHILE the all-new Mercedes-Benz G-Class has given Germany’s cult-hero off-roader a new lease of life, Mercedes-AMG has given it a hefty serving of steroids. Behold, the Mercedes-AMG G63, in all its ostentatious glory.
Under the bonnet is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 – the same M178 V8 that you’ll find in the C63, E63, and powering other longitudinally-engined AMG product. And while that engine is minus 1.5 litres of displacement relative to the old G63’s 5.5-litre twin-huffer V8, power has increased to 430kW and 850Nm – representing jumps of 10kW and 90Nm.
Amazingly, that’s metrics still aren’t enough to make the new-gen G63 the most powerful G-Class, with the previous-gen G65’s 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 generating 463kW and 1000Nm in its most powerful iteration.
Underneath the skin is a ladder-type frame chassis made from high-strength steel, a bodyshell made of steel and aluminium mounted atop, with a double wishbone independent front suspension setup, and adaptive adjustable dampers on each corner.
The G-Class uses a rear-biased all-wheel drive system with a 40:60 front-to-rear torque split, and comes fitted with a nine-speed automatic transmission as standard.
But just because AMG has gone bananas with power doesn’t mean the G-Class has lost any of its off-road nous. With three locking differentials and a trio of off-road drive modes (sand, trail, and rock) to keep traction in check, the G63 should keep haulin’ hard when the bitumen runs out.
However, rolling on 22-inch wheels might hamper expeditions somewhat.
Performance is impressive considering the G’s two-tonne-plus kerb weight, with a 0-100km/h sprint claim of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 220km/h. Vmax can be stretched to 240km/h with the AMG driver’s package, if doing 220km/h in a 4x4 fails to excite you.
Behind the wheel you can select five different on-road driving modes - Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual.
Kerbside, the G63 can be easily picked apart from a garden variety G-Class thanks to a unique front grille treatment, flared wheel arches, and side-exit exhaust – yes, they’ve kept the side pipes.
Pricing and Australian specifications will be revealed closer to the car’s local launch in the third quarter of this year, but you can expect to pay well in excess of $200,000 to get one into your garage.
You might be reading this and asking yourself, why? Mercedes-AMG knows its market, and with no shortage of customers for the outgoing G63, the company isn’t going to struggle to sell its replacement.
"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,” Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, explained.
“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."