This veteran off-roader from Mercedes gets more power than it could ever need

Our Verdict

Mercedes-AMG G 63
The G 63 replaces the old supercharged G 55 as the most powerful, quickest and most expensive version of the venerable G-class 4x4

The replacement for the G 55 is powerful and fast - with a price tag to match

  • First Drive

    Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG

    This veteran off-roader from Mercedes gets more power than it could ever need
15 May 2012

What is it?

After 33 years, most cars have either been consigned to history or the crusher. Not so the Mercedes G-class. Launched in 1979 and originally conceived for use by United Nations forces, the G-class has just undergone its most extensive facelift to date. And the changes include the arrival of a new G63 AMG model, complete with a twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 petrol engine and seven-speed automatic gearbox.

Successor to the flamboyant G 55 AMG, this odd mix of contemporary driveline engineering and old-world, military-grade ruggedness packs supercar levels of reserves and a soundtrack to match. According to Mercedes, the G 63 AMG will hit 62mph in just 5.4sec and run to a governed maximum of 130mph.

What's it like?

Its rabid straight-line acceleration is made all the more memorable by 
an elevated driving position that places you well above most other 
road users. With 20-inch wheels 
shod with generous 275/50 tyres, traction is plentiful, even in the worst weather conditions.

Unfortunately, the rest of the driving experience is decidedly old school. At typical motorway speeds there is a high degree of wind noise. With three differentials and separate low-range gearing, you also get a fair bit of shunt through the complex driveline. And the steering, an ancient recirculating ball system, is woefully indirect and weighted inconsistently. 

Without the roll-reducing hydraulic stabiliser bars used on other Mercedes off-roaders, the G 63 AMG is prone to excessive levels of lean, too. Even at moderate speeds you 
end up approaching bends with a healthy dose of caution.

All of which could perhaps be forgiven if the most sporting of all G-class models rode with some degree of aplomb. But it doesn’t. Its stiffened suspension results in what can best be described as a firm ride. But with an old-fashioned Panhard rod suspension and ladder-frame chassis structure, it’s little wonder.

Despite boasting all the latest in fuel-saving technology – including automatic stop-start – it’s also a thirsty beast, returning just 20.5mpg on the combined cycle.

Should I buy one?

But all of these deficiencies are unlikely to dissuade buyers. With a price set to be close to £120,000, the G 63 AMG will be bought primarily 
on image grounds. 

By modern standards, the G 63 AMG is a dinosaur. But despite all of its dynamic shortcomings, it is a real event to drive. Like the old G 55 AMG, it is a unique car for a special type of customer – those with plenty of disposable income, a desire for exclusivity and perhaps a need to stand out from the crowd. And for those seeking even more, there’s the even more outrageous G 65 AMG, although that won’t be sold in the UK.

Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG

Price: £120,000 (est); 0-62mph: 5.4sec; Top speed: 130mph (governed); Economy: 20.5mpg (combined); CO2: 322g/km; Kerb weight: 2475kg; Engine: V8, 5461cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power: 536bhp at 5500rpm; Torque: 560lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox: 7-spd automatic

Join the debate

Comments
12

15 May 2012

This is fabulous. On paper, I'll admit it's crud. But if we did everything 'on paper', we'd all live in Kilmarnock, marry low maintenance munters, have mopeds and eat microwave meals all the time. This car is excessive and over the top, and that's what it's all about. I'd love one of these, but I think I'd wait for the '65 AMG' version.

R32

15 May 2012

The G63 AMG is €137,504 in Germany and the LHD-only G65 AMG is a frankly ludicrous €264,000 though it does have a 612bhp V12 lurking under the bonnet... God knows what the G65 would cost if sold here.  £250,000 wouldn't be an unreasonable guess.

 

 

15 May 2012

It's annoying that we can no longer quote each other's posts when discussing a new car.

R32

15 May 2012

"It's annoying that we can no longer quote each other's posts when discussing a new car."

 

Looks like we'll all have to use good old cut n paste from now on.

15 May 2012

I can't be arsed with doing that all the time, R32. Sad

R32

15 May 2012

Fidji wrote:

I can't be arsed with doing that all the time, R32. Sad

 

The quote link seems to be working now.

15 May 2012

R32 wrote:

Fidji wrote:

I can't be arsed with doing that all the time, R32. Sad

 

The quote link seems to be working now.

So it does. I still don't like the new forum though.

15 May 2012

For the undiscriminating few, filthy rich and in a need of standing out from the small crowd of the filthy rich. The oil sheyks will order theirs in opulent white with solid gold replacing the chromed bits. And still, the registration plate will cost much more than the pimped ride...

 

16 May 2012

Makes you wonder if Landrover are missing a trick here with its defender, after all despite its 50 year old styling at least has a 'modernish' drive train with coil springs all round...

About time Landrover had its own eqiv to AMG too!

21 May 2012

I feel that the Mercedes G class was a great vehicale for a long time but it feel short of the Range Rovers in some fields. To short. Such as the luxary equipment. The current G class and Range Rover, they both have  cooled and heated from seats, heated rear seats, rear veiw camera, and more. But the Range Rover has an option for 5-view camera, heat and cooled rear seats, reclined rear seats, and it also has better ride quality. Also it dosen't have blind-spot control or adaptive cruise control. I know all this from experience beacuse when my parents looked at a new car for my mother they only looked at the Mercedes G class and Range Rover, I don't know why but. My mother ended up getting a Range Rover because it had much more luxary features, drove and handled better, and braking distance was much shorter. So now my family has a 2011 Range Rover supercharged but my mom hated the side grill the supercharged had so she got the HSE LUX side grill and rims. Grrrr. Anyways I love both cars but I feel that the G class is more agressive, but the Range Rover is agressive, elegant, and very comfortable. Just my preference,

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