From £135,950
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.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Back to top

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
Add a comment…
Akaldayal 3 March 2013

Always a G wagon

I 've lived in Kenya all my life and first drive a G wagon at 18. I now firmly believe that once you drive a G wagon you will never drive another car with the same satisfaction again. These cars were engineered for the tropical climate and terrain. They are solidly built, easy to work with, reliable and a joy to drive in this part of the world. 

I now own a G500 and own a workshop where I get to drive new Range Rovers, Touregs, m classes, land cruisers, patrols and every 4wd under the sun. From myshort experience with these cars (22 years) I feel that there s no comparison to the G. Once a G wagon driver always a G wagon.

jfang 21 May 2012

My opinion

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,

jfang 21 May 2012

My opinion

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,

Find an Autocar car review