Yesterday afternoon I attended the launch of the world’s first dedicated AMG store. Significantly, it was not in Stuttgart or Los Angeles, but downtown Beijing.
Here, next to stores for Balmain, Mont Blanc and Versace, you can walk in off the street into a temple to AMG. On the upper floors you’ll find AMG racing games, helmets that once belonged to Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen as well as all you could ever need to decide which AMG is right for you. And, just to help you in your decision making, you can get into the lift and, accompanied by the roar and rasp of an AMG V8 (so much nicer than Mantovani) descend to the basement car park where a dizzying array of AMG product awaits. Everything from a C-class coupe to a wide choice of SLSs are there for customers to take out onto the capital’s smog-filled streets.
But the real reason for attending was the launch of the AMG version of the G-class. There was an all new G63 into which Mercecedes’ famed 544bhp twin turbo V8 had been fed and very purposeful it looked too. But I was at least as interested in the G-class that was not there.
Spare a moment then to consider the proposition offered by the Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG. This is a Gelandewagen whose design is already 33 years old into which has somehow been squeezed a 6-litre, twin turbo V12 motor. It gives a nice, even 600bhp and its torque output has been limited to 737lb ft because any more than that would melt its driveline.
The sheer, glorious absurdity of this proposition can be seen in the fact that its 0-62mph time is 5.3sec, which is pretty funny in itself for a car weighing 2.5 tonnes, but not half so funny as the fact that it’s nevertheless a single tenth of a second quicker than the G63.
A rather bigger difference between the two is that the G63 will cost around £110,000 when it goes on sale this summer, which sounds like a lot only until you consider the G65 would cost twice as much were it to go on sale.
Its official list price is Euro 222,000 before tax. Unfortunately it appears there was not space for both the V12 and right hand drive so the car will not be officially sold over here. According to AMG boss Ola Kallenius the price "is one of the reasons people will buy it. They just want the ultimate in every way."
In the admittedly rarefied world of AMG G-classes that is precisely what they’ll be getting.