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.