You’ve probably heard the expression “respect”, which has become ever so popular in modern lexicon among those born in this millennium. It has to do with street-kudos and a little bit of “in-your-face boasting”. Well, that is exactly what you get when you drive the new Mercedes-AMG G63 Wagon, respect and a lot of disapproving glances that hide exorbitant levels of envy.
I’ve always loved the G-Wagon. With its boxy appearance (more or less the same since 1979), exposed spare wheel and prominent indicator lights, this original looking SUV was never one to be missed. It reminded me of the kid that is too cool for school. And it probably was: it has won the Paris-Dakar Rally, served as a means of transport for the Pope and regularly wins reader votes as an automotive styling icon.
The newest AMG version is 53 mm longer and 120 mm wider than before but apart from that, it keeps most of the exterior elements so loved by its fans, including the door hinges on the outside, prominent indicator lights and the AMG-specific radiator grille, flared wheel arches, side pipes on the exhaust system and the 22-inch wheels withed brake callipers and perforated brake discs. Totally bad arse.
The interior on the other hand has undergone a complete redesign and it is now as luxurious as one would expect from a Merc with a six-figure price tag. I really like the red stitching on the black leather that goes on the steering wheel, seats, dashboard, doors and centre console, along with red seat belts. This look goes well with the very sporty steering wheel with flattened lower section and works with the classic open-pore wood trim.
I was very pleased to see that the grab handle in front of the co-driver seat is still there…– Julia Pasarón
This look goes well with the very sporty steering wheel with flattened lower section and works with the classic open-pore wood trim. The climate-controlled seats are ergonomically designed and provide lateral support for extra comfort. On top of it, there is an option that includes several kinds of back massage!
Numerous design features from the exterior have been brought into the interior, such as the shape of the round now LED headlamps, which is reflected in the side air vents; or the design of its archetypal indicators, replicated in the loudspeakers. I was very pleased to see that the grab handle in front of the co-driver seat is still there. Not only it is an iconic feature of the car, but for the serious off-roading this beast can take on, you’ll need it.
From a tech point of view, the new AMG G 63 comes with the latest in driving assistance systems and a large display showing virtual instruments in the driver’s direct field of vision with a central display above the centre console as an option. The touch-sensitive Touch Controls on the steering wheel respond to swiping motions in the same way as the surface of a smartphone, so you don’t have to take your hands off at all.
Connectivity is provided by the infotainment system COMAND Online included as standard. Smartphones connect automatically, which is a blessing. I have found myself many times in the past swearing under my breath at control panels unable to connect my phone to the stubborn things. CarPlay® and Android Auto™ can also be used and if you prefer, you can switch interfaces on the screen.
My teenage kids particularly loved the Burmester® surround sound system with 15 speakers and a 590 watt amplifier. The listening experience is particularly remarkable in the low bass range, as I was able to check by myself during two hours of Stormzy.
Mechanically, the improvements are mainly in the vehicle rigidity and the connections between the suspension and drivetrain with the ladder-type frame. The 9GTRONIC automatic transmission boasts new software that reduces the shift and response times, making the driving quieter and more comfortable.
The AMG G63 glided through half a metre of water as if it was a little puddle on the street…– Julia Pasarón
Needless to say, the car goes like a dream (0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds). Equipped with five DYNAMIC SELECT on-road driving modes, however you like your driving to feel, you got it. Off-road you have three options: “Sand”, “Trail” and “Rock”. The car feels as agile and comfortable on the motorway as it does off-road, where the AMG G 63 really comes to life.
The basis for its performance is provided by a 585 hp, 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine and the rear-biased all-wheel drive (40:60). As soon as one of the three differential locks has been activated or the LOW RANGE off-road reduction gear has been engaged, the car automatically changes to “G-mode” to ensure optimum control and maximum off-road capability.
We took it to the country to put it through its paces. We crossed streams that were over half a metre deep, and thanks to the foil cladding on the interior of the side and rear doors not a single drop of water made it into the cabin. Straight after we pushed it along a bank that I was told has a gradient of 27° and the G 63 felt completely stable. With the Trail mode activated, the traction driving through mud was fantastic, with excellent steering feedback and no hesitation.
The AMG 63 may not be for everyone, but it will steal the limelight wherever it goes. Respect.
OTR from £146,490