If you currently reside in Frankfurt, do me a favour and skip to the next paragraph— I don’t want you getting a fat head. Right, now that they’ve left, there’s something I have to get off my chest; I absolutely love the natural environment outside Germany’s “other” city. The rolling green and rocky trails where we tested the G 500 are a nice contrast to Dubai’s rolling dunes. But even though I’ve had the good fortune to test many of their excellent cars in beautiful environments and, as much as I respect Mercedes for their focus on quality automobiles, I still get confused about which alphanumeric code corresponds to which vehicle. I mean, sure if it says AMG on there I’m all in; but what exactly does a GLK have in common with a G Wagon, aside from the one letter? Part of the problem is my lack of German language skills, as it turns out that the G stands for Geländewagen, which means cross-country vehicle. Despite my limited language skills, Mercedes has my back, packing me off to Oman for time behind the wheel of several of their luxurious, er, Geländewagens.
Mercedes is particularly great at bettering their own designs, and the G 63 AMG hits this mark by achieving improvements in both power and fuel consumption by borrowing the state-of-the-art power train of the superlatively aggressive GL 63 AMG. This system represents a serious milestone AMG customers can enjoy the combined benefits of spray-controlled petrol direct injection, ECO start/stop function and generator management. What that means is that the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine develops a maximum output of 571 hp and a torque of 760 Nm, accelerating from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.4 seconds, with a top speed of 210 km/h (electronically limited). Remember the supercharged SUVs that almost magically perform like sports cars I mentioned before? Like the ML 63 AMG, this is one of them, albeit in a very different package. And that’s actually not the big news in G Wagonland; the new G 65 AMG features an absolute beast of a power plant with its 6.0-litre biturbo engine delivering 630 hp and reaching a maximum torque of 1000 (wow!) newton metres. Merc says this sets a new record in the off-road segment, and I’m inclined to believe them. It’s quite remarkable really, that this renowned off-road vehicle is available in such a powerful iteration. With the right tyres I can almost imagine it scaling Burj Khalifa like Tom Cruise, only without all the ropes and ex-wives.
Part of that sporty feel, comes down to adjustments to the suspension/damper settings in the AMG Sports chassis, which have been adjusted for the more dynamic handling characteristics of this new model. Again, the G 63 passes the rutted road test with flying colours, maintaining a laudably smooth ride over quite bad terrain.
To reduce vibration and noise impacts, the design engineers at Mercedes-AMG have also implemented a wide range of measures to limit noise and vibrations. Optimised bearings in the gearbox, transfer case and engine cut unwanted rumble and tumble to a pleasant minimum, helping ensure a more comfortable ride and generally making the cockpit of the G 63 a more pleasant place to be. It goes without saying that the AMG G 63 will be a huge hit here in the G wagon loving UAE. And while these new rides offer the latest technology, they also stay true to the G series popular aesthetic, albeit with a change here and there. The line receives a new front bumper with large cooling ducts, a double slat front grille, five spoke AMG alloy wheels as well as side exiting exhaust pipes. Not exactly a reboot, but then why mess with success?
With approach, breakover, and departure angles optimized for the trail, the G was able to tackle the steepest grades and deepest ruts that we could find. Each wheel’s copious articulation allows the Merc to apply maximum tyre surface area to four different planes, giving it the appearance of some splay footed animal caught in difficult passage. Except the G isn’t caught. It grips rock, dirt and tree roots alike, sending you on your way under the most challenging off-road circumstances.
The G 500 and AMG G 63 are equipped as standard with an ECO start/stop function that reduces fuel consumption and emissions by switching off the engine when the vehicle is at rest, e.g. in a traffic jam or at traffic lights. As is typical of the G-Class, the new SUV is every bit as rugged as in the past, with the classic body and ladder-type frame, which is sufficiently stiff to handle the G’s increased power. Also retained is the unrivalled off-road performance with permanent all-wheel drive, low-range gearbox and three differential locks that can be engaged/disengaged while on the move.
Mercedes invented ESP, and have only made it better each year— optionally available adaptive damping system is on offer for the G 500, and included with the AMG. The standard suspension setup has been revised with optimised shock absorbers for improved control of body movements and even greater on-road ride comfort. An adapted ESP setup makes enhances driving dynamics and, as a result, increases driving stability and road safety. ASR and ABS have been tweaked too, providing improved traction along with improved stopping distance. The front-axle load capacity has been raised by 100 kg to 1550 kg— possibly to celebrate the arrival of the Four Guys burger chain in the GCC. In addition, the G 500 pilots can option Merc’s new adaptive damping system with Sport and Comfort modes for better agility on-road in Sport mode while maintaining off-road capability and reducing body roll in the corners.
Also worth a mention is the new Edition 463 special model with its exquisite interior, including two-tone instrument panel, two-tone seats in high-quality leather, carbon side bolsters, carbon-look leather and contrasting topstitching, seat and door centre panels in a diamond design, carbon-fibre trim and door pulls in nappa leather. On the outside, a stainless steel underguard, AMG sport stripes, a protective-strip insert in black aluminium look as well as exclusive 53.3 cm forged wheels round out the uber-kitted out vibe of this edition. Can you say tough-guy bling? I knew you could.
So, as most of you know— this is the car that the Dubai’s leader drives, and there’s a reason. It will get you anywhere you need to go with unprecedented style and ability. The guts are as nice as almost any other car out there, and it’s freakin’ fast to boot. Is it for everyone? No, it’s far too exclusive you twit (speaking to myself here, mind you). But what’s so interesting about the G Wagen to me is that it manages to look futuristic and classic at the same time— which is quite a trick if you think about it. I know I’m looking forward to a long future of seeing them out on the road, which, if our region has anything to say about it, will be a long time, indeed.
“Mercedes is particularly great at bettering their own designs, and the G 63 AMG hits this mark by achieving improvements in both power and fuel consumption by borrowing the state-of-the-art power train of the superlatively aggressive GL 63 AMG.” “And that’s actually not the big news in G Wagonland; the new G 65 AMG features an absolute beast of a power plant with its 6.0-litre biturbo engine delivering 630 hp and reaching a maximum torque of 1000 (wow!) newton metres.” “As is typical of the G-Class, the new SUV is every bit as rugged as in the past, with the classic body and ladder-type frame, which is sufficiently stiff to handle the G’s increased power.” Price: 950,000 AED Engine: 6.0-litre biturbo Performance: 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.4 seconds Economy: 17 l/100km, 326 g/km CO2