Brabus G63 is all about the pose and the roar

Subtletly’s not on menu

The Star Early Edition - - MOTORING - DE­NIS DROPPA

THE Mercedes-Benz G-Class is like the Hulk of the car world. That boxy shape looks tough enough to break through cas­tle walls and it’s ca­pa­ble of go­ing just about any­where it pleases, but it has a soft Bruce Ban­ner side in terms of the plush com­fort of its cabin.

Small won­der that the Ge­landewa­gen has be­come such an iconic of­froad ve­hi­cle, amass­ing a ded­i­cated fan base since its launch back in 1979.

Then there’s Brabus, the Ger­man tun­ing firm that’s fa­mous for trans­form­ing Mercs into soc­cer-star spec. It has waved its wand over the G-Class, pimp­ing up the range-top­ping AMG G63 version with a body kit and an an­gry ex­haust, and it’s avail­able for R3-mil­lion at Day­tona, the pur­vey­ors of McLarens, Rolls-Royces and As­ton Martins in South Africa, who more re­cently also be­came the Brabus of­fi­cial agents. Brabus con­ver­sion kits are avail­able as af­ter­mar­ket fit­ment for var­i­ous Mercedes-Benz cars.

The Brabus items on this Ge­landewa­gen com­prise 23” wheels fit­ted with su­per-wide and low-pro­file 305/35 tyres, front bumper add-on, front bumper skirt with day­time run­ning lights, black head­lights, car­bon fi­bre bon­net at­tach­ment, roof spoiler, Brabus badg­ing, and slash-cut sports ex­hausts jut­ting out from un­der the rear pas­sen­ger doors.

And in case this didn’t make the ve­hi­cle stand out enough, our road­test unit was painted bright yel­low just to make sure no one can miss it.

In­side, the treat­ment in­cludes Brabus door lock pins, Brabus-il­lu­mi­nated en­trance pan­els in the doors and boot, and race shift pad­dles that are seem­ingly in­spired by Ninja throw­ing-weapons.

The Brabus kit adds around 600 grand to the price of the stan­dard Mercedes-AMG G63.

There are no changes to the 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, which al­ready pro­duces a snarling 420kW and 760Nm and fires it to the wheels through a 7G-Tronic auto gearshift. But if you feel that’s still limp wristed, you can opt for a Brabus Pow­erX­tra B63-620 chip to hike out­puts to 456kW and 820Nm, for an ex­tra cost of R120 000.

In one sense this is a com­pletely point­less ve­hi­cle. It has a tow­er­ing ride height, per­ma­nent all-wheel drive, a low range trans­fer case, and three diff locks, but the uber low-pro­file tyres en­sure it can’t be driven of­froad. It’s akin to fit­ting knob­bly of­froad tyres to a Fer­rari.

Fit for pur­pose was clearly not part of the de­sign brief here, un­less the pur­pose was in­ten­tion­ally for this ve­hi­cle to be quirky and make lit­tle prac­ti­cal sense.

That said, this big Brabus is a heap of fun and makes pos­si­bly the an­gri­est sound this side of a Nascar. Cus­tomers get to choose whether the ve­hi­cle comes with or with­out a mut­ing flap in the ex­haust that can be opened or closed at the press of a but­ton.

This one came with­out it, and the full juras­sic roar was in full cry all the time. It’s a loud holler that will ir­ri­tate your neigh­bours (if they’re not petrol­heads who ap­pre­ci­ate such sounds) and can frighten hadedas out of trees two blocks away.

There’s ro­bust power be­hind that roar, and this heavy hulk leaps off the line in a man­ner that will em­bar­rass any hot hatch, and a few less-thanalert sport­scar drivers too, with a rated 0-100km/h time of around 5.5 sec­onds.

This much power com­bined with such a high cen­tre of grav­ity re­quires a sub­tle ap­proach in cor­ners, but though it leans like a school bus those ul­tra-wide tyres do pro­vide plenty of grip. They also in­crease the turn­ing ef­fort of this big ve­hi­cle though, and even with power as­sis­tance it takes some mus­cle to turn the steer­ing.

Sub­tlety is not on the menu here. The Brabus G63 is loud and lewd, and a vul­gar dis­play of wealth. With those of­froad-un­able wheels it’s a lu­di­crous thing built not to make sense but just for the sheer joy and pos­ing spec­ta­cle of it. It’s also one of the mean­est-sound­ing ve­hi­cles on the road, and you can’t help but crack a smile when you hear it roar.

With its ex­trav­a­gant plumage and a noise that can be heard from sev­eral blocks away, the Brabus G63 will never go un­no­ticed.

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