Mercedes-amg G 63

Ex­pen­sive but won­der­ful in ev­ery way. Say hello to your “for­ever car”, says Ben Sa­muel­son.

Shooting Gazette - - The review -

If you had to pick a sin­gle car to last the rest of your life, what would you choose? I al­ways used to think I’d get a 1950s bent­ley r-type Con­ti­nen­tal. Cad­dish from its chrome over-rid­ers to its ta­pered tail, it seats four, is ca­pa­ble of 120mph and would al­low a chap to spend his de­clin­ing years prac­tis­ing his Terry-thomas pro­nun­ci­a­tion of “shower” in vel­vet smok­ing­jack­eted splen­dour. but there is only one car that is ac­tu­ally de­signed specif­i­cally to see out an ex-rac­ing driver shoot­ing en­thu­si­ast and it’s the G 63.

The G-wa­gen, or Gelän­dewa­gen, was orig­i­nally de­signed for the Shah of Iran’s mil­i­tary, but un­for­tu­nately didn’t ar­rive be­fore his en­e­mies came knock­ing. Had he had a G to es­cape in, his­tory might have recorded a hap­pier fate for His Im­pe­rial majesty. And over the past few decades, the G has con­tin­ued in pro­duc­tion, with civil­ian ver­sions gain­ing big­ger engines, but never get­ting away from the car’s util­i­tar­ian roots in terms of driv­ing dy­nam­ics.

This is the first all-new

G since 1979, not that you’d know to look at the thing. The only parts to be car­ried over from the old car are the doorhan­dle but­ton, the sun vi­sors, spare wheel cover, head­light washer noz­zles and a sin­gle bracket deep in the car’s oily bits. Ev­ery­thing else is new. but it looks al­most ex­actly the same: the same Panz­er­like an­gles, even the same in­di­ca­tors sit­ting up on top of the wings, but now de­signed to dis­ap­pear down­wards if you hit some­thing, pos­si­bly among a group of ri­ot­ing civil­ians out­side the gates of your palace.

The inside, how­ever, is very dif­fer­ent, with dou­ble dig­i­tal 12in screens, much more el­bow and shoul­der room for your beefier mates to sit be­side you and even a 590-watt burmester stereo. The seats are trimmed in but­ter-soft leather and ev­ery switch feels like it is ma­chined from bil­let. It also has a lowrange gear­box and a proper lad­der frame chas­sis so it is prac­ti­cally un­stop­pable off-road. When I drove the old one, I said that af­ter a nu­clear war, the only things left mov­ing would be cock­roaches driv­ing G-wa­gens and that feel­ing of in­vin­ci­bil­ity is main­tained in the new car. The only limit is that it doesn’t have air sus­pen­sion so its ground clear­ance isn’t quite the same as the range rover in full tip­py­toes mode and, at 700mm, its wad­ing depth is a lit­tle less too. but the rea­son for not hav­ing air sus­pen­sion prob­a­bly ex­plains the phi­los­o­phy of the G bet­ter than any­thing else. It isn’t there, say the car’s de­vel­op­ment engi­neers, be­cause they can’t make the com­po­nents last 15 years un­der the most ex­treme con­di­tions. Nowhere else do car peo­ple think like that.

On the road, it is a rev­e­la­tion to those who have spent a lot of time in the old one, like

I have. Gone is the re­cir­cu­lat­ing ball steer­ing — now the G has a mod­ern rack-and-pin­ion sys­tem to go with its in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion and mas­sive brakes, which is a good thing as the G 63 is fast. It is not just quick for a 2.5-tonne SUV, it is quick by any stan­dards, with 60mph coming up in just 4.5 sec­onds. That is be­cause the only G cur­rently avail­able in the UK has a mighty 57bhp twin-turbo V8.

It isn’t cheap. but then nei­ther is a top-qual­ity ri­fle and you should buy a G in the same way as a for­ever car. If you wait un­til 2019, you’ll be able to get a diesel, which won’t be as much fun but might make more sense as your for­ever Gun­bus. Score: 4½ out of 5

The AMG G 63 is a rev­e­la­tion on the road.

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