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Mercedes AMG G63 First Drive Review: It's a G-Thing

Mercedes has given its ridiculously fast and ludicrously expensive modern icon a thorough makeover.

Mercedes AMG G63 First Drive Review: It's a G-Thing
Photo: AutoToday

At some point during my time with the Mercedes-AMG G63, I started wondering the point to it. Despite the fact that fast SUVs are very much in vogue, the G63's existence still beggars belief. Mercedes-AMG has enough of those in its lineup, ten to be precise if you count all the body styles and engine variations. Why then did the company feel the need to create what is essentially a brick which can do 0-100kmph in just 4.5s? Well, if you're reading this thinking I will have a convincing answer to that question by the end of this write-up then spoiler alert, I won't. But I will try to tell you what makes the Mercedes-AMG G63 so special.

The G-Wagen started out as a utilitarian vehicle for the military in the late 1970s. Over the decades, Mercedes-Benz has retained the original's design. But if you think that that made the life for the design department easy, well think again. It is more than just a simple copy-paste job. Take the front turn indicators for instance. They cost around five times more because of modern safety regulations that require them to sink back into the body in case you end up hitting a pedestrian. Although the turn signal will be the least of my worries if I had a 2.5tonne brick hurtling toward me! The door hinges and handles also hark back to the original and closing the door takes a fair amount of strength. All this adds to the old school charm of the G-Wagen. Features like all LED headlamps and LED tail lamps and AMG's signature Panamericana front grille seem to be the few contemporary bits around.

The vertical sidewalls of the car aren't just a styling aspect. They originate from the need to seat three soldiers abreast in full military garb without their helmets hitting each other as the vehicle went over the toughest of terrains. Speaking of the interior, the cabin of the G63 is a total contrast to the old-world exterior. The dashboard is straight out of a modern-day Mercedes complete with a dual screen setup housing a customizable instrument panel. The steering gets touch control buttons that let the driver access the COMAND infotainment setup and customize the instrument panel. The quality levels on display are exemplary and feel solid enough to do justice to the G's "Stronger Than Time" tagline.

A 4.0-liter twin turbo V8, the same one that does duty on the likes of the AMG GT R, C63, and E63, replaces earlier G63's 5.5-liter twin turbo V8. Despite the reduction in size, power and torque figures have gone up to 585bhp and 850Nm respectively making this 2.5tonne behemoth frighteningly fast. 0-100kmph comes up in just 4.5 seconds! Sounds like numbers one would usually associate with a sports car. A 9-speed AMG gearbox handles transmission duties and can be controlled via paddle shifters if you so desire. The G63's green credentials are given a boost with cylinder deactivation system that cuts off cylinders two, three, five and eight for increased fuel efficiency. Mercedes and AMG engineers deserve a pat on their backs for making a car this big and heavy handle the way it does. Of course, it's no corner-carver, but it does not feel as scary as I had expected it to when pushing it hard. While the G63 can hit a top speed of 220kmph, you will have to contend with the Government mandated sound alarm above 120kmph that annoyingly cuts off audio and a 'maximum speed exceeded" message takes up permanent space on the instrument panel. While I doubt anyone buying a 2 crore plus SUV will venture off the road, but if the owner does decide to partake in such activities, the car has him/her covered with differential locks and off-road modes.

I, for one, firmly believe that things like driving dynamics, off-road abilities, and other serious stuff are irrelevant to a car like the Mercedes-AMG G63. Because one has to be daft to buy one of these if they wish to head out to the track or tackle challenging trails. Not that it won't be fun doing that in the G, but there are better options available for each of those purposes. The reason to buy one of these is the indestructible feeling you get every time you step inside, the sense of occasion it offers with each drive, the glorious V8 soundtrack and the old world charm the G63 affords without compromising modern day features.

Verdict

The Mercedes-AMG G63 is one of those cars that you buy because you want to. It is a modern day car wrapped in an old-school body that can do things one would expect from a sports car. It has immense road presence that very few cars can match. It can do silly numbers, has cool looking side pipes and an intoxicating V8 soundtrack. But all that does come at a price. At Rs 2.19 crore (ex-showroom), the G63 is ridiculously expensive though. And that is before you start ticking the options list.

Written by Dhruv Saxena

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