What's the news?
Barely have we had time to digest the news of an all-new Mercedes-Benz G-Class than the storming AMG version is announced. This, then, is the Mercedes-AMG G 63 and it will be starring at the Geneva Motor Show, ahead of order books opening later in March. First deliveries of this ultra-rapid SUV should be in the summer.
Like any AMG, the G-Class gets the traditional signifiers of this performance marque - such as an AMG-specific radiator grille, AMG bumpers and lower front air intake, flared wheel arches, 'V8 Biturbo' badging, red brake callipers and alloy wheels of 21 or 22 inches in size. Options will include the AMG Night Package, which tints the headlamps, taillights, indicator lenses and all the glasshouse aft of the B-pillar in a darker shade. More black is then used on further details to complete the look.
As standard, the Mercedes-AMG G 63 has all its lights in 'LED High Performance technology', but Multibeam LED headlamps are optionally available, which use 84 individually-controlled LEDs to provide maximum illumination at all times, without dazzling other road users in the Merc's light field. Adaptive High-Beam Assist Plus is also a part of this package.
Furthermore, Mercedes-AMG says the new G-Class's body is much more rigid in torsion than that of the old model, resulting in the new G 63 being 55 per cent stiffer at 10,162Nm per degree. That should improve the big Merc's on-road driving manners no end, while preserving its legendary off-road status - seeing as it still uses an old-fashioned, body-on-ladder-frame-chassis construction.
More AMG giveaways are to be spotted within the G 63, although your eyes might first be drawn to the (optional) fully digital Widescreen Cockpit with virtual instrumentation. This is a feature drawn from the E- and S-Class siblings, and it sees two 12.3-inch TFT displays presented behind a single glass cover. Those AMG hallmarks, by the way, include a new AMG Performance steering wheel in Nappa leather, which is flat-bottomed and now features both touch-sensitive infotainment control pads and the buttons for the cruise control/Distronic active cruise.
On a pragmatic note, the increase in the G-Class's physical size has improved passenger room in the cabin in every dimension. Front legroom (+38mm), rear legroom (+150mm), front shoulder-room (+38mm), rear shoulder-room (+27mm), front elbow-room (+68mm) and rear elbow room (+56mm) are all increased, providing additional comfort for occupants of the Mercedes-AMG. There are 40:20:40 split rear seats, too, and ergonomically enhanced seats with the option of Active Multicontour Seat package (climate seats with a massage function and fully electric adjustment in all directions).
The Mercedes-AMG G 63 has lost some capacity in the transition to the new model, the old 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 being replaced with the 4.0-litre biturbo that is seeing service in almost every AMG product that sits above the A-Class. Here, it develops more power than the old G 63's unit, delivering 585hp at 6,000rpm, which is ably backed up by a whopping 850Nm of torque, available from 2,500- to 3,500rpm. That means, despite the G 63's considerable bulk of around 2.5 tonnes, it can thunder from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds, before being electronically limited to 220km/h (240km/h with the AMG Driver's Package).
It achieves such blistering performance courtesy of 4Matic all-wheel drive with a 40:60 rear bias, the AMG Speedshift TCT 9G nine-speed automatic transmission and AMG Ride Control suspension with adaptive damping, which keeps the body in check during rapid acceleration and cornering. Brilliantly, the G 63 has a side-exit exhaust, the pipes emerging from beneath the rear door - and Mercedes-AMG says it will have the 'typical AMG V8 sound', i.e., wonderful. On the flip-side of all this power and noise, the V8 can shut off half of its cylinders when required, leading to official eco-stats of 13.2 litres/100km (21.4mpg) and 299g/km CO2; not the greenest of figures, granted, but this is a 2,500kg, 585hp G-Class, when all is said and done.
Mercedes-AMG also reckons the G 63 will be as good off-road as it is on it, as it has all the low-range reduction gear and locking differentials of the regular model, plus huge suspension travel of 82mm rear spring compression and 142mm rebound, with 241mm of ground clearance in total.
Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG, said: "The new AMG G 63 brings driving performance to the segment of unadulterated off-road vehicles in unexpected form. It was important for us to tie in with the original character on account of the cult status the G 63 enjoys with our customers and fans. The vehicle has nevertheless reached a completely new dimension in terms of technology with the 4.0 litre V8 biturbo engine as well as in combination with the off-road characteristics, the agility and the vehicle dynamics achieved. This applies to the entire G Class model series. Mercedes-AMG is responsible for their suspension and chassis development as well as V8 competence."
Further to all of the above, and in common with AMGs that have gone before, a limited Edition 1 special model - featuring special design features inside and out, plus additional equipment - will be made available in certain markets.