No SUV has the inherent cool issue of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a paradox. It is utilitarian, rugged and boxy. However on the identical time, it is coveted by the wealthy, trendy and well-known, and Mercedes retains arising with ever extra luxurious and highly effective variants to fulfill these patrons, the newest of which is the 2020 AMG G63.

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Epic engineTimeless styleHeroic construct qualityLuxurious inside appointments

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Horrible rideHeinously expensiveAwful ergonomics

This ubertractor has a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 that produces 577 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque — figures befitting a supercar — and routes that energy by means of a chassis that, whereas extra refined than ever, nonetheless feels higher suited to guarding a Slavic border checkpoint than driving on something resembling a twisty highway. It is all very foolish and austere and purposeful. And therein lies the appeal of the G-Wagen: well-dressed lunacy.

The always-lovely 4.0-liter V8 is paired with Mercedes’ nine-speed computerized transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive. Being a G-Class, it additionally has three locking differentials, must you ever determine to enterprise into the tough stuff. (And even then, the G550 is best.)

Given the tall, slender form of the G63 and the glut of energy and torque that it produces, the driving dynamics are greatest described as high quality round city however harrowing at pace. The electro-mechanical rack-and-pinion steering could be very a lot improved over the earlier G’s recirculating-ball setup, however the turning circle, at 44.3 ft, is greatest in comparison with massive boats somewhat than different automobiles.

The experience on the G63 ranges from bouncy and wallowy in consolation to “name my dentist, I’m going to wish some fillings changed,” stiff in Sport Plus, although I believe that a few of this comes all the way down to the colossal 22-inch elective wheels fitted to my tester. Unusually, I discover the candy spot to be in Sport mode somewhat than Regular. It is nonetheless stiff, however comparatively livable and the roads’ sharpest bumps get a few of their edges smoothed out. Braking comes courtesy of some huge ol’ 14.8-inch rotors up entrance and 13-inch rotors within the rear, with six-piston and single-piston calipers to grip them, respectively.

The inside is fantastically appointed, however nonetheless considerably cramped.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Inside, the G-Class is upright, with straight-ish glass and slab-like sprint panels, but it is all lined within the best leather-based and Alcantara. All the pieces is completely stitched and neatly trimmed. You are cosseted in consolation; the cabin is attractive and executed in a means that completely justifies the G63’s six-figure asking worth.

The ergonomics are somewhat bizarre, although, as a result of they’ve to evolve to a really outdated type of SUV with a comparatively small footprint. For instance, the seating place is tremendous excessive. Usually, on an SUV, I would name this a optimistic, however I discover myself unable to regulate the seat all the way down to a place the place my head is not touching the suede headliner. At 6 ft, 4 inches, I am fairly tall, however I am not that tall.

Legroom can be a priority, due to the supply of simply 38.7 inches within the entrance and 39.5 inches within the rear. Regardless of showing large when seen by itself, the G63 is just not that huge of an SUV. The inside borders on cramped at occasions, regardless of providing extra cabin area than its predecessor, however it’s only a sacrifice you make in case you merely should be seen in used-to-be-military {hardware}. Arguably the most effective elements of the inside are the sound the doorways make if you shut them and particularly the sound the door locks make if you arm or disarm the automobile — it is like an enormous rifle being cocked.

US-spec G63s come commonplace with the decrease bumper guard.

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I like the side-hinged rear door and it is useful in parking garages the place the G’s top would possibly make an everyday top-hinged hatch lower than perfect. However this additionally means you’ll be able to’t again in too near a wall or one other automotive, for the reason that door wants further area to swing open. The cargo space is trimmed in comfortable, luxurious carpet and quilted leather-based, too, so it positively retains up the phantasm of luxurious, so long as you need not haul something particularly sensible (or soiled). There’s 38.1 cubic ft of area again right here and you may fold the seats down, as properly.

Sadly, this era of G-Class launched simply earlier than the arrival of Mercedes’ new MBUX tech, so it nonetheless depends on the older COMAND infotainment system on a pair of 12.3-inch shows. In all probability essentially the most disappointing factor in regards to the system is the dearth of a touchscreen, particularly given how shut you sit to the sprint. Nonetheless, Apple CarPlay is alongside for the experience, as is Android Auto, and the voice instructions work properly sufficient. I do love the wonderful Burmester sound system, which is commonplace on the G63.

The G-Class has at all times been costly and the AMG G63 is tremendous expensive, at about $153,000 to start out. My G63, as examined, retails for $182,445 together with $995 for vacation spot. That is a ton of cash for what I’d contemplate a novelty, except you are actually counting on the G for its unmatched off-road functionality and even then, you are in all probability higher off with the less-expensive G550.

This matte olive paint is a $6,500 possibility.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

A good chunk of that as-tested worth comes from the inclusion of the $8,050 G Manufaktur inside package deal, the $6,500 matte olive inexperienced paint, the $4,550 22-inch solid wheels and the $2,200 high pace limiter elimination (which is completely pointless, by the way in which). Nonetheless, I believe that in case you’re the type of purchaser who desires a G63, you in all probability do not care about penny-pinching all that a lot.

Different high-dollar, high-speed opponents embody the Bentley Bentayga, Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid and Mercedes’ personal AMG GLS63, which gives a a lot nicer driving expertise however lacks the G’s inherent cool issue. You might go for a Vary Rover SV Autobiography and get related off-road chops, however once more, a Land Rover simply is not as superior.

I like the G-Wagen, however actually, the ostentatious AMG model strays too removed from the bottom mannequin’s off-roady appeal. I would somewhat get a G550 with the smallest wheels potential and begin including aftermarket equipment till it regarded like I used to be prepared for the Paris-Dakar. The G63 gives loads of thrills, however $153,000 is simply an excessive amount of to pay for a novelty expertise. It seems to be cool, sounds cool and is opulent as hell, however on the finish of the day, I might say the identical a few G550.

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