Carbon dating will reveal that after the Unimog, the Gelandewagen is the longest produced Mercedes-Benz in history. It was initially developed as a military vehicle from a suggestion by the Shah of Iran, a significant Mercedes shareholder at that time. Fast forward to current times, it shouldn’t be still alive, this car. But here it is, buzzing and flashing its horns, thanks to some bonkers minds at AMG who’ve injected this Smithsonian relic with a shot of Uranium. Iran and Uranium in a single paragraph?!, we’ve got nothing to do with it.
Images: Chirag Mondal
There it was then, the Mercedes AMG G63 covered in Alien Green or Crazy Colour in Merc lingo. In flesh, this apartment shaped piece of machinery looked like it had been spit straight out of a reactor, beaming dollops of visual radiation which actually is weirdly attractive. Approaching with caution then, checking if the paint was dry, we got our gas masks on and figured some modern history revived with millenial hooliganism was ready to be sampled.
As a visual package, the first impression that the G63 disperses is that of being imposing. There just aren’t any soft curves or marshmallow details; everything nucleates to send an intimidating and powerful message to the senses. Just look at it, the near vertical windscreen, a kilometer thick ridged bonnet, accessorized by old school trafficators which sit right next to the shut line and a mammoth bullguard drenched in chrome. All of them convey just one message, aerodynamics be damned!
Two circular illumination units sit inside a spongebob housing, underlined by DRLs, while a chrome lined rectangular grille houses the big Merc logo flanked by two parallel running individual strips of chrome. You think we were kidding about all the nuclear stuff, notice how the headlamp projector setup is nestled in a mini reactor.
Down below, an all-black glossy bumper houses a large mesh patterned air dam which has two large intakes for company on either sides.
Moving to the sides, the four striking 20″ rubber pillars accentuate the visual mass, hiding red brake calipers behind 5-spoke AMG wheels. Flared wheel arches carry over the glossy black finish from the bumper, while a stainless steel running board helps you climb into the cabin. Climb, literally, yes.
Trying to break the psychedelic monotony is a chunky strip that runs through the waist line, interrupted by old school, push button door handles. A lone air intake vent sits just below the A-pillar, looking down at AMG and V8 Bi-turbo badging beneath it.
The modern looking ORVM looks a bit out of place on the G63, while windows miss out on any outer rubber beading, save for the quarter glass. Oh and the roof is blacked out and looks like it has been thatched onto the bodywork.
Try as you may, you just can’t miss them. Two oval shaped AMG soundmeisters lurk out on each side and add those many brownie points to the eccentricity of the package.
Everything at the rear is ultra conventional. Dominating the landscape is a large spare wheel mounted on the tail gate, which gets a rather squarish glass area and an inversely mounted wash wipe system.
Notice how the hinges for the rear gate are exposed and depending on taste, some might like it, some won’t. Tail lamps, again are traditional and nothing like the LED lined visual bonanza that the new Gen Merc sedans have turned out to be.
A rear fog lamp and reversing light is infused in the rear bumper, G63 and AMG badges take space in a rather damp looking space and old school mud flaps try their best to avoid muddy chocolate from being sprayed over mint.
On the Move
Pack whatever power under the hood, but certain laws of physics are difficult to overcome. A structure like the G63 isn’t supposed to go fast and yet, AMG has showered it with 5.5 liters of twin turbo goodness that packs 544 bhp and 760 NM of earth pulling capability. With such a brew under the hood, it is an odd pairing, really, matched with that kind of bodywork.
Yet the G63 manages to sprint from naught to 100 in 5.4 seconds and wrestling with air where others try and cheat, it will still register a top speed of 210 kph. It must be all about going decently fast in a straight line then, oh yes it is! What happens when you show it some corners then?
For that matter, we chose the wrong road to drive the AMG powered Gelandewagen. Hairpins, S’ and that kind of twisty stuff isn’t where you’d want to take this car to enjoy what it has to offer. Away from the watchful eyes of our editor, who wings on our activities like an IAEA inspector, I slipped off his radar and tried to drive the G63 like one would nut around in an AMG.
Everytime I would try to monster out of a corner, the most intrusive ESP ever fitted to a car would kick in, ask the seatbelt to almost strangle me and cut power until I got the wheels straight. On bends which weren’t as sharp, the G63 would settle into massive understeer, calling for increased amounts of steering to be dialed, almost signalling that it is in the fields where it feels at home.
Settling to understand that this AMG isn’t a road runner, I parked the green goblin at the top of a hill, waiting for the team to catch up behind me. It then took me a couple minutes to figure that the handbrake was a lever and not some button which I kept looking for, which was also when I found switches for low range and not one, not two, but three locking differentials.
Honestly, with that sticky 275/50 section rubber, we weren’t in mood to rappel down the hill, so the G63’s offroading capabilities were ‘restricted’ to crossing some boulder sized rocks and flatten some tall grass in the field to pose against a pristine blue Diwali-day sky on an unusually cold Lonavala morning. During that short stint, the G-Wagen did with ease what the so-called modern SUVs of today would come back limping trying.
One can select between manual, sport and controlled efficiency driving modes, which alter the characteristics of the way this city on wheels drives, but do not expect a sea change. Typical of AMG powered cars, the 7G-Tronic transmission, spits and putters when downshifting and barks slightly when you upshift near the redline.
Brakes are top notch when you call for them and the ride isn’t really supple, but finds a good diplomatic balance. We’d bomb anyone who asks about the fuel efficiency, but with a 96 liter tank, we can tell you that it was half empty after the car had done almost 200 kms. It is just an approximation, but not a figure that is too far off. What sort of halo did this AMG leave us with then? Accompanied by a gnarly cacophony, the G63 is best driven gingerly, not that it won’t go fast, but not all of life’s paths head north.
That is how you stand out from the crowd…
And then you get pushed at the back for showing up looking like that
For you to watch something while everyone else watches you
Sprays a splash on the headlights
Quality of glovebox door felt surprisingly flimsy
Slip a woman’s finger through there and you’d seal all deals
Some glass missing on the G-class
Cabin, bells and whistles
Once you get inside the leather draped cabin, what hits you is the verticality of the environment. Once over that, you start noticing niceties like the contrast stitching that matches the external shade, a flat bottomed AMG wheel and actual carbon fiber trim around the center console.
Front seats are climatised and come with a multi-contour system that lends extra support to the spine, where the form can be individually adjusted.
Instrumentation is tastefully AMG, with a central display that keeps the driver posted of all that he needs to know, while the COMAND system display supplies occupants with a gamut of infotainment.
The bit we found most interesting in the cabin? Has to be that grab handle just above the glovebox.
Moving on towards the back, it is an almost flat bench with space for three. There is generous space all round, although even with a rear seat entertainment system it isn’t exactly what you’d call pampering or luxurious.
Luggage space is plenty and if you need to haul clandestine stuff through the night, slightly bigger in proportions, the rear seats will oblige and fold away.
A Harmon Kardon Logic 7 system has potential to fill the cabin with crisp audio, while countless airbags and safety features ensure you’d be out unscathed, if things ever turn out to be as crazy as the colour.
What requires a special mention is the build quality and the bullet proof feel to things, where even an activity as mundane as opening the door and shutting it feels like getting in and out through a sub’s hatch. Rudimental it might be, but assuringly solid and flintstoney in an era of flimsy metallurgy.
Why should anyone buy it?
There are cars and then there are possessions. The Mercedes AMG G63 is the latter. For anyone who wishes to buy a vehicle for driving pleasure, this isn’t it. For someone who wishes to go mental off the road, there are cheaper, better and less ridiculous options. For those who want things just because they want it? The G63 serves your cause perfectly.
It is slightly shabby as a car, but fantastic as a possession that matches your lunacy. And in a colour this bright, you’d be carrying a million lumens flashlight for a rabbit hunt. Your kill might get squashed under the tyres, but in the process, you know you’d attract the Queen bee and carry her home wherever you go. At Rs 2.17 crore Ex-showroom, Delhi, she’ll know you’ve got a penchant for crazy. Pheromone for the road then, that’s what this is.
|Mercedes-AMG G 63|
|Arrangement/ Number of Cylinders||V/8|
|Total Displacement (cc)||5461|
|Rated Output (kW/hp @ rpm)||400/544 @ 5500|
|Rated Torque (Nm @rpm)||760 @ 2000 – 5000|
|Acceleration (0-100, km/h, s)||5.4|
|Top Speed (km/h)||210|
|Tyre Size, front/rear||275/50 R 20|
|Tank Capacity (l) / reserve, approx.||96/14|
|Turning Circle Diameter (m)||13.6|
|Boot Capacity (l)||480|
|Kerb Weight (kg)||2550|
|Permissible Gross Vehicle Weight (kg)||3200|
|L x W x H||4763 x 1855 x 1938|