Off-road Test: Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG


Words and image by Andrew Middleton

Dubai Dreaming

If you imagine an office block on wheels, capable of out-accelerating most sports cars, you’ll get a good impression of the G63 AMG. This berserk iteration of a 40-year-old ladder-on-frame design lays a very thin veil of modernity over one of the most recognisable shapes in the bush, and it’s all the better for it. Although the G-Wagen’s gangster-rapper chrome face and obnoxious exhaust may be useless off-road, surprisingly little capability has been sacrificed in the name of speed.

Recirculating-ball steering and a centre of gravity akin to the Leaning Tower of Pisa mean that fast cornering will never be the G-Wagen’s strong suit. Go in a bit too hot – whether on tar or dirt – and an overly aggressive traction control system will halt the fun by applying brakes and chopping power. The only way to completely turn off the obnoxious German nanny is to engage low range – when the full fury of AMG’s bully can be unleashed.

With a 400kW twin-turbo V8 grunting from four gigantic exhausts (thundering just behind the front doors) and a low-range ratio selected, the only way to describe the G63’s acceleration to 60kph is “crushing”. All four wheels will spin low-profile rubber wrapping the rim, so your rock-crawling fun will be cut short.

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