Performance – Out goes the 5.5-litre V8 in lieu of the 4.0-litre V8 which boasts of more power and torque than before, 585 PS and 850 Nm to be precise. 0-100 km/hr takes just 4.5 seconds which makes it faster than the Range Rover SVR, in spite of weighing in more than 2.5 tonnes. This bi-turbo unit is very refined but it’s not how fast it goes, it’s how it goes fast that really excites. This motor has a soul, it has a good amount of punch throughout but the way it builds up pace truly smacks a big fat smile on the face. It’s strong in the mid-range and absolutely screams to its near 7000 RPM redline.
The G63 AMG uses the same engine as the one found on the Mercedes-AMG GT
The sound from the V8 mill is just sensational, you can choose to be in default ‘balanced’ exhaust note or switch to ‘powerful’ with a flick of a button on the centre console. There are 5 driving modes – Slippery, Individual, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ and 3 off-road modes – Sand, Mud and Rock. These modes alter the engine, gearbox, suspension, steering and exhaust. Unlike the old G-Wagen which channelled power to both the front and rear axles in equal measure, the new car is more rear biased with a split of 60:40. ESP can’t be turned off but can be set to Sport and it’s just less intervening, it still keeps kicking in because there is just too much poke from this AMG-tuned powerplant.
One can take manual control of gearshifts too by pressing a button on the centre console, swapping cogs using the steering mounted paddles. The 9-speed torque converter gearbox is super fast with shifts and never misses a downshift, aggressively going down the gears in sports mode. The vehicle is equipped with a speed alarm to comply with upcoming norms, wherein it buzzes once every minute post 80 km/hr and continuously buzzes post 120 km/hr, even throwing up a warning on the instrument cluster while also overpowering the music volume. The vehicle shuts 4-cylinder under 45 km/hr to save fuel but it does guzzle fuel, returning between 2-5 km/l, depending on the driving style. The Mercedes-AMG G63 has a top speed of 220 km/hr and that can be increased to 240 km/hr by opting for the AMG Driver’s package.
Driving Dynamics – The Mercedes G-Wagen retains a ladder frame platform but has shed 150 kgs thanks to the use of new grade steel while aluminium has been used on the doors. The vehicle is still heavy but gets a massive improvement to the suspension as at the front, it now uses an independent double wishbone, meanwhile, the rear continues to use a solid axle. The steering is now an electromechanical unit which is speed sensitive, it no longer feels cumbersome to drive as the steering is light at lower speeds and weighs up quite well at high speeds, the flat bottom unit feeling nice and sporty to use.
The ride quality of the new G-Wagen has improved tremendously
The ride quality is much better than before although it’s still on the stiffer side and that can be felt on bad roads, accentuated by the low profile tyres. The handling feels way better now and a round of applause to Mercedes engineers who have managed to make a box on wheel stay stable at high speeds, there is no aerodynamics in the design and yet it isn’t as noisy at high speeds as the earlier model, double glazing on the windows has certainly helped here. There is roll around the corners and nose-dive under heavy braking but the G63 feels very much in control. Accelerate hard and the nose lifts too, so although the suspension is stiff, the heavy body does move around. The brakes on the G-Wagen offer very good stopping power and the pedal offers excellent feedback.