After driving the sporty Lamborghini Urus and the luxurious Bentley Bentayga in the first two parts of the Super SUV showdown, it was the turn for the original gangsta, the Mercedes-AMG G 63. Looks unchanged, doesn’t it — all slab sides, external hinges and the spare hanging off the rear! But the new one, for the first time in its thirty year history, has been thoroughly and completely updated from the rails of its ladder frame all the way up to the still-exposed rain gutters on its roof. Yet it stays faithful to tradition. To its own history. After all nobody, at least in this decade, bought an AMG G-Wagen for practical reasons. The Mercedes-AMG G 63 sells because it is The 70’s Show on four wheels. It sells because the design is as iconic as it gets, even though the Sumo, Gurkha, Bolero, all have happily ripped it off. It sells because it makes a ridiculous amount of noise. It sells because it is laugh-out-loud hilarious to drive. It sells because it sprouts hair on your chest and vibranium in your testicles. It sells so well in fact that Mercedes have not dared mess with its styling, its uncompromising road manners or even bring it in line with its new SUV-nomenclature.
“For the first time in its thirty year history, has been thoroughly and completely updated from the rails of its ladder frame all the way up to the still-exposed rain gutters on its roof. Yet it stays faithful to tradition”
The styling evidently isn’t new so what is? The modernity is most evident on the inside where it gets Merc’s flat-screen television that stretches from the speedo nacelle to the centre console. The ergonomics have finally been brought into the current decade, your elbows don’t bang against the door pads, and there is usable interior space to justify the real estate it occupies on the outside. The seats adjust not with fiddly knobs on the side of the seat but Mercedes’s signature seat-pattern controls on the doors. The start/stop button is even integrated into the dash, not a cap over the old keyhole. Yet the moment you roll off, the new G reminds you of the old G (OG, gettit?) as the door locks clank down like the bolts of a Swiss vault. If not the eighties, the G definitely takes you back to the nineties.
“The moment you roll off, the new G reminds you of the old G (OG, gettit?) as the door locks clank down like the bolts of a Swiss vault”
Even though it has been thoroughly modernized there is only so much a ladder frame can do against a platform tightened even further by Lamborghini over what they got from Porsche. Try to chase a Lamborgini Urus and you will fall off the mountain. Chase a Lamborghini Urus and you’ll be looking over the Lambo’s roof, which is very cool I have to admit. You’re sitting on top of a mountain; bolt upright on top of a mountain. And you get three locking differentials, activated via the trademark buttons on the centre console, to chase the Taliban through the Afghan mountains or go straight up the mountain and beat the Urus carving its way up the corners. Nothing can hold a candle to the Mercedes-AMG G 63’s off-road prowess though you’ll be right in asking who spends well over two crore rupees on an off-roader. Oh, and the G 63 still has way too much power for its own good.
Of the four here the Mercedes-AMG G 63 is both the worst to drive and the best to drive. It has character in spades. Just the view makes you smile. The engine rocking on its mount when you blip it widens your smile. The sheer sense of occasion of piloting something making mad noises from the side exhausts while sitting on your high chair is nothing like anything. Its compromises are what makes it so desirable. After the other Super SUVs, you should hate the G but it’s quite the opposite. You love it even more!
“The old G scared the living daylights out of you. It hopped, skipped and went crazy over even the smallest bump or ripple in the road”
I must also keep emotion aside and, with my road tester hat on, tell you that the G 63 is actually way, way better to drive than the old G. The old G scared the living daylights out of you. It hopped, skipped and went crazy over even the smallest bump or ripple in the road. It simply refused to go round corners. The new G is properly civilized. It rides well. You can actually drive it around bends without discovering what lies at the bottom of the valley. As you go round corners it even inflates the seat bolster on that side to keep you from sliding off the seat. So cool! On the expressway, your knuckles don’t turn white trying to keep it in a straight line. The only thing I miss from the old G is the engine, the old 5.5-litre monster felt like a blood-thirsty gangster leading his crew on a turf war. The new 4-litre, even though it pumps out a ludicrous 571bhp feels too sophisticated for the G. The gangster has swapped its hoodie for an Armani.
Stay tuned for the fourth part of the Super SUV Showdown featuring the Porsche Cayenne Turbo.