By Khulekani Dumisa
Recently we had the opportunity to spend time with the Mercedes-AMG G63 Edition 1. We could sum up the experience as having spent time in a moving museum with the most modern finishes. Launched all the way back in 1979, the G-Wagon has come a long way from just being known as the ultimate SUV to being a true statement of fashion and status.
Climb inside and you are greeted by an extremely classy and gorgeous interior that has been pioneered by the likes of S-Class and E-Class. There is a generous use of high-quality metal or carbon fibre trims and the leather seats feel very plush. The G63 has a fully digital widescreen cockpit that gives you two 12.3 inch displays with extra crisp visuals but the brand’s MBUX (‘Hey Mercedes’) is conspicuous by its absence. The AMG performance steering wheel, also borrowed from the likes of the S-Class, with a sporty design is now standard on the G-Wagon. The AMG steering wheel has a flattened lower section and sides with a thicker rim allowing for more predictable and precise steering. The controls on the steering are also very functional, as you can toggle between cruise control, and also navigate the functions of the infotainment system on the steering wheels.
The cabin is spacious and plush, but the back is best shared by two adults with the armrest down. You are also able to comfortably rest your elbows on the doors. The seating features include a memory function for the driver with seat heating for the front and the back.
The exterior changes are barely noticeable yet a lot of changes have gone into the G63. The G63 is made up of various types of steel, in a bid to use lighter materials without compromising on durability and quality. The wing, bonnet and doors are made of aluminium and the A and B-pillars are made from strong steel as they are meant to carry big loads. A new vertical grille which gives the G63 a distinctive look has been introduced. It features new light functions including the adaptive high-beam assist plus, giving you the larger number of pixels, allowing enhanced illumination to improve safety for all road users. The unique original shape has also ensured that the distinctive features like the door handles and the characteristic closing/locking sound. In addition, the doors now have a protective foil cladding inside, to prevent water from flowing in when the car is crossing through a body of water.
The minimal changes are essential to the design and heritage of the car. It is noticed everywhere you go as it announces its presence through the loud twin exhausts on either side of the car.
Our test G63 Edition 1 switches things up a little on the exterior by bringing into the mix sport stripes along the vehicle sides. Additionally, distinct details which include the sporty matte graphite grey stripes are seen along the vehicle. The exterior mirrors housing gain a decorative red stripe complimenting the red outer rim on the 22inch forged wheels in a cross-spoke design. The AMG night package comes in high gloss black, to retain the masculinity of the vehicle.
The G63 comes in with the AMG 4.0 litre V8 biturbo engine. It generates a whopping 430 kW and gives you a thunderous 850 Nm. This allows the G63 to accelerate from zero to 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds. An AMG Speedshift TCT 9G Transmission is used in the G63. Mercedes-Benz has bequeathed it with a model-specific software application to achieve very short shift times. The G63 comes with the AMG-specific multiple downshift function allowing for a double-declutching function in Sport and Sport+. It also comes with a newly developed suspension, called the AMG Ride Control, making it more comfortable and capable off-road. The AMG Cylinder Management cylinder deactivation system provides more efficiency which is said to significantly lower the fuel consumption. The latter is probably a myth. Our best consumption came in at 18l/100km. Then again, such are not your issues when buying the G-63 which rewards you with a fine exhaust note every time you accelerate. The G63 is surprisingly comfortable as a day to day drive. Not the most comfortable as you could get a better ride quality in rivals such as Range Rover Autobiography or Bentley Bentayga. You will achieve incredible speeds on a straight line in the tank that is the AMG63 but you have to curb your enthusiasm in corners although the car will mop after you where your eagerness gets the best of you. Such is the brilliance of the level of engineering that has gone into the new G63.
The Merceds-AMG G63 is priced from R2,591,000.
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