Remember the days when big 4x4s used to do 20mpg and put out 300-plus g/km of CO2? Just asking.
Here’s the new version of the Mercedes G-Wagen. The vehicle first came to the UK in 1979, when Ron Greenwood was England manager, the Boomtown Rats didn’t like Mondays and Britain had a fresh-faced new PM called Margaret Thatcher, so it’s got staying power if nothing else.
Actually, it’s got the other kind of power too. Tested here is the Mercedes-AMG G63 Edition 463, whose 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 thunders out 563bhp and 561lb ft.
That can mean only one thing. In fact, it means 5.4 things: that’s how many seconds it takes to propel this 2.5-tonne leviathan to 62mph. It’ll keep going, too, until the limiter kicks in at 130mph.
All of which means something else, too. Combined fuel consumption is actually better than you might expect at 20.5mpg, though 322g/km is a gulp-inducing figure by anyone’s standards these days.
Anyone except people who can spend £149,970 on a luxury off-road muscle car, at least.
What do you get for all that cash? The latest G63 has a new instrument pod in its cabin, where you sit all perched and upright in seats with a new two-tone leather trim. It’s trimmed like a limo, but in the best way possible it feels like the truck it is.
A truck with phenomenal equipment levels, obviously. And that same word could describe its performance, with slingshot acceleration backed by an exhaust note that will make you feel like Mr Toad.
Steering the thing takes a bit more work. Well, a lot. It doesn’t settle down on the motorway, with constant adjustments required around the straight-ahead position to keep it in trim, and the messages you get through the wheel in corners are vague at best and late in coming.
Given its height and weight, and the fact that this is still a formidable off-road machine even on its new 21” tyres, it’s hardly surprising that the G63’s rolls in corners and dives under braking. For all its luxury, too, the cabin is a noisy place to be on a cruise as the angular body sets up plenty of wind noise.
But, more to the point than any of that, the G63 is completely unique. There are other hardcore off-roaders, but there’s never been another case of military-relic-becomes-luxury-performance-truck. So if a military relic turned luxury performance truck is all that will do, you’d better have that £149,970 about your person. Because we don’t see anyone else developing one.
- More about:
- 2015 Mercedes-AMG G63 Edition 463
- Ron Greenwood