by Michael Butler
The Mercedes AMG G63 is an automotive oddity that has survived the test of time and has become somewhat of a pop-icon in its own right. The G-Class of SUVs started life back in the seventies as hardcore Overlanding 4x4s that were used by police forces and renowned adventurers alike. It was and still is, regarded as one of the most capable off-roading vehicles of all time. Then AMG decided to turn it into a jewelry box. The G-Class of today is a high-performance road car with enough luxury features to make luxury sedans look like base models. Under the hood of the 2020 G20 lies a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that's good for 577 horsepower, and a gut-wrenching 627 lb-ft of torque. The 2020 model now comes with an optional 4x4 package that turns this SUV into what it once was: a serious overland machine. The 2020 Mercedes-AMG G63 goes up against the capable Lamborghini Urus, and the stately Bentley Bentayga.
The iconic G-wagon comes off of a full redesign for 2019 and is more capable than ever. Mercedes-Benz hasn't stopped there; the 2020 car is the first AMG-tuned G-Class to be offered with an off-road package that adds off-road optimized ride-control suspension, a black under guard, rear mudflaps and all-season floor mats, as well as all-terrain tires. The AMG drive unit is now standard, which offers quick access to drivetrain and chassis settings for on-the-go adjustability.
|AMG G63 4MATIC||
4.0-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
There's no mistaking this SUV for anything other than a G-Class. This iconic SUV has been around in one shape or another since the late seventies, making it nearly half a century old, and in that time, nothing much has changed: you still get a comically square design and the aerodynamics of a brick, which sounds like a design flaw, but actually affords the G63 a ton of interior space. The AMG series of G-Class wagons have always added a touch of aggressive styling, and the 2020 model looks like it wants to punch you in the face with a diamond-bedazzled knuckle duster. The car rolls on a set of blingy 20-inch wheels, and includes AMG styling features such as advanced LED headlights with high beam assist, gaping mesh intakes that actually offer cooling to vital parts, as well as a power tilt-and-slide glass sunroof.
The boxy exterior design of the 2020 Mercedes-AMG G63 makes it look larger than it actually is, but nevertheless, this isn't a compact crossover SUV, it's the real deal. The total length is measured at 191.9 inches (including the trunk-mounted spare tire), which is significantly shorter when compared to rivals such as the 201.3-inch Lamborghini Urus and 202.4-inch Bentley Bentayga. The G63 rolls on a 113.8-inch wheelbase and is 86.1 inches wide (excluding mirrors) and 77.4 inches tall. When the G-Class first made its appearance all those years ago, it was a stripped-down overlanding beast with minimal interior features, which helped keep the weight down, but the 2020 G63 laughs in the face of weight-saving measures: it weighs a mighty 5,845 pounds.
Hip hop music videos would lead you to believe that the G63 only comes in black or white, but Mercedes-AMG actually offers their boxy brute in a massive range of colors: the standard palette offers 23 colors, and on top of that, Mercedes-AMG offers an additional 11 colors which fall under their exclusive G Manufaktur range. For no additional cost, you can paint your G63 in colors such as Magnetite Black metallic, Rubellite Red metallic, Dakota Brown metallic, or Emerald Green metallic. More exotic hues such as designo Diamond White metallic will set you back $2,300. The G Manufaktur colors cost an eye-watering $6,500 and include colors such as Jupiter Red, Dakota Brown Magno, and South Sea Blue metallic.
If we were doing this review in the early 1980s, we would be praising the G-class for its excellent low-speed rock-crawling abilities, or its excellent approach and departure angles, but the 2020 G63 is a different beast altogether, and will spend the overwhelming majority of its life puttering around nightclub parking lots and leaving sports cars in the dust from traffic lights. See, the G63 might look like it's ready to conquer a mountain, but most people have come to love it for its brute power. Mercedes claims that the 2020 G63 will accelerate to sixty in only 4.5 seconds. That's quicker than a 2000 BMW M5. With 577 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque on offer from way low in the rev range, the G63 feels fast in any gear and shrugs off its weight with every punch of the throttle pedal. Power delivery is linear when you use a light foot, but anything over half throttle will pin you back in your seat. Highway cruising is a feast, and overtaking power is phenomenal.
Each and every Mercedes-AMG G63 comes fitted with a hand-built 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 engine producing 577 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via an AMG nine-speed automatic transmission. This engine replaces the 5.5-liter bi-turbo V8 and allows the 2020 G63 to sprint to sixty a whole second quicker. Keep your foot in it, and the brutal V8 powerplant will push the G63 up to a limited 137 mph, or 149 mph when opting for the AMG Driver's package. What makes this power plant such a standout, is the way it delivers its torque from what seems to be zero revs. Not only does it push you back in your seat, but it makes a glorious sound. We approve. The nine-speed auto is a refined unit that matches the mood of the G63 perfectly. Stomp on the gas pedal and the transmission reacts with the appropriate speed and cruise on the highway, and it settles into a more relaxed shifting pattern.
It is simply impossible to get around the fact that the 2020 Mercedes-AMG G63 weighs close to 6,000 pounds and is built like a medieval fort. Add to that its high ride height, and you can start to formulate a picture in your mind as to how this bulk of muscle will handle. To Mercedes-AMG's credit, they have done all that they could to reign in the unruly G63, but the handling characteristics still leave much to be desired. It must be said that ride comfort at lower speeds is much improved over older generations of the G-Glass, almost hiding its off-roader roots, but when it comes to hitting the corners, the G63 simply responds with body roll and understeer. Handling is much better than the first-gen W463 however. The steering feel is not as bad as you'd think, despite being electronically assisted, and at higher speeds weighs up nicely. Driving on the highway at higher speeds feels stable, but we can't get over the amount of wind noise this thing generates.
Are you a Saudi Arabian sheik, or a Russian oil baron? If you've answered yes to one of those, then you may skip out on this section. For the rest, all we can say is beware: the 2020 G63 drinks like a battalion of Russian soldiers back from war. If you do the math, you'd understand why: a curb weight of 5,845 pounds combined with a massively powerful turbocharged V8 can only spell thirst with a capital T. While the EPA doesn't provide official numbers, Mercedes-AMG themselves offer a number of 13/15/14 mpg city/highway/combined. With a heavy foot and a full load, those numbers will dip into the single digits. At least Mercedes-AMG thought to fit a massive fuel tank to compensate: with a capacity of 26.4 gallons, the G63 should see an estimated max range of 370 miles.
The difference between the interior of the original G-Class and that of the 2020 G63 is worlds apart. Whereas the original got a set of ultra-basic cloth seats, a two-spoke plastic steering wheel, and a set of sails, the 2020 G63 gets more interior features and luxuries than some offerings from Rolls Royce. Stepping inside one of these cars feels like entering a five-star battle tank with its high entry point and bulky doors. Once inside, the first thing that strikes you is the sheer opulence and the fact that all of this shouldn't be inside of a decades-old boxy off-roader. Mercedes-AMG has been crafting some of the best interiors in the business, filled with drama and style, and the G63 is no different, showing off craftsmanship and attention to detail that is as impressive as what you can expect to find in cars of much higher asking prices. From the turbine-style air vents to the generous use of leather, this place is stylish.
The boxy exterior dimensions of the 2020 Mercedes-AMG G63 translate into an interior that offers more than enough passenger space for five large adults, which is coincidentally the perfect number of people to form a hip hop posse. The headroom in front is measured at 41.9 inches, dropping slightly to 40.5 inches in the rear. Legroom in the front is an average 38.7 inches, but grows to 39.5 inches in the rear; more than enough for six-foot-plus passengers. The shoulder room is 57.8 inches in the front and 57.4 inches in the rear.
The opulence is tangible as soon as you set foot inside the cabin of the Mercedes-AMG G63, and the stunning choice of materials goes to show that Mercedes-AMG considers the G63 to be more luxury limousine than an off-roading hero. Seats are wrapped in leather as standard and can be had in Black, Classic Red/Black, Tartufo/Black, and Macchiato Beige/ Black. Diamond stitching is also on offer. For those who want something more exclusive, Mercedes-AMG offers what they call the G Manufaktur line of materials, which includes Nappa leather with contrast stitching Black seats with a Lime Green A-band, Espresso Brown/Black, and White with a Black A-band. In terms of interior trims, the G63 is offered with choices such as Natural Grain Walnut wood, Brown Ashwood, and Light Brown Sen wood. Metal inserts include Metal Weave
AMG Carbon Fiber and Black Piano Lacquer.
Once again, the boxy dimensions of the Mercedes-AMG G63 come to the rescue: the squareness of the rear end lends itself to a practical trunk and overall cargo space, but accessing this space is a different story altogether. With no electronic assistance on offer, opening up the large side-hinged gate can be difficult for some, especially considering the fact that there's a full-size spare tire mounted to it. Once you've overcome this hurdle, you'll be pleased to find a healthy 38.1 cubic feet of trunk space behind the rear wheels. That's more than enough space to store copies of your unsold first album. If you're in need of even more space, the G63's rear seats fold down and open up to a considerable 68.6 cubic feet.
Small items can be stored in the average-sized glovebox, or in the door pockets. There aren't many useful storage options in the cabin, but what there is, will suffice.
The list of standard features on the 2020 Mercedes-AMG G63 is staggering and puts competitors such as the Lamborghini Urus to shame. Focussing on the interior, the 2020 G63 starts things off with Nappa leather upholstery, power-adjustable and heated front seats as well as heated rear seats. There's three-zone automatic climate control, as well as an Air Balance cabin-air purification system in play. 64-color ambient LED lighting shows off the rest of the interior, and an auto-dimming rearview and driver-side mirrors keep the driver from squinting. Smaller interior details include a power-adjustable steering column, rear privacy glass, heat- and noise-insulating glass, as well as a HomeLink garage door opener. Handling a large beast such as the G63 can feel like a handful for less experienced drivers, so Mercedes-AMG has added driver assistance features such as blind-spot assist, active distancing assist, lane-keep assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Possibly more important than the G63's off-road capability is its extensive list of infotainment features: are you even a G63 owner if you don't make the windows rattle with some DMX classics? The first and most notable feature worth talking about is the 12.3-inch high-resolution central display, which dominates the front half of the cabin, and is supplemented by another 12.3-inch cluster display behind the steering wheel. The infotainment system is controlled by Mercedes-Benz's Comand system with a touchpad controller and steering wheel touch control buttons. The integrated navigation system includes no-charge online navigation map updates and live traffic information for three years. Bluetooth is standard, as are two USB ports, an SD card reader, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. A 15-speaker Burmester surround sound system provides the tunes and offers powerful bass tones. This system is easy to operate but can take some time to get used to for the uninformed.
The 2020 Mercedes-AMG G63 has been recalled once for a rather serious issue. Issued in February of 2020, certain G63 cars were recalled for a software malfunction that would cause the stability control and ABS brake system to fail, increasing the risk of a crash and subsequent injury. Mercedes-AMG will cover the 2020 G63 with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which includes corrosion protection, drivetrain cover, and roadside assistance for the same amount of time or distance.
Six-figure high-performance SUVs aren't at the top of the priority list for safety rating agencies such as the NHTSA and IIHS, and as a result, neither has put the G63 through its paces. Because of this, it is difficult to comment on the safety of the G63. Some believe that its tall and boxy dimensions make it prone to flipping, but recent models have put those rumors to rest. The fact that the 2020 Mercedes-AMG G63 comes with a ton of active driver assistance features nevermind traditional features also hints at Mercedes-AMG's efforts to make their performance tank as safe as possible.
The first G-Class kept its occupants safe by providing some doors and a few handles to grab on to, so it's safe to say that things have come a long way when it comes to safety. The basics are covered by an advanced electronic stability system, ABS brakes, LED headlights, as well as a ten airbag system, which includes side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. While cruising along the highway, the G63 keeps things pointed in the right direction via active distance assist, speed limit assist, and active lane keep assist. Changing lanes is also helped along by blind-spot assist. When it comes to parking the bulky G63, Mercedes-AMG helps things along with active parking assist, a surround-view camera system, and active rear cross-traffic assist. Other safety features include trailer stability assist, adaptive high beam assist, adaptive braking, as well as rain-sensing window wipers.
Some regimes prop up their dictators despite them clearly showing early signs of decomposition, and some, such as communist Russia, even embalm their leaders so that they can live way past their sell-by date. Mercedes-AMG has done the exact same here: the G-Class has gone from superiorly rugged and capable off-roader to bloated and overpowered suburban limousine for the rich and famous. Yes, it can still go off-road, but the overwhelming majority of these cars will never smell dirt, nevermind hit a dusty off-road trail. What we have here then is a relic of the past that has been propped up by new and more powerful engines, chassis development, cutting edge safety systems and luxurious interior appointments. It's a strange phenomenon that we see around the world: people want to cling on to the past no matter the cost. It's time to let the G-Class go.
You will have to pay dearly for the privilege of piloting one of these bloated matchboxes. Mercedes-AMG will ask 156,450 of your hard-earned dollars to place your rear end on the leather-clad seats of its G63, and this price does not include tax, registration, or a destination fee of $995. Considering the fact that the Lamborghini Urus starts at over $200,000 makes the G63 look like an attractive proposition when you're shopping in this class.
The 2020 Mercedes-AMG G63 is a standalone model that is only available in one trim. Included in the package is that brutally powerful twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 producing 577 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. The exterior of the G63 includes features such as 20-inch wheels and advanced LED headlights with high beam assist. On the inside, the G63 impresses with its sheer amount of standard features. These include 64-color ambient interior lighting, three-zone climate control, power-adjustable front seats with front and rear heating, as well as a 12.3-inch cluster display. The infotainment system consists of a 12.3-inch display with a 15-speaker surround-sound system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Standard driver assistance features include blind-spot assist, lane keep assist, and rear cross-traffic assist.
Stretching from the exterior inwards, Mercedes-AMG offers a ton of customizability for the 2020 G63. Exterior packages include the $1,950 AMG Night Package, which includes Obsidian Black exterior accents, an AMG gunmetal grey brush guard, and a black under guard. The AMG Night Package Plus adds black bumpers and wheel arches, and the roof in Obsidian Black. The interior of the G63 is offered with the $4,980 Exclusive Interior Package Plus, which consists of features such as exclusive Nappa leather with diamond stitching, active multi-contour front seats with massage, and rapid heating for the front seats. However, certain packages here need to be specified with additional options at a cost, so be aware of that when you choose. In terms of infotainment upgrades, Mercedes-AMG offers the Rear Seat Entertainment Package, which adds dual ten-inch touch screens displays, as well as USB 2.0, AUX, and HDMI interfaces. Possibly the most exciting optional package is the $3,050 AMG Trail Package, which adds off-road-tuned AMG Ride Control Suspension, a black under guard, rear mud flaps, and all-season floor mats, as well as 20-inch AMG twin five-spoke wheels in matte black.
Since there's only one model on offer, the options list will become your only way of making your G63 as individual as you are. If we were the ones doing the buying, we would do the following: on the exterior, we would paint ours in G Manufaktur South Sea Blue metallic, and go for the 21-inch AMG twin five-spoke wheels. On the inside, we would get the classic red and black leather seats, as well as the G Manufaktur Natural Grain Black-flamed Ash wood trim inserts. We would select the Seat Comfort Package, which adds multi-contour seats with massage function, rapid heating front seats, and ventilated front seats. We would also increase the top speed for an additional $2,200. With all of these options ticked, the G63 will set you back a hair below $170,000.
When the Bentayga made its debut in 2015, many traditionalists were shocked that Bentley, a producer of ultra-luxurious sedans and coupes, was going to enter the SUV market, but as we've come to see, this transition has done little to damage Bentley's prominent brand image. The entry-level 2020 Bentayga is also powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine and produces 542 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque, all of which is sent to all four corners via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The exterior design absolutely reeks of money, and the powerful V8 engine propels this handsome hulk at impressive rates of speed. The interior is on the same standard as the G63 and feels impeccably insulated and refined. We also appreciate its engaging drive and customization potential. On the other hand, the Bentley's infotainment system lags far behind, and rear-seat comfort is not as impressive. Still, give us the Bentley.
We never thought we'd see the day when Lamborghini would produce a modern SUV, but with the popularity of this class of car on the up, the Italian supercar manufacturer didn't really have any choice but to jump on the bandwagon. The 2020 Urus is powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine producing a massive 641 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque, greatly overshadowing the G63. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. We appreciate the fact that Lamborghini is the only supercar brand with an SUV history, and it is clear from the Urus's performance that it is very much a child of Lamborghini stock. The striking exterior design is matched by a good-looking interior, and we were surprised at just how capable this car can be off-road. The interior, however, is cramped when compared to the G63, the rearward visibility is near zero, and you'll pay dearly for the privilege of owning one. In this comparison, we'd go with the Lambo.
Check out some informative Mercedes-AMG G63 video reviews below.