by Gerhard Horn
No other car in history has gone through as many rebirths as the Mercedes G-Class. It started life as a military vehicle, eventually ending up as a civilian offering. Hardcore off-roaders noticed how capable it was, so it became an off-road icon. Richer off-roaders then asked for more power, so Benz shoehorned a V8 in there. For some unknown reason, this attracted the attention of attention-seeking celebrities who were famous just for being famous. Once the first one was wrapped in pink (circa 2003), it was all over. However, after being used up and discarded by Tinseltown, it has become a four-wheeled symbol of everything wrong in the world. Too much power, excessive consumption, and a boisterous soundtrack, thanks to a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8. It's the most politically incorrect car on sale in the USA - the bad boy of the automotive world. But then, who doesn't like a bad boy? While some may settle for a Land Rover Defender V8, the Mercedes-AMG G63 brings the glitz that competitors can't provide.
The latest generation of the G63 is still relatively young, which means the 2021 MY enhancements aren't significant. There's a new AMG Night Package for added aggressiveness and a new spare tire cover in Night Black Magno. A wireless charging pad is also now standard. As far as the average customer is concerned, the most significant change is an even broader range of G manufaktur customization options.
See trim levels and configurations:
|AMG G63 4MATIC||
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
The current G63 weighs close to 6,000 lbs and was designed using a ruler. It was never going to cut up the canyons like a supercar, but it's a revelation compared to the old model. The previous model still had a solid axle at the front and a rudimentary stability control system. It would understeer like a drunken rhinoceros, and you could never put your elbow out the window through a corner because, if you did, you'd end up with the mother of all roasties. That's how much it leaned through the corners. The stability control system essentially just cut the power. If the steering was turned more than 35 degrees, it simply wouldn't give you access to all the power, even with the nannies turned off.
The current model has an independent suspension all-around. It still rolls and understeers, but you can now at least lower the window and put your elbow out. The steering is much better and less tractor-like. It feels like it is connected to the front wheels, and it weighs up nicely as the speed increases. Stability is good at freeway speeds, but the brick-like exterior creates so much wind noise that even a well-crafted Mercedes interior can't keep it out.
Over the years, we've listened to many people boast about how their XYZ is better off-road than the "soft" G63. "It has side exhausts," they say. "Too fancy to do any real off-roading," they add. Sorry, but you're wrong. Yes, the G63 has a few things counting against it, like the road-biased tires and the side-mounted exhausts, but the sheer power can overcome almost every obstacle. This car has locking differentials in the front, middle and rear, remember. If you are keen to explore and go off-road with the new G63, invest in an additional set of alloys with some all-terrain tires. Keep them in the garage and slap them on when needed.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
Yes and no. Some believe the 2021 AMG G63 is a relic of the past, adorned with a modern suspension, cutting-edge safety, and a luxurious interior. It's a symbol of everything wrong with the world that should be taken out back and shot in the face. Long live the electric SUV!
Still, we like it, because of the feel-good factor. Yes, we know it doesn't make any sense and that the impressive off-road credentials will never be used, but we just don't care. The same is true for every supercar out there. Why buy a supercar when the limit is 70 mph?
Not everything has to be logical. It makes zero sense to love an overpowered box this much, but we do. We can say many bad things about this car, but the one thing you can't call it is boring. Every trip in the G63 will be a grin-inducing experience. It's an unashamed middle finger to the incoming electric status quo, and we can't help but be charmed by its bravado.
It's also worth keeping in mind that this is most likely the last time we'll see a G-Class like this. Emissions regulations and deadlines for moving over to EV power will eventually lead to its extinction.
There isn't a massive price difference between the entry-level model (if you can even call it that) Bentayga and the AMG G63. It's also powered by a twin-turbo V8, producing 542 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque, sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Bentayga's exterior is much sleeker but far from pretty. Interior-wise, it is a cut above the G63. There's no noise intrusion at all, which makes it the most comfortable SUV this side of a Rolls Royce Cullinan.
The Bentley is also better to drive, offering a more secure, planted feel. It comes with even more customization options, but the best feature of all is the badge that comes with it. Mercedes-Benz is a prestigious premium brand, but Bentley is in a whole other league. The comfort, speed, premium interior, and badge make it an easy choice. We'd have the Bentley.
We were concerned when Lambo announced its intention to build an SUV based on a shared platform. Shock. Horror. Part of Lamborghini's charm is how ridiculous they all are. The Aventador has the kind of supercar looks that belong on a poster. Who cares if it's wider than a bus? What business does the Italian automaker have building a practical car?
But then you drive the Urus, and you realize that it's a proper Lambo. An SUV has no business going this fast. Its twin-turbo V8 packs a massive 641 hp and 627 lb-ft punch, which results in an alarming turn of speed. It's an insane yet lovable machine that has all of the madness you'd expect from a Lambo but wrapped in a large, four-door package.
There are still some Lamborghini quirks, however. You can't see out the back, the interior is cramped, and the front air intakes are a bit much. Still, given a choice between the two, we'd take the Lambo any day of the week.
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