Who made the decision to axe the backup camera?
There is a million and a half ways to have fun with cars. But usually all entertaining automotive endeavors involve going fast or roaming terrain that would otherwise need mountain climbing gear to traverse. There are plenty of options in all prices for the former group, but choices become sparse when it gets to the latter. It’s not that it’s hard to find a good SUV to hit the trails with. The problem is that there aren’t many high-end options when it comes to those who want to off-road like royalty.
Trail fanatics that have a bit of extra cash can choose from $100,000 Range Rovers and $90,000 Land Cruisers. However this is Porsche 911 money. Plenty of supercars can be had north of this limit, but this isn’t the case for off-road vehicles. Aside from a couple of tuning companies, Mercedes is the only automaker that has decided to do something about this price gap. All it took to convince it to build the G63 6x6 were a few wealthy customers and parts leftover from orders of military spec’d G-Wagon 6x6s. Of course the Tri-Star handed the project over to its resident crazies at AMG, and out of that came the monstrosity of a G-Class that is as legendary as most supercars and hypercars.
For Mercedes, making the truck was easy. Since 1979 the G-Class has been built to serve both civilian and military duties, and all that the German auto giant had to do to get the behemoth ready for high-end customers was to give its military truck some manners. Given that the current G-Class SUV is outfitted similarly, meaning it is one of the best off-roading options in the world but wears tailored clothing fit for Beverly Hills, Mercedes didn’t have a hard time doing this. Diamond quilted Designio leather, a bamboo lined cargo area, and the usual comforts found in a luxury car help to mediate the military muscle of the 6x6 to the expectations of a customer that can afford a $633,795 toy. Even so, the G-Wagon 6x6 is as brash as a well-trained pet bear.
Portal axles, the staple of the 6x6, make sure of that. For those who don’t know, a portal axle setup is where the axle tube sits above the center of the wheel hub, which allows for greater ground clearance and in the case of the G-Wagon 6x6, makes room for an on-board tire pressure adjusting system. This setup uses an overhead switch to toggle four 20-liter air tanks to pressurize all six tires from 0-29 psi in 20-seconds. This helps to adjust pressure in the 37-inch tires from levels optimal for tough terrain to a road-appropriate psi with minimal effort. Aft of the tire pressure switch is another overhead switch to engage the auxiliary fuel tank, which holds an extra 13.2 gallons of fuel for a total of 38.6 gallons.
The 6x6 pigs gas because it weighs 8,322 pounds and is powered by a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 that can do 0-60 mph in less than 6.0 seconds and onto a top speed over 100 mph. Pushing 536 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque through all six wheels is no easy feat, but five locking differentials help to disperse the power using a 30/40/30 split from front to rear. All of this translates to to a car that is competent in any situation, be it navigating over 3.2 feet of water or climbing up a 45 degree incline with relative ease. What’s even more impressive than the car's skill set is the driver who can successfully navigate the machine. The long wheelbase of the 6x6 keeps it grounded off of the pavement but makes city driving a pain.
Mercedes had to know when it made the truck that plenty of buyers would gladly snatch up the vehicle for the sole purpose of showing off in the city. The only problem is the lack of a backup camera and a cruise control system (both available on the regular G-Class) make driving this car in the city a feat for the bold, much like earlier supercars. Like those machines, the main emphasis of the G-Wagon 6x6 is to provide a high degree of functionality while trying its best to hide an unrefined and business-only nature. In this pursuit, it succeeds. With a production run of 100, the G-Wagon also can claim that it is rarer than any of the cars in the hypercar trinity. That, along with every absurd metric that the truck can boast, makes it the only supertruck in the world.