The legendary G Wagen has been around for almost 40 years without any drastic changes in design. Mercedes is certainly sticking to the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ philosophy.
Car design has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, but there’s one car model that has withstood the test of time – and it’s none other than the iconic G Wagen from Mercedes-Benz. This is the ultimate SUV, and what it lacks in contemporary design, it more than makes up for in terms of character and road presence.
We got our hands on the newly launched G 63 AMG ‘463 Edition,’ which comes across as more tank than luxury off-roader. To start with, the massive 5.5-litre V8 Bi-Turbo has a more than modest power output of 563bhp and 760Nm of peak torque. Believe it or not, this beast can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in just 5.4 seconds, and it has an electronically-limited top speed of 210km/h. It also features AMG’s Speedshift Plus 7G-Tronic automatic transmission, with steering-mounted paddles. In addition, it gets different driving modes (Controlled Efficiency, Sport and Manual), as well as three electrically engageable differential locks for enhanced off-road capability – just in case you decide to take your two crore SUV into the woods.
The ‘463 Edition’ also gets a big stainless steel skid-plate in front, AMG sports stripes on the sides, as well as protective strips in a dark aluminium finish. This sinister look is finished off with 21-inch 5-twin-spoke alloy wheels. The interiors come with some added features too, like the seat comfort package and AMG carbon-fibre trim. Of course, it also comes with everything else that you’ve come to expect from a modern day luxury car.
A tank for the street
This was my first time driving the legendary G Wagen, so I had some pretty high expectations because I’ve always been a huge fan. I love the iconic styling, while the cabin is modern and comes loaded with all the tech that I would ever need – and then some.
I don’t need to tell you that the engine is unimaginably powerful, and if you want quick acceleration with that typically monstrous AMG exhaust note you won’t be disappointed at all. What I wasn’t impressed with, however, was that the stiff suspension set up. Because of the old-school ladder-on-frame chassis, and the firm suspension, every bump on the streets of Mumbai sends a jolt through your backbone. Plus, because of the massive tyres, the steering was far too heavy for the busy streets of a congested Indian city. This is a car for wide Autobahns, or six-lane UAE highways where the petrol is cheaper than the drinking water. In our conditions, the G Wagen is great to make a statement – and, boy, what a statement it makes – but it’s not very usable. It really does feel like navigating a tank through the tight city streets of our financial capital.
The G Wagen will always be a design icon. And it’s certainly an endangered species, so if you want one you better pull the trigger pretty soon – because, with ever tightening emissions and pedestrian safety laws, massive machines like the G Wagen are certainly on their way out. So, as a swan song, the G 63 AMG certainly deserves your respect – but it is starting to feel its age. Yes, it’ll blow the doors off most sports cars, and it’ll still climb the most treacherous peaks – all the while looking more stylish than anything else on the road – but this is a car that you buy purely with your heart. It’s not something your can rationalise or justify. So, if you’ve always wanted a G Wagen, and can afford to have one, be our guest. If you’re looking for someone to justify it for you, look elsewhere!
• Iconic design & heritage
• AMG power and sound
• Starting to feel its age
• A bit pricey