G63 AMG- A Mercedes-Benz for Arnold

And a menacingly elegant vehicle to tackle today’s troubles.

There’s a new Hummer on the horizon. It’s electric, thoroughly modern and has shed its previous upright, military demeanor. And after a 23-year absence from its former Colonies, Great Britain’s very capable Land Rover Defender has returned with a softer, up-to-date persona. Meanwhile, Mercedes’ Geländewagen, known in showrooms as the G-Class, looks pretty much like it did 47-years ago when its design form simply followed function. In other words, the Caterpillar Tractor studio could have drawn this appliance. And that’s a big part of its charm.

Retro Chic

Most vehicle buyers expect their new ride to look as up-to-date outside as the technology within. The apparent exception is the very rugged, authentic Sports Utility. The best example I can offer is the new Defender. It’s even more capable than its predecessor, yet companies have sprung up that acquire old models and completely rebuild them for buyers who spend $250,000 and more for the privilege of motoring in the ‘70’s.

In light of the enduring demand for this industrial design persona, I’m confident that Mercedes marketing executives in charge of the G-Class will continue to steer well clear of Stuttgart’s styling studios. Of course the cute, round headlight embellishments are allowed, but don’t get too carried away with that modern stuff.

A $250,000 retro Land Rover Defender

S-Class in a Box

While little drama had taken place on the exterior of our G63, the inside had been transformed from utility to quilted leather luxury, and that’s wholly appropriate for a premium SUV that sported a $185,995 window sticker. While even this retail price will not secure attributes like the “Hey Mercedes” vocal commands of the company’s upscale sedans, very few should feel let down. And the 12.3-inch widescreen display easily connected to my iPhone with Apple Car Play.

Once you’ve climbed aboard, driving this substantial leviathan over our deteriorating roads and highways was an unexpected treat. Pavement aberrations that I would steer my Mini Cooper around were irrelevant to the G63. It seemed to say “I laugh at your potholes”. After a few of these way-too-common road encounters, I could see the wisdom of this tough-guy class. Even simple tasks like operating the doors reminded one that this beast was born from sturdy stock.

Let’s Rumble

Although a standard G550 is available with a base price of $130,900, our G63 AMG carries about a $25,000 premium. Trust me, it’s worth it. The big chrome exhaust pipes, two on each side peeking out from under the lower side sills, are quite entertaining on their own. And there’s substance to back up the deep vibrato. The hand-built V8 with its 627-foot pounds of torque will launch the nearly 6,000-pound G63 to 60 MPH in just 4.4-seconds. That’s entertainment!

During my average week with a test vehicle, no matter how unique it is, I’ll somehow encounter another of the same species. Sure enough, late in my week of G63 motoring, there was the other G Wagon. Of course I didn’t run across this twin during rock crawling in the wild, but while properly parked at a luxury shopping mall.

THE FINE PRINT

2020 G63 W4

TYPE:  Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive

ENGINE:  4.0-liter Twin Turbo V8

HORSEPOWER:  577 @ 6,000 RPM

TORQUE:  627 lb.ft. @ 2,500-3,500 RPM

BASE PRICE: $156,450

AS TESTED:  $185,995

FUEL CONSUMPTION:  13-city, 15-highway, 14-combined