Review and photos by Mike Schlee

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2013 MERCEDES-BENZ G63 AMG. Click image to enlarge

Sometimes, a vehicle will leave me speechless. Usually, it’s because it is just such an amazing piece of engineering, while other times, it is due to the fact the vehicle is utter, utter crap. However, periodically a vehicle leaves me dumbfounded because I have no freakin’ clue what to make of it. This, ladies and gentleman, is one of those times. Perhaps it is a cultural divide, or perhaps it is the fact I do not possess a duffel bag large enough to carry the cash required to acquire such a vehicle. Whatever the reasoning, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG is a bit of an automotive enigma, and I love it for that fact.

The G Class, aka G-Wagen, aka Geländewagen, is a truck Mercedes-Benz first introduced to the market in 1979.  Although it was designed for potential military applications, there has also been civilian versions since its inception.  The G has spent the past three and a half decades earning a cult status from hardcore off-roaders, the celebrity elite and Military’s the world over. This may be part of the reason that even after all these years, and the introduction of the GL-Class SUV, the pricey G-Class soldiers on.

For 2013 Mercedes-Benz has given the G-Wagen a complete exterior and interior facelift, but don’t worry G-Class fans, it is still a giant box. This tall upright shape provides a commanding view over, well, just about everything on the road short of a semi truck. The rear passenger windows seem to stretch from the ceiling to the seat cushion and offer rear seat passengers a lot of open air motoring; just make sure they are belted in so they don’t fall out the window. These massive windows do translate into great sightlines, though, especially with the rear seat folded. But raise the highly perched rear seatback and rearward visibility is not so great, especially when factoring in the rear-mounted spare tire. Luckily, there are parking sensors all over the truck and a rearview camera.

2013 MERCEDES-BENZ G63 AMG. Click image to enlarge

The rear seating area is quite cramped for a truck this size, but the cargo area is quite large. Front passengers will have to fight over the sole netted mesh cup holder, unless of course you open up the glove box to reveal the massive cup holders built in the glove box lid that are at least a quarter inch deep.

The interior has every surface covered in leather, wood or alcantara. The steering wheel, although power tilt and telescopic adjustable, still stays in a very truck like position and angle. I absolutely love the ‘designo Exclusive Package’ seats that are available in one of three cross-stitched colour options (the G-Class has no less than 14 different front seat colour combinations in total).

Fun fact – the heated seat and cooled seat functions can be operated at the same time.

The real beauty to any AMG product is always the engine, and here, the G 63 does not disappoint. Under the squared-off hood resides a 5.5L twin turbocharged V8 grunting out 536 hp and 560 lb-ft. Sending power to all four wheels is AMG’s Speedshift Plus 7G-Tronic transmission. In Comfort mode, the transmission happily stays around 2,000 rpm and effortlessly moves this beast around. Although this is a more responsive AMG transmission than found in the regular G 550, inputs from the paddle shifters were always delayed and slow reacting, even in sport mode. My guess is that this is to ensure you don’t blow a hole through one of the three lockable differentials or dislocate the driveshaft clean off the truck with all that turbocharged torque.

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