The 2014 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG outside Willow Springs
I recently had the opportunity to drive all of the Mercedes-Benz AMG models out on Willow Springs racetrack outside LA. I don’t mean a few of the AMGs – I mean all of them. You name it: CLA45 AMG, C63 AMG 507 Edition, SLS AMG Black, and the hulking monster itself, the G63 AMG.
Of all the wondrous fun I had – especially with the SLS AMG GT – I had perhaps the most fun with the G63. Right now you’re probably thinking I’m mad. But I’m not. Let me explain.
When we had downtime between laps on the track with the SLS AMG Black, I snagged the keys to a G Wagon and headed out into the desert.
The G63 is powered by a twin-turbo charged 5.5-liter V8 that produces 536 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. Although this is an old truck by any one’s measure, it’s a riot. The thing looks like an assault vehicle, drives like a nuclear-powered tractor, and sounds like an SLS.
The exterior and ride quality are classic off-roader. The interior is on-par with the 2014 E-Class with soft leather and a fit and finish that would make Rolls-Royce squirm.
On the road, the thing is an absolute beast. While it corners about as well as a block of melting cheese, it goes like absolute hell and makes enough noise to permanently damage any children you fly by at full throttle. This is even more impressive when you realize how unapologetically boxy the damn thing is. It’s literally as aerodynamic as a rock. Being able to accelerate like it does is no small feat, as it fights against Mother Nature on all fronts.
The luxury and on-road acceleration are impressive by any standard. It’s the off-road capability of the $138,000 luxury truck that has me up the wall.
You can show up at the world premier of any high-budget Hollywood film in the G63 and no one would bat an eye. You could drag race muscle cars all day long and likely win. You can also go off-road with the best of them, too.
After ripping and roaring down the lonely California highways for a while, I decided to get daring and turned off the road and headed into the hills outside Willow Springs. I paused, popped the thing into low-range, and, for the hell of it, locked up all three locking differentials. I was off.
Rolling on low profile tires ascending hills even a Toyota FJ Cruiser would find a challenge all the while bathed in the pinnacle of German luxury made me giggle. Rocks, ruts, you name it; nothing got in the way of the G63.
I paused at the top of the hill snapped the photos you see above and waited to watch the sunset.
Delightfully, to my surprise, all the brush around me was sage. So as I drove over, crushed, or set the plants alight with the low-hanging exhaust pipes, they gave off the most sensuous smells.
It was an incredible moment. That was, until I realized there was nowhere to turn around and I had to either go forward into the unknown or back down the 35-degree rocky incline. That, my friends, is a story for another day.