Public perception of vehicle desirability is influenced most distinctly by celebrity endorsement. If Drake is spotted driving a blacked out Chevy Tahoe, some fans will start shopping for a similar model the very next day. But a celeb’s stamp of approval can only do so much to elevate the status of a vehicle (and its owner). Just because you drive a Drake-spec Tahoe doesn’t mean anyone will give you a second glance.
Automotive star power (without the star) depends on exclusivity and heritage – traits the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has in generous measure. From its origins 40 years ago as a spartan utility vehicle to its current luxury-laden form, the G-Class has remained defiantly boxy and thoroughly capable off-road. Relatively small production and steep pricing compared to Mercedes-Benz’s other SUVs make the G-Class (especially the range-topping G63) a natural fit for the famous and famously rich.
Standing out in a wealth-dense region like Orange County, California is arduous. Here, Teslas flow like milk and honey, Rolls-Royce Ghosts are strewn about mall parking lots, and BMW 3 Series are high school handouts. Anything less than amazing is callously overlooked. The 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63, though, is nothing short of dazzling.
Though the truck’s traditional boxy greenhouse remains, a new generation introduces the most significant changes to the G-Class since its inception. While instantly recognizable, the 2019 G Wagon’s exterior is more modern and refined, bridging the gap between classic cool and contemporary chic. Off-road pedigree is displayed via a rear-mounted tire carrier, boxy fender flares, and a prominent push bar. AMG’s flex takes the form of 22-inch matte black wheels, a slatted grille, and side exit exhaust pipes.
Amidst softly sculpted crossovers, the G63’s brutish beauty is impossible to ignore. A lofty seating position and massive windows afford a clear view of the peering eyes of fellow motorists and passing pedestrians. A dab of the throttle extracts a primordial grunt from the twin-turbocharged V8, giving holdout audience members a reason to relent — but they’d better look fast before 577 horsepower carry the G63 out of sight.
In contrast to its subtly polished exterior, the G63’s cabin takes a massive leap towards the progressive. A pair of vibrant 12.3-inch digital displays sits within a leather-wrapped, contrast-stitched dashboard, looking at home on upright bulkhead. Elsewhere, brushed metals, piano black surfaces, textured wood grain, and quilted Napa leather comprise premium accommodation. Available heated, ventilated, and massaging seats put front passengers at ease while dual pane glass subdues the noise of wind pelting one of the least aerodynamic vehicles on sale.
Every celebrity deserves an entourage and while the outgoing G-Class contorted full-size adults behind the front seats, the latest model offers plenty of room for company. Ride quality is similarly improved despite AMG’s performance tuning; an adaptive damping system and independent front suspension manage the G63’s weight and ladder frame chassis with ease.
It’s all too easy to acquire an ego at the helm of the new G63. With much of the world literally beneath you and four decades of German engineering propelling you, there are few more majestic ways to travel. If you aren’t a star before you drive a G-Class, you’ll certainly feel like one by the time you arrive.