BY GERRY MILES
For some reason, I’ve always really, really liked driving a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon.
My friends and family, not so much. They think the rectangular, tall-ish shoebox shape and its rather steep price (hey, if you have to ask dept.) vs. the other SUVs on the market doesn’t add up. Chalk it up to faulting function vs. form or vice-versa.
They understand that a G-Wagon will really go the places the other nice looking SUVs really can’t, but maybe if it weren’t so ugly – their words, not mine – maybe they’d reconsider.
Now I’m sure that with the release of the 6×6 G 63 AMG G Wagon I’ve got not shot of:
- a) driving one
- b) having anyone remotely like it and
- c) having the high-powered version of what appears to be the civilized Unimog come to the United States.
Hey, we’ve seen how this works when folks want a true military truck (aka the Hummer after Arnold made it cool) and then say it rides rough; is noisy (something about a huge engine between the front buckets of the first edition seemed to get by folks when they bought one), and shocker of all shockers – got poor gas mileage. But, I digress…
The AMG biturbo, 544 hp, V-8 mammoth mill mates to a 7-speed automatic transmission to move the G-wagon with a pickup bed on the back (think of a German Jeep Scrambler and you’re getting close) from 0-to-60 mph in a reported 7 seconds. Toss in that it weighs about 4 tons and that’s mighty impressive. Top speed is said to be over 100 mph.
Crawl anywhere ability is channeled through five, count’em five differential locks, portal axles, and an on-demand tire-pressure control/monitoring system. If you’re wondering how the torque is divided, the breakdown is thus:
- 40% torque to the middle axle
- 30% torque to the front axle
- 30% torque to the rear axle
As the name implies, 6×6 means there’s six drive wheels to rival perhaps a Caterpillar tractor for traction, an off-road low-range ratio in the transfer case, and 37-inch tires to aid in ground clearance.
The chassis is largely based on the current production setup, chief difference being helical springs and dampers have been adjusted to take account of the changed characteristics of the 3-axle model.
The truckness of this uber sport luxo crawler disappears inside with an interior that’s bathed in red or brown designo leather with constrasting stitching. The four bucket seats inside are also top notch offering either hot or cold air ventilation.
Price? If you have to ask ….