I’ve been a loyal BMW culture nut for as long as I can remember. In fact, I deliberately go out of my way in order to avoid the tiniest hint of interest in this German engineered vehicle. However, the Superior 6×6 all-wheel drive technology, AMG V8 biturbo power has disarmed years of resistance. to such an extent I fear my conversion can no longer hide. With confidence, there’s no room for doubt: the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 near-series show vehicle is an off-roader which represents the last word in forward-thrusting power far from the beaten track. 400 kW (544 hp), a 6×6 drive, low-range ratio, five differential locks, portal axles, tyre pressure control system and a special chassis allow this pickup to make good progress in environments where the concept of individual mobility normally bites the dust as soon as the road ends. A truly lucid description of the impact at first glace is frankly ineffable. But if pressed to to choose a one word description; Epic seems befitting for this adventurous super vehicle. And for anyone that imagines this Dakar-Rally-style vehicle is on the wrong track, you can thank the wealth of interior enhancements from the AMG stable, that the occupants will enjoy the highest possible degree of comfort, even when negotiating the worst that the combined forces of topography and meteorology can throw at them. The exclusive touches even extend to the load area which is finished in solid bamboo. Truly Epic.
The Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 near-series show vehicle brings together the best of three worlds. The latest, revised G-Class series-production models lend the superior off-roader the effortless superiority and refinement of a vehicle which has dominated the off-road scene for 34 years. They are also the source of the up-to-date interior concept with the contemporary dashboard featuring impressive new instruments and a large, central colour display. Unreserved robustness as well as practicality and a can-do attitude to off-road driving are the traits inherited from the military and the commercial G-Class models. Finally, the renowned Mercedes-AMG luxury and performance division contributes the superior engine technology and the interior that is as luxurious as it is comfortable.
The G 63 AMG 6×6 showcar – latest member of the G-Class family
1. 6×6 technology: to the ends of the earth – and beyond
ix driven wheels, an off-road low-range ratio in the transfer case, portal axles, five differential locks which can be engaged on the move and a tyre-pressure control system which allows the pressure in the huge 37-inch tyres to be adjusted in record time while the vehicle is running. After 34 years of G-Class production, there is such a large array of “G” parts to draw on that the G63 AMG 6×6 uses almost exclusively series-production components under the skin. A case in point is the drive train: the AMG V8 biturbo engine with 400 kW (544 hp) and 760 newton metres of torque, the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission paired with the front drive system from the G63 AMG and a rear twin drive train from the 6×6 version which has already proven its reliability in service with users such as the Australian army
2. Independent and neutral: the chassis
The large tyres on the three axles, the huge ground clearance, the height of almost 2.30 metres and the width of some 2.10 metres as well as the clean-cut lines of the pickup immediately inspire respect. Like the G63 AMG and G65 AMG models before it, the super off-roader with its 5.87-metre-long body has the characteristic AMG brand face with the “twin blade” radiator grille. Other visual highlights include the use of elegant carbon fibre for the integrated LED light strips above the windscreen as well as for the large flared wheel arches while the rear load area section has a distinctive stainless-steel roll-over bar. The load area, which is lined with particularly tough and durable bamboo, can be accessed by means of a tailboard.
Sporty luxury, the hallmark of AMG, is the defining characteristic of the interior. The G63 AMG 6×6 welcomes its occupants aboard with an exclusive ambience of classic red or light brown designo leather with contrasting topstitching and attractive diamond-pattern quilting. The four electrically adjustable individual seats are heated and ventilated.
The two G63 AMG 6×6 vehicles which have been built to date were developed with Mercedes-Benz at the helm. The Graz-based Mercedes-Benz G-Class development department is the centre of competence for all “G” projects and is responsible for development and series support of the legendary cross-country vehicle. Furthermore, Graz in Austria has been the production site for all civilian and commercial G-Class vehicles since 1979. The response to the near-series show vehicle will determine if and when the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 enters small-series production.
4. 6×6 Drive technology: Ideal partnership: Off-road high-performance technology and AMG power
Six driven wheels, an off-road low-range ratio in the transfer case, portal axles and five differential locks which can be engaged on the move are features which one seeks in vain in conventional off-road vehicles. Together, they ensure that the G63 AMG 6×6 has driving dynamics which are more than a match for the toughest terrain. As a result, the show vehicle is able to storm up the highest sand dunes with ease while sand tracks hold no fears thanks to its unshakable directional stability.
5. Technical highlight: the portal axles
Newly developed for a wide variety of applications, the portal axles which have been added to the Mercedes-Benz off-road portfolio are the real technical highlight of the show vehicle. Unlike conventional rigid axles, where the wheels are centred on the axis of the shaft, the wheels of the portal axle are significantly lower thanks to the portal gears on the axle heads. As a result, the ground clearance of the G63 AMG 6×6 is increased to 460 millimetres (series-production G-Class: 210 millimetres) and the fording depth – or maybe it would be more accurate to say diving depth – is increased to 1000 millimetres (series-production: 600 millimetres).
6. Through-drive: the centre differential
A technically sophisticated solution provides the 6×6 drive system with the necessary through-drive through the differential of the first rear axle to the rear one. The arrangement which has been developed is extremely compact and requires little more space than a conventional differential housing. An extra shaft with an integrated lock situated on the side above the differential takes the drive torque to the rear axle. A chain provides the necessary power take-off for the differential of the first rear axle.
7. Precisely coordinated logic governs operation of five differential locks
With a total of five mechanical 100-percent differential locks available, drivers would certainly lose track of the settings now and again if they could be engaged separately. This is why the engineers have developed a special locking logic which ensures the best possible traction is available in every situation. The whole system is controlled electrically with the usual three differential lock switches in the centre console which are to be found in all G models. Preselected and engaged locks are indicated by yellow and red lights respectively.
• Stage 1: the two inter-axle differential locks in the transfer case and in thethrough-drive through the centre differential are active
• Stage 2: the interwheel differential locks in the tworear axle differentials are additionally activated
• Stage 3: with the front axle differential locked, allfive differential locks are now active
All lock stages can be selected regardless of whether the low-range ratio in the transfer case is selected.
Much of the credit for the superior performance of the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 is due to the AMG V8 engine and the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine develops a peak output of 400 kW (544 hp) and 760 newton metres of torque. Known in-house by the designation M 157, the engine impresses with its technological highlights. The greater thermodynamic efficiency which results from the combination of twin turbochargers, direct petrol injection and spray-guided combustion allows better fuel economy and leads to lower exhaust emissions. Fast and precise piezo-electric injectors spray the fuel into the combustion chambers, ensuring a particularly fine distribution throughout the air in the combustion chamber.
9. Faster shifting with the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC
The efficiency of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission system is further enhanced with a new fuel economy converter with centrifugal pendulum, friction-reducing bearings and transmission oil thermal management.
It makes sense to provide an ample fuel supply for vehicles which are designed to be used in remote areas. This is why the standard production tank with a capacity of 96 litres has been complemented by a 63-litre auxiliary tank. The total tank capacity therefore amounts to 159 litres.
10. Chassis and wheels: Automotive declaration of independence
As already described, the chassis is largely based on the current production configuration, the only difference being that the helical springs and dampers have been adjusted to take account of the changed characteristics of the three-axle model. For the springs, too, the engineers were able to draw on the comprehensive array of “G” parts, which includes no less than 15 different spring rates. Both the front axle and the first rear axle have substantially harder springs from the special-protection variant while the second rear axle has a softer spring rate.
11. Only a “G” can improve on a “G”
The adjustable and rally-proven gas-pressure shock absorbers are supplied by an external partner. Working in concert with the voluminous tyres, the chassis set-up impresses with its outstanding ride comfort combined with high driving dynamics and driving safety under all conditions, on and off the road.
The design of the portal axles also has a very positive effect where the tyre pressure control system is concerned. Unlike the situation found where conventional rigid axles are fitted, the inner faces of the wheel hubs are exposed and the installation space is not blocked by the drive shaft.
12. Despite a kerb weight of 3850 kg: Ground pressure distribution as low as a human footprint
With the usual wheel/tyre combinations it is impossible to reduce the tyre pressure to 0.5 bar for driving in sand. 1.0 bar is normally the lowest possible pressure, below which tyres may come off their rims during steering manoeuvres and sand can enter the sealing surface between tyre and rim, resulting in a slow puncture. The extremely low tyre pressures increase the contact patches of the 37 x 12.5 x 18 inch all-terrain tyres and provide considerable support when it comes to making progress on loose surfaces. Two processes contribute to this.
13. Body, equipment and interior: Typical AMG: A full range of exclusive equipment and appointments
he Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 leaves no room for any doubt as to its true calling. The large tyres on the three axles, the huge ground clearance, the inside height of almost 2.30 metres and the width of some 2.10 metres as well as the clean-cut lines of the pickup immediately inspire respect.
The design of the grille takes account of the classic G-Class form and fits into the overall look with its interpretation of the off-road character of the vehicle. The typical three large air intakes in the front AMG bumper allow the airflow to reach the cooling modules. Vertical stainless-steel inserts in high-gloss chrome underline the masculine look.
14. Off-road comfort with four individual seats
G63 AMG 6×6 offers an AMG instrument cluster with a colour TFT screen, the AMG main menu and a separate gear indicator as well as AMG door sill panels illuminated in white at all doors. The high-quality E-SELECT lever with the embossed AMG emblem is familiar from vehicles such as the SLS AMG. An exclusive ambience is created by the designo leather appointments – in classic red or light brown – comprising not just the upholstery of the four individual seats, but also the entire lining of the front and rear doors. Contrasting topstitching and attractive diamond-pattern quilting provide the perfect complement to the appointments.
In addition to the full array of characteristic AMG luxury features from the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 and the comprehensive designo leather appointments with four individual seats, the show vehicle is provided with a package of exclusive extras. These include a set of special features for the rear of the occupant compartment: electrically adjustable, heated and ventilated individual seats, a separate centre console – also finished in designo leather with contrasting topstitching – and the Rear Seat Entertainment System with two colour screens on the back of the front head restraints. Diamond-pattern floor mats complete the line-up.
Now to be honest, I haven’t yet crossed over to the other side, but as soon as this light turns green, money green, you might just see me on my way on an epic adventure in a Mercedes Benz G class.