Birth of a new icon
Even before your eyes widen in disbelief, your ears will signal the arrival of the mighty Merc. It may not be the biggest beast in their belly of tricks but it certainly is the most ostentatious and outrageous. Commissioned originally for military oligarchs and heads of state who needed a vehicle for their more challenging outings, the G-Class has evolved over the years into a more luxurious and road-worthy SUV that can hold its own against more modern rivals, and completely decimate them off-road. Everything about it points towards a single goal - to reach the destination, no matter how far or how high. Now, partner that with an engine bearing the AMG badge and an Alien Green crazy colour and you have a recipe for mass destruction and constant smiles.
Loaded to the top
This new-generation G63 AMG comes with a 5.5lt twin-turbo V8 under the hood that puts a mind-boggling 750Nm on the tarmac. Or loose dirt. Three lockable differentials ensure that no situation is tough enough for this Merc. Then add a pinch of attitude and 8 inches of ground clearance along with a meaty growl that is ready to scare pedestrians and fellow motorists on demand of the right foot. It’s 571bhp of power is most useable off-road though, not so much on expressways and drag races at red lights, mind you. While the interior has every modern amenity that will be handy at base camp, under the skin, it can’t disguise its tractor roots. The ladder frame chassis doesn’t inspire confidence out on the open motorway when stretching that AMG engine, the steering offering minimal feedback and with more play than Moby. The acceleration is brutal and can leave many sports sedans scratching heads in disbelief, but you won’t be able to disguise the sweaty palms on the steering wheel while doing it.
Mountain climbing made easy
Show it a challenging piece of muddy track and it comes out all smiles. The myriad of 4WD assistance systems like Hill Descent Control, differential locks, and the crazy approach and departure angles make mincemeat out of any hill climb or slushy decline. The off-road trails around the Pavana lake in Maharashtra are largely undiscovered by motorists, making it the perfect place to test out the big Merc. Its massive torque curve just lets it pull out of the deepest ditch without a hitch and if you want to get even more adventurous, its wading capability might put a Land Rover to shame. Let’s not forget it has a supercar engine breathing under that hood and it starts to sound more and more bizarre. You won’t even need to use the differential locks unless you’ve really gotten yourself lodged at the bottom of a volcano.
Ouch, what was that?
In fact, this car thrives on outrageous. It doesn’t have any right to exist but it does and makes a mockery of other SUVs while at it. Step inside and it's positively different. The seating position like you’re perched for an Elephant-back Safari, the electric window controls high up on the window sill hint at its water-crossing habits while the slab sided doors and glass areas confirm ease of repair should anything go turtle. Although, with 20in wheels shod with 275 section tires, I doubt if these things ever go turtle, unless you’re gunning for a tight right-hander in excess of 140/kmph. If it doesn’t posses one thing, it’s the rest of the AMG range’s body control. Its high centre of gravity and Godzilla-like weight issue causes the ride to feel too bumpy at low speeds, especially on the constantly undulating surfaces of Mumbai’s urban landscape. The stiff suspension also doesn’t really allow you to fly over speed bumps unless you want to be jolted around violently. But the look on shocked faces around the car makes it all worth it, somewhat. With its heavy price tag of almost ₹2.5 crores, it’s an eye wavering indulgence for the rich and their weekend jaunts. It does try to keep its wealthy occupants in luxury, though. The front seats offer heating/cooling on the back which I found the most useful in the searing October heat of Mumbai. Infinite adjustment is possible to the seat bolstering and lumbar making for comfortable thrones up front but the rear passengers might feel like pile ons. Although, they are treated to the usual techno wizardry including personal headsets with screens, Harman Kardon audio system and seats that look seriously rich with the diamond pattern and colour-matched alien green stitching on the leather.
Bold and the bizarre
You will never need 536bhp to go up to your weekend house. Ever. But it’s good to know that you have the tools to cross the floodwaters if you have to. It’s that thinking that has shaped the evolution of this icon and in its latest iteration and AMG guise, it’s perhaps the most capable it's ever been in its 30-year history. It sips fuel at the rate of a litre every four kilometres if you’re pushing it hard and assaults the senses with excessive wind, tyre and engine noise, so better read the disclaimer before you sign up for this lifestyle. With the internals of a workhorse, the interiors of a king's carriage and the snarl of an angry lion, this unique vehicle defies logic and that’s exactly its purpose of existence.