The high-performance G-Class is still a “G” — only better
JOHANNESBURG. With the new Mercedes-AMG G 63 (combined fuel consumption: 13.1 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions1: 299 g/km), the
Mercedes-AMG G-Class has undergone the greatest change in its history – while remaining true to its well-proven virtues. The new G 63 underpins its unique position among performance off-road vehicles with the powerful drive system, the newly developed AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension, the AMG-specific transmission modes and the new interior with optimal widescreen cockpit.
The basis for the hallmark AMG Driving Performance both on and off metalled roads is provided by the 430 kW 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine, the rear-biased all-wheel drive (40:60) with three differential locks, the extremely fast-shifting 9-speed automatic transmission, the double wishbone independent front suspension and the adaptive adjustable damping. The reinterpretation of the unmistakable design creates strong highlights with the AMG-specific radiator grille, flared wheel arches, striking side pipes on the exhaust system and the 20-inch wheels — which come as standard.
“The new Mercedes-AMG G 63 inherits the positively powerful DNA of its ancestors. Among the genes are its characteristic design and unparalleled off-roading capabilities. We only modified that which would strengthen its predecessor and make its uniqueness even more pronounced. In short, the new G 63 is still a ‘G’ — only better — which is was our customers want,” says Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Proven to be powerful: the AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine
The AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine now also replaces the previous 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine in the Mercedes-AMG G 63. It generates 430 kW in this model, and delivers a maximum torque of 850 Nm. This is available across a wide rev range between 2,500 and 3,500 rpm and provides a sense of effortless superiority —going from zero to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds. This dynamic performance is maintained up to the limited maximum speed of 220 km/h (or 240 km/h with the AMG Driver’s package).
The two turbochargers are not positioned on the outside of the cylinder banks, but inside the cylinder "V". Advantages include a compact engine design, spontaneous response of the turbochargers, and low exhaust emissions due to the optimal airflow to the near-engine catalysts. The eight-cylinder delivers its power with muscular torque in all engine speed ranges and achieves maximum efficiency for low fuel consumption and emission figures.
Two twin scroll turbochargers are used for optimal response. The housing is divided into two parallel flow channels. Combined with two separate exhaust ducts in the exhaust manifold, this makes it possible to control the exhaust gases on the turbine wheel separately. The exhaust gas from the first and fourth cylinders of the cylinder bank is fed into one duct, that from the second and third cylinders to the other duct. The aim is to prevent the individual cylinders from having mutually adverse effects on the gas cycle. This reduces the exhaust gas back pressure and improves gas exchange. The results are increased output by virtue of improved cylinder charging with fresh mixture, more torque at low revs, and very fast response times.
Other engine features include modified pistons, optimised intercooling and extensive software upgrades. Spray-guided direct petrol injection with piezo injectors, the all-aluminium crankcase, the four-valve per cylinder design with camshaft adjustment, air-water intercooling, alternator management, the ECO start/stop function and the gliding mode have all been retained.
AMG Cylinder Management cylinder deactivation system
For more efficiency, Mercedes-AMG has equipped the V8 engine in the G 63 with the AMG Cylinder Management cylinder deactivation system. In the partial-load range, cylinders two, three, five and eight are deactivated, which significantly lowers the fuel consumption. The combined fuel consumption is 13.1 l/100 km, and the combined CO2 emissions1 is 299 g/km.
When the driver has selected the “Comfort” transmission driving mode, the cylinder deactivation system is available in the wide engine speed range from 1,000 to 3,250 rpm. The AMG main menu on the instrument cluster informs the driver whether the cylinder deactivation system is in use and whether the engine is presently operating in the partial or full-load range. The transition from four to eight-cylinder operation is fast and imperceptible, so that the passengers do not experience any loss of comfort whatsoever.
AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G transmission with shorter shift times
The AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G transmission is used in the Mercedes-AMG G 63. This has a model-specific software application to achieve very short shift times. The multiple downshift function allows more spontaneous bursts of speed, while the double-declutching function in “Sport” and “Sport+” transmission modes makes for an even more emotional driving experience. Defined engine manipulation makes for even faster gear changes.
The wide ratio spread allows a choice of a very sporty or a very comfortable and efficient driving experience. In all transmission modes the G 63 moves off in first gear to ensure a dynamic sprint from standstill whenever required. The DIRECT SELECT lever has been repositioned as a steering column stalk.
“Manual” mode can be selected using a separate switch. The gear changes are based on the selected transmission mode, and the driver can now change gear using the paddles on the steering wheel. Moreover, the transmission stays in the selected gear and does not automatically shift up when the engine speed reaches the limit.
Enhanced agility and traction: AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive
The standard-specification AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive features rear-biased torque distribution with a front/rear split of 40 to 60 percent. This configuration ensures greater agility on the road and improved traction during acceleration. In the preceding model the distribution was still a neutral 50:50.
The off-road reduction gear has been developed further for operations on difficult terrain to ensure that the G 63 is able to master even more demanding off-road stretches. The reduction ratio of the transfer case is now 2.93 (i.e. considerably higher than in the preceding model’s 2.1). This assists moving off on extreme uphill gradients in particular, as the torque at the drive wheels is significantly increased.
The off-road reduction gear can be engaged via the LOW RANGE switch at speeds of up to 40 km/h. The gear ratio of the transfer case is then changed from 1.00 in HIGH RANGE to 2.93. It is possible to switch from LOW RANGE to HIGH RANGE at speeds of up to 70 km/h.
The new, intelligent multiplate clutch behaves like an automatically controlled locking differential. It ensures that the new G 63 remains manoeuvrable for longer when off-road. The advantage is that the driver has more scope before having to engage the differential locks manually.
When the driver operates the switch for the centre differential lock, the multiplate clutch switches to a 100% locking effect. The locks at the front and rear axle differentials are differential locks with a dog clutch and a 100% locking effect. All the locks can be engaged individually while on the move, both in LOW RANGE and in HIGH RANGE; firstly centre, then rear axle and finally front axle differential.
The differential locks now respond to the switches even more rapidly, as they are electromechanically actuated and fully networked. An LED and the central driver's display indicate which lock is currently active.
With adaptive adjustable damping: AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension
The new G 63 is more dynamic and comfortable than its predecessor on the road, and performs even better when it is off-road. The agile driving impression is substantially due to the suspension system, which has been completely redesigned by Mercedes-AMG and features coil springs all-round. For the first time the front axle has an independent, double wishbone suspension; a rigid axle with a five-link suspension is used at the rear.
The components of the double-wishbone front suspension are directly mounted to the ladder-type frame without a subframe. The attachment points of the lower wishbone are positioned as far up as possible. This arrangement ensures good driveability both on and off the road. A strut tower brace, known as a suspension bridge, now connects the front strut towers, which increases the torsional rigidity of the ladder-type frame.
At the rear, the new axle is guided with four longitudinal control arms on each side and a Panhard rod. This makes normal driving on the road even more comfortable. When off-road, the rear spring compression of 82 mm and rebound of 142 mm plus the ground clearance of 241 mm to the rear axle gear help to ensure a safe ride even in extreme situations. To reduce body roll, the G 63 has additional transverse stabilisers at the front and rear axles.
The AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension with adaptive adjustable damping is standard equipment. This fully automatic, electronically controlled system adjusts the damping at each wheel to the current requirements. This improves driving safety and ride comfort. The damping is adjusted individually for each wheel, and depends on the driving style, the road surface and the selected suspension setting. The ideal operating point can be selected at all times on the basis of extensive information relating to acceleration or vehicle speed, for example.
The driver has a choice between three different sets of damping characteristics, namely "Comfort", "Sport" and "Sport+" using a switch on the centre console, to influence the driving experience from very comfortable to taut and sporty.
Direct and with clear feedback: the AMG speed-sensitive steering
The electromechanical speed-sensitive steering installed in the G 63 for the first time has a variable ratio to ensure precise and authentic feedback. The steering servo assistance is reduced at high speeds, and continuously increases at low speeds. This means that relatively little steering force is required at low speeds, and that the best possible control over the vehicle is maintained at high speeds. Steering power assistance is available in a choice of two modes – “Comfort” or “Sport”. The relevant characteristics are automatically activated depending on the selected DYNAMIC SELECT driving mode, or can be personalised in “Individual” mode. In “Sport” the driver receives more direct feedback about the driving status.
Characteristics at the touch of a finger: AMG DYNAMIC SELECT
For the first time in the history of the Mercedes-AMG G-Class, the driving characteristics can be individualised at the touch of a finger with five on-road and three off-road driving modes.
With the five DYNAMIC SELECT on-road modes “Slippery”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport+” and “Individual”, the characteristics range from efficient and comfortable to very sporty. Key parameters such as the response of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering are modified in the process. Independently of the DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs, the driver has the option of pressing the "M" button to switch directly to manual mode, in which gearshifts are executed exclusively using the shift paddles on the steering wheel. If required, the stages of the adaptive adjustable suspension can be selected as well.
Three off-road modes “Sand”, “Trail” and “Rock”, are available when driving off the beaten track. These are accessed using the switch in the centre console for activation of the central differential lock, and can then be selected with the DYNAMIC SELECT rocker switch. “Sand” modifies the parameters for sporty dynamics and the best possible grip and steerability on sandy stretches or desert sand dunes. “Trail” allows maximum performance on soft, muddy or slippery surfaces. “Rock” is the mode for extremely demanding, rocky terrain with severe axle articulation and frequent lifting of one or more wheels.
All the driving modes, both on road and off road, are visualised in the instrument cluster and in the central media display. Deselection of all the locks returns the setting to the on-road driving modes.
Bodyshell: made for the toughest jobs
The basis for the enormous off-road capabilities of the G 63 is provided by a torsionally rigid ladder-type frame of high-strength steel and a mounted body of composite construction. This design is considerably more robust and suitable for off-road operations than a unibody construction. As the lowest point of this construction, the frame ensures a low centre of gravity and protects the major assemblies, fuel tank and exhaust system during ground contact (e.g. when driving over obstacles).
Another development aim was to reduce the weight of the body. Using a digital prototype, the developers simulated the operating life of individual components and assemblies to determine where lighter materials could be used without compromising durability, operating life and quality.
The result is a new material mix: the bodyshell consists of various grades of steel. The wings, bonnet and doors are made of aluminium. To be able to retain the door hinges and handles typical of the G-Class, the developers modified these to suit the new aluminium design. The A and B-pillars are made of high-strength steel in view of their load-bearing function.
Intelligent design increases the torsional rigidity of the frame, body shell and body mounts by around 55 percent, from 6537 to 10,162 Nm/deg. This provides the ideal basis for maximum handling precision. Comfort has also benefited as vibrations and noise in the interior have been considerably reduced.
The roof is no longer spot-welded, but instead connected to the body structure by laser welding, resulting in better surface quality and higher body strength. The flange width was retained, but optimised for the new welding method. For the first time, all the fixed windows are adhesive bonded to the body. This not only increases the torsional rigidity of the body, but also makes the window frames more resistant to corrosion.
Off-road capability was the main focus during further development of the doors. The side and rear doors have a protective foil cladding on the inside, so that no water can enter when crossing watercourses. The surfaces of the frame, vehicle floor and body are specially treated to withstand even the most severe elements, be it water, snow, salt or sand.
Sporty and distinctive: the exterior design
The unmistakable design features give the new AMG G 63 its unique appearance: the boxy silhouette, the proud bonnet, external door hinges, round headlamps, mounted direction indicators, robust door handles, muscular protective strips with inserts in high-gloss black with a silver AMG emblem, the exposed spare wheel on the rear door with a stainless steel cover and three-dimensional Mercedes star.
The front section of the G 63 is characterised by the AMG-specific radiator grille and the AMG bumper with large side air inlets and trim in matt iridium silver. The headlamps, indicators and tail lights are in LED High Performance technology as standard. This lighting consumes less energy and has a particularly long service life.
Customers have a choice of eleven new exterior paint finishes (e.g. brilliant blue or designo mystic white bright). In total, 24 paint colours are now available, of which nine are metallic and 13 are designo.
MULTIBEAM LED headlamps including Adapative Highbeam Assist plus, come standard. These each use 84 individually controlled high-performance LED modules to illuminate the road surface automatically with an extremely bright and precisely directed beam of light, without dazzling other road users. That is because this individual control allows the light distribution of the left and right headlamps to be adapted separately, quickly and dynamically to suit the changing situation on the road. This improves safety for all road users.
With the enhanced fog light function, the MULTIBEAM LED technology also allows the headlamp on the driver's side to illuminate that side more actively, while masking any rise in the light beam. As a result, the outer half of the road surface is more brightly illuminated and back-glare from the light reflected from the fog is reduced.
Active safety at a high level
As standard equipment, Active Lane Keeping Assist with two intensity settings, uses one-sided braking action to prevent the vehicle from unintentionally leaving its lane – for example when inadvertently crossing uninterrupted lane markings. The system uses a camera to recognise when the driver is crossing a lane marking. Steering wheel vibrations alert the driver to the situation. If the driver fails to react, the G-Class is braked on one side to return it to its lane.
Image recognition and information from the digital road map in the navigation system allow the permitted maximum speed and any restrictions on overtaking for the current route section to be computed and shown in the instrument cluster. Additional restrictions such as speed limits in wet conditions (warning when the windscreen wipers are switched on) or speed limits only for trucks are also taken into account. Traffic Sign Assist is also able to recognise no-entry signs and warn the driver to check the direction of travel.
Passive safety: protecting the occupants
The passive safety of the new G-Class is based on a new body design with a particularly rigid passenger cell, the ladder-type frame and specifically deformable crumple zones. In a frontal crash, the ladder-type frame uses a special support to direct longitudinal forces into the floor structure. The extra-rigid passenger cell gives the occupants sufficient protective space. It also reduces the deceleration forces acting on the occupants in an accident. Regarding new standard safety equipement, the new G-Class comes with two additional airbags in the A pillars, and a kneebag.
Mercedes-AMG G 63 with further distinctive features
Other characteristics of the G 63 include the flared front and rear wheel arches, which create space for the larger, wider wheels. Running boards as standard, distinctive trim elements on the front and rear bumpers and metallic paintwork as standard round off the exclusive exterior. Other distinguishing features include the "V8 BITURBO" lettering on the front wings and the Mercedes-AMG G 63 model badge on the rear door. Red brake callipers, perforated brake discs and up to 22-inch wheel upgrades available for the first time, round off the exterior design.
The G 63 looks particularly striking with the optional AMG Night package. In this case, the headlamps, tail lights, indicator lenses, rear window and rear side windows are dark-tinted. The obsidian black paint finish on the exterior mirror housings, the spare wheel ring and the trim in the front and rear bumpers, together with the black-painted underride guard, emphasises the confident appearance which is rounded off by matte-black 21 or 22-inch wheels.
Sporty look with model-specific details: the interior design
The new G 63 has been given a completely newly designed, modern interior that echoes specific exterior features. The shape of the round headlamps is reflected in the side air vents, and that of the indicators in the tweeters on the dashboard. Hallmarks of the G 63 also include the grab handle in front of the front passenger and the chrome-highlighted switches for the three differential locks.
The new fully digital 12.3 inch Widescreen Cockpit comes as standard for the first time in the new G-Class allowing the driver to have three different display styles. These styles are “Classic”, “Sporty” and “Progressive”.
The new dimensional concept in the interior benefits all the occupants. The increase in length (+101 millimetres), width (+121 millimetres) and height
(+40 millimetres) provides the basis for a significantly more airy and spacious impression than in the previous model.
The interior dimensions at a glance
|Legroom in the front||+38 mm|
|Legroom in the rear||+150 mm|
|Shoulder room in front||+38 mm|
|Shoulder room in rear||+27 mm|
|Elbow room in front||+68 mm|
|Elbow room in rear mm||+56 mm|
The rear seats can be folded down in a ratio of 40, 60 or 100 percent. The seats in the G-Class are equipped as standard with numerous convenience functions and are ergonomically designed, thus providing enhanced seating comfort and lateral support. Features include the Memory function for the driver's seat, seat heating front and rear, as well as luxury head restraints in the front.
This ride comfort can optionally be boosted still further with the Active Multicontour Seat package. In addition to the special multicontour seats, this encompasses such features as various massage functions, climate-controlled seats, and fast seat heating. This variant also offers electrically adjustable lumbar supports for the driver and front passenger. The side sections of the seat cushions and backrests of the active multicontour seats include integrated air chambers that fill or empty continuously depending on the driving dynamics, thus providing better support for the seating positions of driver and front passenger and, for example, offering more lateral support during cornering.
Interior: as luxurious as it is authentic
While the exterior maintains the iconic, classic look, the interior of the G-Class has undergone a fundamental modern redesign which reinterprets the genes of the classic vehicle to reflect modern luxury. With its off-road character and top-class luxury appointments, the G-Class has always combined two extremes into a harmonious symbiosis. Unmistakable at first glance and from the first touch, only high-quality materials are used. Every detail is finished by hand with the utmost care.
With its unmistakable character and high-quality appointments, the G-Class has always managed to combine off-road capability and luxury in a particularly harmonious way. Even in its standard specification, the G-Class's timeless and authentic open-pore wood trim gives it an air of classical elegance. Its stylish details include the generous use of high-quality metal or carbon fibre trim, and its leather seats. The doors are very solid, clear evidence of that hallmark "G" functionality. A well-conceived stowage space concept with numerous stowage compartments (e.g. in the armrest or in the rear doors) ensures that everything has its place. There is now an illuminated compartment under the armrest for items such as a penknife or sunglasses. The adjustable backrest of the rear bench seat is free-standing for maximum variability. Ten adjustment stages allow for maximum flexibility.
New AMG Performance steering wheel as standard
Extremely sporty design, a grippy shape with a heavily contoured rim and intuitive operation are the key attributes of the new AMG Performance steering wheel in nappa leather, which is standard equipment. It has a flattened lower section and is perforated in the grip area. The steering wheel shift paddles are galvanised.
Using the integrated touch control buttons located on the steering wheel, the functions of the multimedia system (left) and instrument cluster (right) can be intuitively controlled by horizontal and vertical swiping movements of a finger. As in the S-Class, the settings for Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and cruise control are made in the left control panels. The control panels on the left are used to activate the voice control and telephone, and to regulate the sound volume, music selection and other functions of the multimedia system.
Connectivity and digitisation using the latest technology is provided by the infotainment system COMAND Online with NTG 5.5, which is standard. This begins with effortless integration of a smartphone into the onboard infotainment system. Phone calls can then be conveniently made via the Bluetooth® hands-free system.
Apple's smartphone-based infotainment system CarPlay® and Google's Android Auto™ can also be used with COMAND Online. If a corresponding smartphone is connected by USB, the customer can, if desired, switch to the CarPlay® or Android AutoTM interface.
COMAND Online offers fast 3D hard-drive navigation with topographical map display, 3D buildings and 3D map rotations. The system presents its content interactively and its features include an animated compass. COMAND Online uses the familiar traffic data service Live Traffic Information. This allows reception of up-to-date and precise traffic information in real time for an exact estimate of the time of arrival.
Audio playback is possible from various sources. For example via Bluetooth® or USB stick. COMAND Online also offers video playback and an integrated hotspot functionality for up to three mobile devices. It allows passengers in all seats to connect different WiFi-capable devices, such as laptop or tablet computers, to the internet.
Mercedes me connect: a direct connection to the vehicle
Under the name "Mercedes me connect", Mercedes-Benz offers an extensive package of free standard services and Remote Online services via an on-board communication module. The range of services is being expanded continuously. The free basic services include Mercedes-Benz emergency call (eCall), Accident Recovery, Breakdown Management and Remote vehicle diagnostics.
The optional Remote Online services allow drivers to connect to their vehicle from anywhere and at any time e.g. by smartphone, to access vehicle information and to remotely activate a variety of functions. The range of functions includes remote door locking/unlocking and programming of the auxiliary heating. This works both with the Mercedes me app (available for iOS and Android) and via the Mercedes me portal (www.mercedes.me).
A further comfort highlight is the Concierge Service, which is now also available for the G-Class in conjunction with Mercedes me connect. Subscribed customers can take advantage of a number of individual services: from making a restaurant reservation to obtaining tips about tourist routes, information on cultural and sporting events and bookings through to sending navigation destinations directly to the vehicle.
Typical AMG V8 exhaust note
The dual-flow exhaust system features side pipes below the rear doors. The twin tailpipes in high-gloss chrome emit the typical AMG V8 sound. The standard exhaust flap can be adjusted in two stages using the switch in the centre console or depending on the selected driving mode, to make the exhaust note more sporty or discreet.
“The new AMG G 63 brings driving performance to the off-road vehicles segment. Mercedes-AMG took the already strong genes of the G-Class’ predecessors and made them even stronger, adapting them in their own special way to modern times. While the character of this icon remains, its interior and exterior have both transitioned to modern luxury. The G 63 has now reached a completely new dimension in terms of technology, with the 4.0 litre V8 biturbo engine, the off-road characteristics, the agility and the vehicle dynamics it achieves,” says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.
Exclusive “Edition 1” special model
The new Mercedes-AMG G 63 is also available as an exclusive “Edition 1” model. The combination of equipment details turns the special model into the flagship of the range. The available paint finishes are magnetite black, obsidian black, iridium silver, mojave silver, selenite grey, designo graphite metallic, designo platinum black, designo mystic white bright, designo platinum magno and designo night black magno. As a discreet contrast the sports stripes along the vehicle sides are in matt graphite grey. The exterior mirror housings have a decorative red stripe while the AMG Night package with features in high-gloss black, reinforce the muscular impression. The matte black 22-inch forged wheels in a cross-spoke design have red-painted rim flanges.
The red highlights continue in the interior: They can be found on numerous interior features, for example as red contrasting topstitching on the dashboard support, centre console, door panels and rear seats. The front sport seats in black/red pepper nappa leather also show this striking colour. The sport seats feature a dynamic diamond pattern with red contrasting topstitching as standard. The carbon-fibre trim has highlights in red pepper, and the Performance steering wheel in DINAMICA microfibre with a flattened lower section is embellished with red contrasting topstitching and a red 12 o'clock marking.
“Almost 40 years after its market launch, The G-Class remains the only Mercedes-Benz model series not to have known an end of production to date. The G-Class truly keeps evolving, being stronger than time and we are look forward to the next 40 years,” concludes Govender.