After a one-year hiatus, the AMG version of the G-Class is back on the market. Buyers looking for a combination of serious off road ability, plenty of luxury and ludicrously quick acceleration will appreciate its return. The interior of the G-Class has also been given a refresh for 2013. There is a new steering wheel and a new dashboard, which houses a 7-inch display and Mercedes-Benz' COMAND system. Exterior modifications are minor, including new mirrors and LED daytime running lights.
The standard G550 is powered by a 382-horsepower, 5.5L V8. This engine can push the vehicle to 60 mph in just 6 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz. Fuel economy isn't stellar, but it's reasonable considering what the G-Class was built for: 12 mpg city and 15 highway. For 2013 Mercedes decided that buyers might want even more speed. Enter the high performance G63 AMG. Powered by a twin turbo V8, the G63 produces 544 horsepower, making the big off roader almost unnaturally quick.
Thanks to a serious mechanical 4-wheel-drive system, complemented by modern electronics, the G-Class has the goods for serious off-roading as well as simply taking on slippery road conditions. The system comes with three differential locks to distribute power in whatever way is best for the conditions. On- or off-road, traction is aided by the electronic stability control system, which also helps distribute power left to right.
The G-Class is an old-style, truck-like SUV in look and feel, yet its interior is appointed with top-notch luxury materials, including premium leather, burl walnut trim and wood and leather trim elsewhere.
Inside, the G-Class provides a very upright driving position that's quite different than in any other vehicle from the brand's lineup; back seats have enough room for adults, but they're not as easily reconfigurable for cargo compared to most modern SUVs. Also, the back door is hinged on the side rather than the top.
Cruise control, a dual-zone automatic climate control system, rear heated seats and a parking assistant are included with the G-Class, as well as a heated steering wheel and heated and ventilated multi-contour front seats. There's also a premium, 610-watt harman/kardon audio system that also features an SD memory card slot, iPod connectivity and Sirius satellite radio and HD radio tuners. The navigation system includes a 40-GB hard drive as well as live traffic info and Zagat restaurant ratings.