At first, when you look at this Mercedes, you’ll wonder what the big fuss is all about. After all, the new G-class looks like any other durable, reliable and rugged off-roader with its boxy styling and body-on-frame construction. But don’t be fooled — this is anything but your run-of-the-mill rugged off-roader.
The AMG badge gives a hint of its capabilities. Step on the throttle and you get an idea of what’s in store. Performance is mindblowing; so good, in fact, that it will outrun a Porsche Boxster in the way that a 2.5-tonne mammoth shouldn’t. Here lies the brilliance of the G55 AMG — it has a fantastic blend of desirable SUV qualities like high ground clearance, off-road capability, presence, a commanding driving position and the performance of a sports coupé.
The G-class is powered by a 5.5-litre V8 motor. But AMG, which cannot be satisfied by just that, has supercharged it and the power output is a whopping 507bhp. The tremendous thrust that this engine musters instantaneously is so addictive that you have to make a conscious effort to keep this beast at sane speeds. This amount of power propels this car to 100kph in a scarcely believable 6.23 seconds. Keep your foot down and it closes on its 210kph top speed with the ferocity of a Great White shark, all the while covering ground at an incredible pace. The five-speed gearbox is quick and very obedient, downshifting every time we ask it to.
The G55’s stiffened suspension shows good poise around corners but you always feel its bulk and the unresponsive steering is another deterrent. While it may not have the handling prowess of a sports car, the car feels rock solid when driving in a straight line. The ride is firm and undeterred over sharp bumps, but it doesn’t get as uncomfortable as you would expect. The ride quality at high speeds is pretty flat.
The G55 AMG is an excellent on-off-road package, but it doesn’t come cheap. It is priced at a stratospheric R1.24 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi).
But as Mercedes is going to sell only a limited number of G55s in India, the G55 AMG will be as exclusive as, or even more than, Rolls Royces. Look no further if sports car performance with off-road credibility is what you want.