Tomorrows News, Today
6 wheel drive!
Just right for dune hopping!
The largest and most extreme road legal SUV to ever hail from Mercedes' road car operations – the lunatic six-wheel Mercedes G63 AMG 6x6.
Set to be produced on a limited basis by Mercedes-Benz's Austrian partner Magna Steyr from the third-quarter of 2013, the colossal double-cab pickup started life as an even more rugged military version of the G320 CDI conceived and engineered for the Australian army and in operation since 2011.
This plush, leather-lined civilian version of the off-road vehicle has been conceived to appeal to some of Mercedes-Benz's most affluent clientele. It features six driven wheels, low range gearing, five differential locks and a tyre control system for its standard 37-inch wheels. Mercedes says it is "the last word in forward-thrusting power for the beaten track".
Pricing hasn't been announced, but the head of Mercedes-Benz G-class development, Axel Harries, suggests the G63 AMG 6x6 will be Mercedes-Benz’s second most expensive model behind the new SLS Electric Drive when official sales get underway in October around the £350,000 mark.
Unlike the military version of the G320 CDI 6x6, which is fitted with Mercedes-Benz's 3.0-litre V6 diesel and is offered in outputs of up to 220 bhp, the G63 AMG 6x6 gets a twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 from AMG with 536 bhp. Torque is a 560lb ft – crucial in providing the shove required to haul the big four-seater’s considerable 3775 kg kerb weight.
Mercedes' 7G-tronic seven-speed automatic transmission is fitted in place of the old NAG1 five-speed auto 'box found on the army version. Its transfer case can alter between a 0.87:1 high-range ratio for on-road driving and 2.16:1 low-range ratio for off-road conditions to all six wheels in a nominal 30:40:30 split. Power for the rearmost axle is supplied by an extra shaft. There are five electronic differential locks offering 100 per cent lock up of all six wheels, operated by three switches on the dashboard.
Relaying the engine's strong reserves to the ground are massive 37-inch wheels featuring a bead-plate design. They are shod with 12.5in-wide wheels.
At 5875 mm in length, 2110 mm in width and 2210 mm in height, the G63 AMG 6x6 is 1106 mm longer, 225 mm wider and 272 mm higher than the G63 AMG. Along with a 300 mm increase in the wheelbase through to the middle axle at 3120 mm, the front and middle axles have increased in width by 281 mm each at 1790 mm, requiring widened and lengthened carbonfibre guards to cover the huge wheels.
Ground clearance is a whopping 460 mm while fording depth is put at 1000mm – some 250 mm and 400 mm more than the standard car. Approach and departure angles have been increased by 16 degrees and 27 degrees at 52 degrees and 54 degrees respectively, while the breakover angle has increased by 1 degree at 22 degrees.