2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Mercedes Benz 544 hp G 63 AMG 6x6 off-roader close to production

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March 18, 2013

The G 63 6x6 gets dirty

The G 63 6x6 gets dirty

Image Gallery (60 images)

What type of vehicle do you want if you plan to tackle dirt trails, rock fields and rolling slickrock expanses? Why, a 4x4, of course! Not necessarily, says Mercedes-Benz. You may want to add a pair of wheels and capitalize on the sheer power and might of the new G 63 AMG 6x6.

The standard G-Class is already one of the meanest-looking off-road vehicles out there. Despite the big Mercedes three-point and luxurious interior painting a story of comfort and elegance, the vehicle just begs to be ridden over rock, through murky water and into thick dust clouds.

Yet, the standard G 63 AMG looks so ordinary when compared to its new brother – like Danny DeVito standing next to Arnold Schwarznegger. Not only do six wheels just make a car look as apocalypse-ready as possible, but the G 63 6x6 gets other additions, such as a pick-up bed and extra-high clearance. Whether it be the smoldering rubble of a fallen metropolis or the shifty, mucky ground left in the wake of a landslide, this six-wheeler is going to eat it up and excrete it out without making a pit stop.

Mercedes describes it succinctly: "A look at the key data of the G 63 AMG 6x6 makes it clear that this model's off-road world begins at a point where anything less than a vehicle with caterpillar tracks would have to capitulate."

That data begins with a 544-hp AMG 5.5-liter V8 biturbo engine with 560 lb-ft (760 Nm) and continues through the SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission with three drive modes, transfer case with low-range ratio, and rear twin drivetrain that combine to deliver power to the half-dozen wheels. To ensure that the engine has plenty of fuel to push the massive rock crawler into remote lands and back, the 96-liter (25.4-gallon) main tank is augmented with a 63-liter (16.6-gallon) auxiliary tank – and you thought your SUV was expensive to fill up.

The G 63 makes short work of sand, thanks to low-pressure-friendly double bead lock wheels

Five differential locks are managed by an integrated logic that keeps traction no matter how uneven and slick the terrain gets. The differential locks are activated with the usual three switches. In stage 1, the two inter-axle differential locks in the transfer case and in the through-drive through the center differential are active. In stage 2, the interwheel differential locks in the two rear axle differentials are additionally activated. In stage 3, with the front axle differential locked, all five differential locks are active.

In order to get as much handling as it possibly can from the 8,488-pound (3,850-kg) beast and its 13.8-foot (4.2-meter) wheelbase, Mercedes splits the torque 30 - 40 - 30 between the front and rear two axles. The tires putting that torque to work stand 37 inches tall and benefit from a pressure control system with onboard air compressor. Pressure gauges monitor tire pressure, and the driver can adjust it on the fly from inside the cabin. So when transitioning from sand to rock, there's no need to jump out of the car to adjust pressure. Two-part beadlock wheels keep the tires rolling, even at low, sand-friendly pressures of 7.25 psi (0.5 bar).

The portal axles help give the G 63 6x6 more than double the ground clearance of the produ...

If you look at the G 63 6x6, you'll notice that its wheels are not centered on the axles. This is due to what Mercedes calls the "real technical highlight" of the off-roader. Using a series of portal axles, which were developed for the military and debut on a civilian vehicle for the first time, the wheels sit lower, raising the body by 250 mm (9.8 in) when compared to the series-production G-Class. This gives the model 460 mm (1.5 feet) of ground clearance and a fording depth – or "dive depth" as Mercedes playfully refers to it – of a full meter (3.3 feet), up from 600 mm (2 feet) on the G class. In other words, jutting rocks and deep pools don't require re-routing. And even if the driver does get a little overconfident, Mercedes has armed the underbody with three-part stainless steel protection.

Because the portal axles sit at the same position in regard to the chassis as on the standard G 63, the 6x6's chassis is only slightly revised. It uses independent axle suspension with hard spring rates on the front and first rear axles and a soft rate on the second rear axle. The vehicle also makes use of rally-tested, adjustable gas-pressure shock absorbers.

The load area is adorned with bamboo

Despite looking tougher than any vehicle without camouflage and anti-tank artillery, the G 63 six-wheeler comes with the usual upscale interior. It is clad in diamond-quilted designo leather with contrast topstitching. The four seats are electrically adjustable, heated and ventilated. Alcantara and leather dress various parts of the cabin and a dual-screen rear seat entertainment system keeps the passengers busy while the G 63 rolls to the trailhead. Even the load area gets some decorative love, featuring solid bamboo.

Mercedes refers to the G 63 AMG 6x6 repeatedly as a "show vehicle" but also calls it "near series" [production]. It says that response will dictate the vehicle's chances of seeing small-series production. However, an Autocar report that came out two weeks before the official press release indicated Mercedes plans to commission Magna Steyr to build a limited number of six-wheelers, with pricing falling in below the SLS AMG Electric Drive but above everything else in Mercedes' line.

It can be seen in action in the video below.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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16 Comments

I thought the civilian Hummer (H1) had that type of axle/hub assembly. . . they had the wheels lower than the axles with some kind of gear assembly to transfer the power down to the wheels.

H2, and H3 changed that and made the Hummer much less.

socalboomer
18th March, 2013 @ 04:37 pm PDT

Now THAT's what I call a truck!

I'll take one in matte black thank you!

hiredassassin
18th March, 2013 @ 05:17 pm PDT

Nice! But is it a full 4-seater cabin or only 2 and 2 kids? And is that a full 2 metre ute bed or shorter? I'd love to fit a camper body or build accommodation on the back and tour Australia (apart from the petrol mileage).

The Skud
18th March, 2013 @ 07:07 pm PDT

The three axle six wheel layout is more efficient than the two axle six wheel layout as well.

I'll take mine in white.

Slowburn
18th March, 2013 @ 09:21 pm PDT

This is not new technology. This is exactly what made the Unimog such an undefeated vehicle! This is actually by the looks of it a Super Mog

JN59
19th March, 2013 @ 02:54 am PDT

This machine is an absolute DESECRATION of our beloved planet. Someone with more money than sense, and with no regard to our environment, is the only likey customer!!! OK, someone was going to say it anyway. As a niche off-road vehicle this sure pushes about all the buttons there are. I wonder, if someone is serious about taking this somewhere really off the beaten path, wouldn't a diesel make more sense? But given the level of luxury offered, most will never see that kind of hardcore use. It sure is badass, though.

Bruce H. Anderson
19th March, 2013 @ 10:01 am PDT

Look at http://military-vehicle-photos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/2198.jpg

or just google Land Rover 6x6 to see thousands of images of 6x6 vehicles like this including campers (Skud) and all sorts of utility variations.

Dirk Scott
19th March, 2013 @ 10:09 am PDT

Hey,Bruce-

I wouldn't worry about this vehicle "desecrating the earth"-

at $457,000 each it is likely that the few of these that are built for public consumption(if any!)will be mall-crawlers.

"For sale-Never Been Off Road".

Mostly Arabs and such will be their prime customers and one oil rig or one army tank will do far more damage than all of these that will ever be built.

Really,people,off road machines do a lot less damage to the environment

than any one major city-

they just carry a higher profile of blame.

Few people forage new trails-

being what they really are,

most people's just "follow the leader" and only ride existing trails

or stick to ORV areas.

Rigs like this Merc mostly end up in ski-resorts,pulling little trailers or....

AT THE MALL!.

Griffin
19th March, 2013 @ 10:31 am PDT

Portal axles can be found in old (pre 1968) VW vans as well, so they are not being introduced to the civilian world here, by any means. I have enjoyed embarrassing the crap out of several Jeep owners with my old bus, even had one refuse to let me tow him out, he would rather freeze to death than suffer the indignation! Unimogs, Pinzgauers, and the original civilian Hummers also have had them.

The portal axle Unimogs have always had the best reputation for getting through where nothing else can, except maybe a helicopter!

I have fantasised about building a 6x6 Chevy with a Duramax, but this does look like quite the beastie. Bamboo is great stuff, exceptionally renewable, but the "solid bamboo" thing belongs in a George Carlin comedy routine.

Steve0O
19th March, 2013 @ 10:39 am PDT

Looks Expensive to me. They should enter it in the Baja 1000 and see what it can really do. I am afraid to ask the price.

Mark Hayward
19th March, 2013 @ 10:53 am PDT

I like the vehicle....but they should have used a diesel. It's not like MB doesn't make some great ones. A V-8 version of their nice 3.0L V-6 diesel would be a great addition to this behemoth allowing not only power to spare, but able leap fuel stations in a single bound.

If Gale Banks can make a Dakota with an inline six Cummins Diesel get 21 mpg on a mix of city and highway driving WHILE making 600hp and 1000ft-lbs of torque.....MB can certainly do better than this.

VoiceofReason
19th March, 2013 @ 12:20 pm PDT

The want factor for this admittedly not eco-friendly piece of machinery amongst Gizmag readers is almost unanimous. However, it is also inversely proportional to the likelihood of actual ownership.

This is a matter of passion - not sense. One can dream...

Though the military itself is a product of the perverse mindset of society as such, the Australian army got a diesel version of it (try an image search: ADF G 6x6) by the looks without the portal axles.

Niko
19th March, 2013 @ 04:23 pm PDT

Drop a diesel in this baby with an off road capable fifth wheel camper, then add a Thule gas lift Hullovator on the roof (each side) for the kayaks or tinny, and man you would have a nice mobile home, for that retirement trip of a life time.

I could also see it towing fifth wheel horse floats for those with the cash, mobile production lines (like wine bottling or agriculture food packing), even mobile libraries to remote outback communities etc.

A machine like this would do very little damage to roads/tracks (apart from the scuff between the two rear axles) if used sensibly, unlike the video portraying it's capabilities. The constant traction and weight displacement would limit most of the wheel spin that degrades dirt roads/tracks.

The bamboo is also a great safety feature. Breakdown in the outback useing your inner Bear Grills. You could carve some nice bow limbs from the bamboo, go hunt some goanna, kangaroo or even a camel if you are really feeling peckish.

As for color, if black, it would have to be matt. But in reality, black is to hot and shows up the dirt to much (just look at my Captiva, filthy). I do love a nice metallic or diamond fleck purple and you could then trim up with black. I could put up with that or a nice deep metallic green, but then you would have to trim with some chrome or polished alloy, which needs polishing all the time and I am to lazy for that.

There is always white, and then you just don't have to give a damn, cause who likes white anyway.

No real good photo's of the interior? Rather than all the waffle and dribble about caterpillar tracks, fallen metropolis and Danny Di Vito. It would have been nice to hear/see more detail about the interior, rather than be left wondering with the little info that was given. And while there may be subtle differences in how they all work, portal axles have been accessible to the civilian market for many a year in many a different model of vehicle whether genuine (VW, Unimog, Pinzgauers, Hummers, or as an after market accessory for Oka's, Nissan, Toyota Dana & land cruiser to name a few.

i will have a purple/black exterior trim, diesel thanks.

ELM
19th March, 2013 @ 10:12 pm PDT

Next, the half track version.

Peter Clifford
20th March, 2013 @ 05:30 pm PDT

What a dumb design for an offroad vehicle. Off the road one needs range and light weight and ultra low gears for rock crawling. This Mercedes has double the horsepower needed which is going to cut into the range one can go on a tank of fuel and a larger and heavier engine cuts down on the payload and puts an unnecessary burden on the front suspension components which is exactly the opposite of what is needed.

For the outback I will take a Toyota Landcruiser any day over this ridiculous Mercedes that is not targeted at people who will actually go off the road anymore than the Hummer which sold in large numbers to people as their first 4WD vehicle of whom many were grandmoms wanting to look cool or the gangsta crowd.

Calson
27th March, 2013 @ 01:17 pm PDT

Jaguar make a very economical diesel that produces 275HP. Police cars use it and the cars achieve 42 mpg (Imperial gallons)

Economy is becoming more and more important as some countries now have a "gas guzzler tax."

Unfortunately the greens cannot tell the difference between a gas powered V8 auto EFi 4x4 that returns 12 to 15 mpg and a diesel manual transmission 4x4 capable of 35 mpg. They hate ALL 4x4s. What they really hate are "wheelers" who open up green lanes that they were trying to adopt as part of their own land. Take care!

Joe Bloggs
28th March, 2013 @ 07:01 pm PDT
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