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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Matt Degen

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG G-Class is the extreme version of what is already Mercedes’ most extreme SUV. The G-Class is made for serious off-roading thanks to hardware like triple-locking differentials and a truck-like frame. Initially made for military duty, today you’re more likely to see Mercedes’ flagship SUV in the hands of a celebrity rather than a soldier. Still, proving no vehicle can’t be blessed by Mercedes’ high-performance division, AMG takes the standard G-Class (reviewed separately) to new heights. The G 63 boasts a 563-horsepower, hand-built V8, while the nearly $225,000 G 65 packs a monstrous V12. Rivals are few, but among them the Bentley Bentayga matches cylinders and has a far more comfortable ride, while an all-new G-Class is set to arrive next year.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want the ultimate combination of luxury, power and off-road capability, the 2018 Mercedes-AMG G-Class is a machine like no other. In G 65 form, it is one of only two V12 SUVs on the market (the other being the Bentayga), and easily the most off-road capable.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The flip sides of the Mercedes-AMG G-Class’ extreme capabilities off-pavement are a harsher ride quality and less on-pavement dynamics than a Porsche Cayenne. A Bentley Bentayga is more comfortable and faster, too.

What's New for 2018

With an all-new G-Class set to go on sale in late 2018, changes are few to this existing model. Among them are two new exterior paint colors and the AMG Performance Studio Package available on the G 63 model.

Driving It Driving Impressions

The Mercedes G-Wagen is already something of a juxtaposition: an SUV with hardcore off-road ability, yet still capable of swift acceleration. That’s what happens when you stuff a powerful engine under the hood. With the AMG models, Mercedes’ G-Class is even more extreme. The G 63 can blast from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds, a half-second quicker than the standard Mercedes-Benz G 550 (reviewed separately). You’d think 563 horsepower would be enough, but for those times when it’s not, the G 65 comes packing a V12 with 621 horsepower and gargantuan 738 lb-ft of torque. In reality, the extra power is more about bragging rights: It’s only a tenth of a second quicker to 60 mph. Beyond sheer power, both high-performance G-Class variants benefit from AMG-enhanced brakes, suspension and other hardware. The laws of physics still apply, and even these tricked-out models won’t hang with a Porsche in the turns. But when the pavement ends they retain the ability go where others can’t.

Favorite Features

While most luxury SUVs only hint softly at their off-road ability, the 2018 G-Class screams it proudly from the highest peak. You won’t find a sedan-like ride or ultra-quiet cabin in this high-performance adventure SUV, but you will find a beast that creates envy from Malibu to Moab.

The idea of wedding the track-performance genius of AMG with a nearly 40-year-old SUV might seem like lunacy, but we like it. The twin-turbocharged V12 provides more power than any off-roader could ever want while upping the exclusivity factor to 11.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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