Latest Mercedes-Benz G Class review
– Gateway, Colorado
The Mercedes-AMG G65 is a piece of automotive hyperbole. It’s a 30-year-old box initially intended for off-roading, with a massive V12 shoehorned under the hood, because why not? From a handling standpoint, it’s the worst thing Mercedes makes – I’m willing to bet a Toyota Camry could out-maneuver the G65 through a cone course. But to criticize the G-Wagen for its on-road prowess is to miss the point entirely. This car exists simply because it can – it lives because 65 is greater than 63, period. It is the epitome of cool, and it’s like nothing else on the road today. Glory, thy name is Geländewagen, and God bless the G65.
- Driving the G65 is equal parts amazing and terrifying. It's got a biturbo 6.0-liter V12 with 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque, recirculating ball steering, three locking differentials, and freaking side pipes. It’s engaging in the sense that you’re constantly freaking out about what your wheels are doing, because it’s not evident that the steering wheel is actually connected to anything. I list all this as a positive point, because even through all the weirdness, you’ll never stop smiling. What other V12 vehicle do you know of that could climb a mountain if asked?
- You’ve got to love the look of the G-Wagen, even in full-on rap-video G65 spec. I’m not sold on the chrome, 21-inch wheels seen here, but picture it in matte gray with some chunky, black rollers, and you’re in business. Also, huge props to Mercedes for offering this thing in more than just monochromatic hues. It’s funny to think the G-Class has perhaps the most expansive color palette of any Mercedes vehicle today.
- Despite the old-world nature of the G65, it’s still packed with all the latest and greatest Mercedes tech and safety features. Plus, the interior is super comfortable, with seemingly unlimited headroom, cushy seats, a commanding seating position, and the finest materials throughout. It’s downright decadent.
- A super small detail that I adore: the specific, Germanic click the doors make when they close and lock. Seriously, if you’ve ever securely shut the door of a G-Class, you know the exact sound I’m talking about.
- This is the slowest fast car money can buy. You’d think something with this much power could do better than a 5.2-second 0-60 sprint and a top end of 143 miles per hour. Of course, it’s also shaped like a phone booth, so there’s that...
- My big problem with the G65 is that it’s way, way too quiet. Even the base G550 with its new, biturbo V8 has a better engine and exhaust sound. How are the blind supposed to know you’ve spent $200,000 on the greatest G-Wagen yet?
- Oh yeah, that’s the other thing. It’s $217,900. And that’s just to start. Play around with some options and exclusive things from the Designo catalog and you can easily pass $240,000. Though I suppose if you’re Oprah rich, it doesn’t really matter. In that case, live up to the true spirit of the G65 – go big or go home.
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|2016 MERCEDES-AMG G65|
|ENGINE||Biturbocharged 6.0L V12|
|OUTPUT||621 Horsepower / 738 Pound-Feet|
|0-60 MPH||5.2 Seconds|
|TOP SPEED||143 MPH (Limited)|
|EPA FUEL ECONOMY||11 City / 13 Highway / 12 Combined|
|CARGO VOLUME||79.5 Cubic Feet|
|AS-TESTED PRICE||$240,000 (est.)|
Photos: Michael Shaffer / Mercedes-Benz