2019 Mercedes-AMG G63 First Drive: Great Power, Greater Control

– Carcassonne, France

Full-bore acceleration in the Mercedes-AMG G63 is a little like watching a linebacker doing the 40-yard dash. How can so much mass sprint so quickly and so easily? That’s the magic of the AMG versions of the venerable Geländewagen – and the 2019 model is more powerful, quicker, faster, and better to drive than ever before.

2019 Mercedes-AMG G63

It all begins with the same litany of changes applied to the standard G-Class for the 2019 model year. While there’s a longer explanation here, it boils down to this: the latest generation of the SUV is larger yet lighter, and more civilized on-road yet still a beast when the pavement ends.

For the G63, the first major change is the adoption of a biturbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine; like other applications of that mill in AMG cars, it’s hand-built by trained technicians in Germany. With 577 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque, it beats the old G63’s biturbo 5.5-liter engine by 14 hp and 66 lb-ft. Add in the fact that the new G63 has gone on a big diet (though an exact curb weight is not yet available) and now has a nine-speed automatic versus its predecessor’s seven-speed unit, and the sprint to 60 miles per hour improves by 0.9 seconds to just 4.4. The top-speed limiter also climbs from 130 to 137 mph by default; equip the AMG Driver’s package and it climbs again to 149 mph.

Immediately noticeable on the road is how much less nervous I feel when using all that power. Now the engine, body, and chassis all feel like they work togeth...