I don't recall exactly at which point I started giggling while driving the Mercedes G55 AMG down Sheikh Zayed Road, but it certainly wasn't more than five minutes into the journey. I had always considered the G-Wagen a rather curious throwback to the 1970s with all the charm and aerodynamics of a garden shed.
But that view changes when you settle down in the leather seats and enjoy a view rather like that from a tennis umpire's chair. Too hot? Then flick on the air conditioning and the seat gets cooler. Then you rev the engine. It roars: more dragon than G-Wagen, and this is a dragon with teeth. Hit the accelerator and Ferraris, that once were in front of you, are suddenly disappearing in your rear view mirror. Apparently the V8 engine is supercharged and produces some 500 horsepower, but if it's statistics you want, read the motoring section.
Land Cruisers, Lexuses, even Porsche 911s, the iconic cars of the UAE, become rather insignificant. The reason I was nipping along Sheikh Zayed Road was to have lunch with somebody who had threatened to stand me up until she heard I had a G-Wagen. "That rather hits the spot," she told me. "I have serious car envy."
I turned on the stereo and the music came booming out, threatening to drown the sound of the engine. I nipped alongside a Maserati, powered past a Porsche and undertook a Lamborghini. Then I heard a strange noise: the sound of myself laughing inanely. It is hard to recall exactly what I said, but it sounded like this: "Winners, grinners, chicken dinner. Give me goddesses and keep those trolls away from me."
Yes. Driving a G55 is the motoring equivalent of being inside Charlie Sheen's head. It may not be affordable or environmentally friendly, but it is seriously good fun. I couldn't get my golf clubs in the boot, so I threw them away. This is not a car for golfers or droopy-eyed children. It's a rock star, fuelled by Tiger Blood.