x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

New version of UAE favourite Mercedes G65 AMG gets more power

The G-Wagen V12 has added power but at an insanely inflated price

The G-Wagen will get a refresh for 2013 and two revised engines. Mercedes
The G-Wagen will get a refresh for 2013 and two revised engines. Mercedes

What is a tenth of a second worth? To an Olympian, it can mean the difference between becoming a legend and not even finishing on the podium. To a racing driver, it can be the difference between starting on pole position or back in the pack. To a cricketer, it can be the difference between being smacked in the head or hooking a bouncer for six.

But Mercedes-Benz's AMG performance offshoot thinks a tenth of a second is, to a select group of people, worth a full, twin-turbo V8-powered G63 off-roader.

Some people, AMG insists, are so enamoured and fixated with V12 engines that they would never even countenance a V8, no matter how good it might be.

That's why AMG feels it can charge almost twice the price of the V8 for the V12 version of its face-lifted G-Wagen, even though the V12 only pips the smaller-engined SUV to 100kph by a tenth of a second.

While the G63 AMG twin-turbo V8 is, at €137,504 (Dh667,387), a logical step up from the more-mainstream G500 V8's €100,000 price tag in Germany, the V12-powered G65 AMG lists at an outrageous €264,180.

Yet AMG insists the low volumes, high investment costs and extreme exclusivity of the 6.0L V12 all justify it costing almost twice as much as its own V8 G63. And, in all likelihood (if other AMGs are any guide), the G63 will be the better machine.

It doesn't matter whether you go for the 544hp V8 G63 or the 612hp G65, as both of them are quixotic attempts to turn the square-rigged old SUV into an athlete.

Undoubtedly the least agile home AMG has ever thought of for either of the two engines, the G63 and G65 AMG will turn the hardcore rock hopper into something very fast - at least in a straight line and at least up to 100kph.

The 5.4L V8 will smoke the G-Wagen to 100kph in 5.4 seconds, while the 6.0L V12 will get there just 0.1 seconds faster. They're the slowest AMGs available, though, with the G63 topping out at 210kph and the G65 hitting its limiter at 230kph.

That won't stop most people, though, because the V8 has a crushing 760Nm of torque to help it explode in the mid-range, and it chimes in from just 2,000rpm. It's 40hp and 60Nm stronger than the old G55 AMG, and far cleaner. The V12 is even more outrageous, with AMG limiting it to 1,000Nm of torque in an effort to increase the expected lifespan of its seven-speed automatic gearbox.

In spite of Benz's recent efforts to reduce its fuel consumption, the V12, in particular, shows no general interest in the preservation of natural resources, swallowing 17L/100km on the combined fuel economy cycle, while emitting almost 400g of CO/km.

The G63's consumption figure of 13.8L/100km is, surprisingly, a full litre better than the standard G500 V8's number.

It also scores the AMG seven-speed automatic gearbox that is, effectively, a stronger version of Mercedes-Benz's in-house seven-speed auto with a faster-shifting, stronger, electronically controlled clutch pack sitting at the back of it instead of a hydraulic torque converter.

Its installation means the AMG G-Wagen twins have an Eco mode to go with the Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and paddle-shift manual modes, though it's hard to imagine anybody paying the V12's differential over the V8 and then being even remotely interested in its start-stop technology.

AMG has also fiddled with bearings in the engine, the automatic gearbox and the transfer case to lower cruising noises, while both cars also have new wheels, tyres and brakes.

Outwardly, the already-lumpy G-Wagen gets lumpier, with an AMG-spec twin-slot grille with extended holes below the bumper bar for the cooling requirements of the turbo-charged engine and LED daytime running lights.

Both cars benefit from the upgrades to the standard G-Wagen's interior, taking advantage of the new infotainment, internet and sat/nav hardware and software to come up with a TFT screen, unique AMG dials and seats and more comfort all around.

That doesn't mean AMG has completely removed the G-Wagen from its off-road roots, because it retains its three locking differentials and the driver-operated switches for them. It also has a new hill-holder, which holds the brakes to help with hill starts.

Mercedes openly admits that the UAE's almost insatiable demand for the G-Wagen is what keeps it in production, and the huge price difference between the two new models is unlikely to hamper sales.