x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Mercedes 6x6 will be king of UAE’s roads

The Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6 and Ford Atlas are part of the increasing number of ‘uber cars’, the growth of which owes much to the popularity of SUVs

Visitors check out the new Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6 on display at the Dubai International Motor Show. Charles Crowell / The National
Visitors check out the new Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6 on display at the Dubai International Motor Show. Charles Crowell / The National

DUBAI // At almost six metres long and with six wheels to carry its huge frame, the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6 is more monster truck than city runabout.

The new vehicle is part of a gradually increasing number of “uber cars” that cut imposing figures on the UAE’s motorways, the growth of which owes much to the popularity of SUVs.

“We are monitoring the popularity of the 6x6,” said Nassos Kravvaritis, head of communications for Mercedes-Benz.

“People are coming from owning SUVs to larger pickups like this. But let’s face it, this is still a very niche car.”

Mr Kravvaritis said he did not believe the Dh2 million Merc, which is more than two metres wide and two metres tall, was too big for the road.

“For this region, I don’t think so,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a case of the bigger the better, but they like cars that are a little different.

“Overall, we’ve been really enthused by the reception. So far people really like this car.”

Emirati Ahmed Khalil took a close look inside the vehicle.

“It’s the biggest car I’ve ever seen,” Mr Khalil said. “I think it would look impressive on the road.”

Others were not so sure. Simon Carey, from the UK, said it would be intimidating to drive next to the 6x6 on the road.

“It’s just too big,” Mr Carey said. “It’s like a tank.”

Brabus, a German company with a factory in Dubai, said it offered customised packages for the 6x6 to increase its engine to 700 horsepower, up from the standard 536hp.

“You have more torque, you have more fun, you have more power,” said Sven Gramm, spokesman for the company.

“It’s more than any SUV, it’s a real desert fun toy, which you can also use on the road. It’s a massive car, somewhere between an SUV and a truck.

“It is actually a monster truck – a monster truck for the street.”

The UAE is one of the largest SUV markets in the world, but demand for bigger pickup trucks has only really developed in the past three years.

“Anyone can go into a showroom and buy one,” said Ziyad Dallalah, chief engineer for Ford Middle East.

“There are customers in the large SUV market that want all the amenities of a large SUV but want the bed in the back. A truck gives you more versatility than a large SUV.”

Mr Dallalah disagreed with the view that the vehicle’s novelty factor was a key selling point in the region.

“Customers within the region want to differentiate themselves from other customers,” he said.

Ford was displaying its prototype Atlas pickup at the Dubai International Motor Show, which will not be the largest pickup the company makes but certainly one of the most imposing.

Mr Dallalah said the vehicle had already attracted a great deal of interest.

“People are just gravitating towards it,” he said. “Dubai is definitely ready for a car as big as the Atlas.”

mcroucher@thenational.ae