Roadshow Video Reviews
2013 Mercedes-Benz G63For better or worse, there is nothing else quite like a Mercedes G63.
-Whether you're a Russian petro crook or the world's most moneyed sucker mom, your car is here. Let's drive the 2013 Mercedes G63 AMG, and check the tech. Now because I'm neither a petro crook nor a well moneyed sucker mom, I need an accessory Mercedes-Benz does not offer. Luckily it's cheap-- a bag. Because being seen in this thing is downright embarrassing. I mean-- I spend several days in it primarily in communities where Ferraris, Turbo Panameras, and Convertible Bentleys are common. And they were driving by me mouthing the word dick. The vehicle has not change much since 1979 making it the oldest platform that Mercedes still sells. It's an old military ride. In fact, the US marines just bought 150 of them. Now normally I give some spotter tips on how to identify the vehicles that we shoot. This one should be relatively easy. It's really tall. It's really square. It's got exposed external hinges. And it's unforgiving in its size and mass. They only make one version for consumers these days. It's what they call this long wheel-based wagon that actually has 4 doors and a second row. But it's not exactly a cargo hauler. It doesn't flatten down to haul sheet, rock or plywood. It just let you put more stuff in the back, like AK-47s if you're on assignment. And that backdoor swings charmingly like a barn door. Not lifting up like a liftgate. Now spot the AMG version by the big 5-spoke alloys. The badge work that calls out the engine, we'll get to that in a minute. And these audacious duel side pipes. Who does that anymore? Now before we get to any of the tech, you're first indication that this car is wriggled with practical corkiness is down here. Either the world's smallest basketball net, or someone left their codpiece here to drive. In fact, it's a cup holder and you might laugh until you see it work. It's actually brilliant 'cause it takes all the vibration of the road out of your coffee so nothing ever splashes out of there. I love these people. How they ever lose that war? Okay, on with the electronics. Command display 7-inch non-touch-- it's a Mercedes, they don't want any finger prints on the screen. Nothing in here is dramatically new in terms of tech, but it's all standard. For this price, it better be. The Nav System looks really good. They keep upgrading the map quality. They do a decent job with 3D buildings. You can also get Google searching, Google Street View on here with the Mercedes-Benz MB apps suite, which is free for 3 months then you gotta pay for it. That would include web search, Google local search, the Street View as I mentioned, Yelp ratings, Facebook, and also the ability to send destinations to the car. We've reviewed it before-- works pretty well. Now in terms of media, all the hits of modern tech are here and a few that aren't hits. Your media interface on the screen there is actually this set of pigtails on the console. You've got iOS 30-pin on their right now. Here's a female OX, I believe you can swap this out for other connectors. You've also got USB down here right next to it. You've got Bluetooth streaming as well, 10 gigabytes of a hard drive are available for media, and there's a car breather in here somewhere, but I would never use that so I didn't go looking. And of course, the AM and FM radio both have HD on them-- satellite radios in here as well. One way to go on the audio here, it's gonna be stacked with Harman Kardon LOGIC7, 5-dot-1 support as well, 450 watts 12 speakers around the cabin. Nothing to option or modified there. Now in terms of driver assistance tech, Mercedes likes to assume you know how to drive so most of it is passive. We have Adaptive Cruise Control to set distance and speed. There's blind spot warnings-- they use these little lit-up triangles in the mirror. There is no correction and there's no lane departure or correction for that either. Camera tech on this car is relatively pedestrian. You've got a backup camera which is very handy, except you've got a spare hanging off the rump and it's very hard to judge the distance of that thing 'cause it's right up in the four ground of the camera. Over head, a steel sun roof-- no silly glass moon roof. You're not gonna open this thing up for a breeze. You're gonna open it all the way so it's a muddle splash off those big tires and get in your hair. Or you're gonna leave it close so the bullets ricochet off the roof. Another serious oddity on this guy is the flat glass. You may not notice this in the car you drive, that's always been this way. But you have curved glass for the most part, and a sloping greenhouse. This guy's got flat walls and flat glass in them. See that big reflection, that's our camera light looking right back at you. When you're driving, you see odd reflections of the traffic on that side of the vehicle. So you look over and for a second, you think you've got traffic floating next to you. It's a little unnerving 'till you get used to it. On a Mercedes raves about this shifter being a wonderful piece of AMG innovation. I don't see how. It looks more to me like pres-innovation adapted to a Mercedes. It's one of these little delicate electronic detent shifters for reverse, neutral, and drive. But then for some reason, park is a button. Why not make that part of the detents? So I have one set of behaviors to control the drive frame in this car. That just sounds like a bad idea to mix it up like that. And I hate those little comfort sport manual button. I like what it does. I hate how it doesn't. It's tiny. It's hard to find. It's got no actual finger recognition without looking for it. And it does something critical. Put you in a different drive mode. Put that up here near the paddles on the wheel. Make it big by the shifter, but that is silly. Now if you think that the G63 is sublime, here is what starts to get ridiculous. In the engine bay, this guy's got a 5-1/2 liter twin turbo AMG V8-- yeah. And as you can see, lovingly hand crafted by ole buddy Sasha Neulinger. These are all made by hand, beautiful motors. I don't know if it's the most brilliant engine in a vehicle like these? I would love to see a big brawny diesel. They do that but not in the AMG version. So here's what we've got, 536 horsepower, 560-foot pounds of torque. It could lift this thing straight up let alone down the road. Cars would weigh 5,600 somewhat pounds here-- zero to 60 and 5.3 seconds is amazing for that reason alone, if not because of the big square profile of the animal. Where it all comes down in the wars, rather badly is the MPG-- 1214, that probably means 10 real world? Yeah. No Gas-guzzler tax so, not because it isn't a Gas-guzzler, but because it's a light truck and they're exempt from Gas-guzzler regulations. All these power always goes down to a 7-speed sport automatic. Again, a weird thing in a vehicle that is so off-road centric. And does it drive off road wheels? Of course it does, through, not one, not two, but three lockable differentials. If this got 8 wheels it would drive them all. In fact, they actually make a 6 x 6 of this, but that's another video. Let's go for a ride. Well I wouldn't know if I could possibly flex this vehicle. It's so damn off-road capable. Think about it, twin turbo, 2 banks of 4 cylinders each and that big V8, we've got body on frame construction, 2 solid axles, 3 locking diffs. If you need heavier gear than this, it's probably gonna get delivered in a C-17. You know what's the most eerie about taking this thing off road, nothing squeaks nothing rattles. This really is a bank ball of fine wheels. Now on pavement, this thing prints tank. It's built like one. But you also get a lot of road feedback like one. The vibration and noise make it frankly tedious to drive on an everyday basis. And that barn burning engine is very muted in any of the automatic modes. But drop it into manual and get on those paddles and everything changes. It's a vicious big boy, as is that exhaust note that you would much more expect coming out of a 63 vet, than a 2013 Benz. Okay, let's price this guy. Pretty simple, 135 grand right around there delivered, and there ain't no options to speak of. Not CNET style. Everything's in there already. But there are some additional costs, about 70 grand for a rose gold Automark PJ, because you're a petro crook and that's what you wear-- or 15 cents for a bag. That's how I roll.