Mercedes-Benz G-Class

The standard G550 is powered by a 416-horsepower, 4.0L turbocharged V8. The high-performance AMG G63 is powered by a twin-turbo 5.5L V8 that makes 563 horsepower, making the big off-roader almost unnaturally quick. The AMG G65 is powered by a 6.0L twin-turbo V12 that produces 621 horsepower and 738 lb-feet of torque. All three engine options are mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission.

Thanks to a serious mechanical 4-wheel-drive system, complemented by modern electronics, the G-Class has the goods for serious off-roading as well as simply taking on slippery road conditions. The system comes with three differential locks to distribute power in whatever way is best for the conditions. On- or off-road, traction is aided by the electronic stability control system, which also helps distribute power left to right.

The G-Class is a truck-like SUV in look and feel, yet its interior is appointed with top-notch luxury materials, including premium leather, burl walnut trim and wood and leather trim elsewhere.

Inside, the G-Class provides a very upright driving position that is different from that of any other vehicle from the brand's lineup. The rear seats even have enough room for adults, but they're not as easily reconfigurable for cargo when compared to most modern SUVs. Also, the back door is hinged on the side rather than the top.

All G-Class models includes HID headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear fog lamps, 12-way adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, dynamic cruise control and dual-zone climate control. Mercedes' COMAND touchscreen audio control system is included as well.

Safety features include mbrace2 emergency SOS that will automatically call for help in the event of an accident, blind-spot sensors, a back-up camera and a full suite of airbags for all occupants.

Options include adjustable suspension, a rear-seat entertainment system and a heated steering wheel.

Editors' Review

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class has end-of-the-world, Schöckl-scaling off-road capability, but that's not why most people buy 'em. In the US, the G63 outsells the base G550, and not by a small margin. On top of that, I can pretty much guarantee all the AMGs you see running around have 22-inch wheels and rubber bands for tires. It's why I've always said the G550 is actually the better buy for folks who might want to get a little dirty. But thanks to a new option pack for the 2021 AMG G63, that's not really the case anymore.

For $3,050, you can spec your 2021 Mercedes-AMG G63 with the AMG Trail Package. This adds a recalibrated off-road setting to the G63's driving modes, with softer damping for a slightly more deft approach to off-roading. This pack also adds a black underbody brush guard, all-season floor mats, rear mud flaps and matte black 20-inch wheels with -- and this is the important bit -- all-terrain tires. Capability aside, the Trail Package is a really cool look. And paired with new paint colors like this test car's G Manufaktur Arabian Grey, I'm 100% here for AMG's butch updo.

The all-terrain tires in question are deliciously meaty 275/50 Pirelli Scorpion ATRs. Their tall sidewalls and aggressive tread pattern are far better than those on any all-season tire, especially when the going gets tough. Those deep treads can better expel dirt and mud, and when aired down, they provide excellent traction and control in deep sand. Look, I'm not going to try and tell you the G63 isn't a stellar off-roader in its stock spec, but great suspension geometry, locking axles and a big V8 mean bupkis if the contact patches -- the points where your car actually touches the ground -- are weak.

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The Good ~ Unmatched off-road ability ~ Strong V8 power ~ Comfortable ride quality ~ Iconic style

The Bad ~ Older multimedia tech ~ Lousy fuel economy ~ High cost of entry

The Bottom Line The 2021 Mercedes-AMG G63 embraces its roots with a rugged all-terrain package.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 9.5
  • Features 9.5
  • Design 9
  • Media 8

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