The G-Class Mercedes, with its rugged and boxy styling, has a somewhat retro look about it, and that's because it largely dates back to the first GelĂ¤ndewagen way back in 1979. These machines served a purpose not unlike the English Land Rovers and have even had a similar fate, in that they have gone from utility vehicles for the outdoors to status symbols for rappers, athletes and actresses. But again like the Land Rover, the G-Wagen has retained its off-road credibility despite being blinged out a bit, so when the folks at AMG decided to have a crack at it for 2013, the world was quite curious as to what they would come up with. The most obvious results were, somewhat unsurprisingly, more bling throughout and more dollars on the price tag, but also had plenty of the retro cool and sturdy feel that people love about the G-Class, so it was certainly something with a lot of character.
For 2014, though, AMG and Mercedes have hatched something even wilder. If the previous G63 AMG just wasn't attention grabbing enough, they've taken the unique approach of making it bigger, louder and (this is the unique part) added two extra wheels at the back. Four-wheel-drive is somewhat common these days, but the 2014 G63 AMG has the market pretty much cornered on six-wheel-drive (torque-split of 30 to 40 to 30 percent), and that's not its only notable feature. The real technical highlight is that instead of rigid axles, where the wheels are centered on the shaft, this machine has what Mercedes calls "portal axles", in which the wheels are able to ride significantly lower because of portal gears on the axle heads. This means that even though the location of the axles relative to the chassis is the same, ground clearance and fording depth are leaps and bounds ahead of a regular G-Class and that you'd be hard pressed to find a bit of terrain that this monster of a car wouldn't chew up and spit out. Another aid in its arsenal is an electronic system that keeps track of the five mechanical differential locks and optimizes traction for every situation encountered.
Power comes at a sufficient 544 horsepower and around 560 lb/ft of torque from the 5.5 liter direct injection twin-turbo V-8. The AMG 7-speed automatic transmission is also packed with technology, but obviously not much of that is going towards fuel efficiency. With 37-inch tires, two turbos and a weight of around 8,500 pounds, the G63 AMG is going to burn through fossil fuels like a houseboat, which is why it comes with a 96 liter (25.4 gallons) fuel tank that's complemented by another 63 liter (16.6 gallon) auxiliary tank.
There's no doubt that this newest G63 AMG will be one of the most ridiculous, ostentatious things on the road. But given the amount of engineering and technology that Mercedes and AMG have packed into this thing, it should be capable of just about anything. Whether any examples are ever actually pushed to their limits will be up to their owners, and even if nobody actually takes their G-Monster across the desert or not, they can at least take comfort in the fact that they could if they wanted to.