The base, 2013 G550 with 388-horsepower V-8 has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $113,905. The starting retail price for a 2013 Mercedes G63 AMG is $135,205.
All 2013 G-Class models come standard with seven-speed automatic transmission, trendy light-emitting diode running lamps, blind spot assist and front and rear parking sensors with rearview camera.
Each of the leather-trimmed front seats had more than eight controls, including bolster and lumbar controls, to make them eminently comfortable.
Passengers sit upright, in chair-like fashion, so front-seat legroom is an amazing 52.5 inches. Back-seat cushions were shorter than expected, but there was good support, a nearly flat floor and 41.9 inches of legroom.
The G-Class does not offer third-row seating. And, despite the fact the test G63 AMG topped out at more than $137.000, it did not include rear-seat entertainment.
The G63 AMG had awesome engine sounds that were readily heard inside the passenger compartment because dual tailpipes — two on the left side of the vehicle and two more on the right — protruded from just below the step rails at the back of the rear doors. These side exhausts were shiny silver-colored and provided a race-car look that’s not expected on an SUV.
The big, 5.5-liter, double overhead cam, biturbo V-8 bristled with power and came to life quickly. But this V-8 also managed slower, city traffic well without requiring the driver to tap the brake pedal often.
The 25.4-gallon gasoline tank didn’t take long to empty, however, and premium is required. There is a 5.3-gallon reserve tank as well.
The seven-speed tranny shifted smoothly in leisurely travel. Upshifts were noticeable during aggressive driving, and the driver can select sport mode, manual without a clutch pedal or eco, which automatically shut down the engine at stoplights to save fuel.
With 20-inch wheels and wide tires, the test G63 AMG transmitted vibrations and impacts sizable potholes to the passenger compartment.
The G-Class is, after all, a capable and durable off-roader, with a healthy amount of ground clearance, three differential locks and a low range transfer case for rugged terrain.
Four-wheel drive is always engaged.
A couple items surprised, though. The rearview camera did not include graphic lines on the display screen showing where the vehicle was being steered. And the driver’s window did not have automatic power up capability.
For more information about the G63 or to take a look at any Mercedes-Benz vehicle, contact Larson Mercedes-Benz in Tacoma.